It’s that time of year again at our house. Only half the kitchen table is available for meals for four solid days a week (and counting), and no matter how careful we try to be, someone invariably steps in stickiness and carries it along for a few steps before realizing what has happened. Then the floor has three or four sticky spots where once there was one! This, too, continues for four days a week (and counting) until it’s near impossible to avoid the landmines of stickiness.
What a blessing this year’s honey harvest has been! Our store of honey was dangerously close to being non-existent. Last year we didn’t have any hives (which made for some lonely gardening) and the year before that we had bees, but there wasn’t enough extra honey for us to take. So it’s been a few years since I’ve had the joy of knowing a pantry full of golden sweetness, not to mention beeswax and honey to use in my handcrafted soaps!
Here’s a little video I shot a couple weeks ago. The bees were finally happy because things had warmed up, which meant there was pollen to be brought in. Pollen is the bees protein and the queen won’t start laying eggs until she decides enough pollen has been brought into the hive to feed the youngsters. Continue reading →
I imagine that everyone thinks their part of the country has the weirdest weather, and that everyone (except maybe the southern tier of states) says, at one time or another, “Don’t like the weather now? Wait five (or ten, or twenty) minutes and it’ll change!” Today is my day to enter eastern Washington (particularly Spokane County) into any current “weirdest weather” discussion.
Last winter we had record-setting snowfall…nearly 98 inches…over 8 feet of the white stuff! Seventy-some inches fell in a three-week period that had everyone in continual snow shovel/blower mode. Even die-hard snow fans like myself were grateful when Spring chased the last of it away. Continue reading →
We have four hives of honeybees this season. In years past, we’ve had as few as two and as many as ten. But this year it’s four, and four is enough.
Life has been hard for the honeybee for a long time. Mites and viruses threaten the hives every year. Now, recently, we’ve added “Colony Collapse Disorder” to the mix…a mysterious condition in which the beekeeper opens the hive one day and finds the bees gone. Not dead…just gone. There are all sorts of theories as to what causes CCD, but no definitive answer yet. As a slightly-seasoned beekeeper (this is our eleventh year), I’ve given it my share of thought. And since I am not a “bee whisperer” (nor do I know one), this is nothing more than my best guess, based on my personal knowledge of the ways of the bees. Continue reading →