Little evokes as much childlike joy in me as the sight of the first crocus or early daffodil. I think it has a lot to do with the long winters of England and Germany those first 27 years of my life. A daffodil pushing up through the snow and blooming bright yellow was always such a welcome sign. I’m not sure that people in warmer climates can ever quite grasp just how long and dreary winters are in other regions!
Not only are daffodils blooming at the farm and in the city, the buckwheat at the farm is sprouting with its promise of nectar for the bees. Of course, the blackberries are too, but I’ll forgive them for snagging my pants so long as they feed the bees. I see many colors of pollen coming in right now, but the bees are all over the syrup buckets now that I’ve tipped them so the remaining syrup can drain out. I guess that means nectar is still in short supply out there.
According to my phone, it’s only 58 degrees, but the bees are very active despite that. Of course the hives in the sun are more active than those in the shade. I plan to check for space and the likelihood of swarms this afternoon, but it’s not quite warm enough yet. I’ve spent the morning staging equipment for inspections and possible splits and doing the tedious job of scraping propolis off frames and wood ware. That’s not a job I relish, but it’s sunny and the sky is blue so I’d rather do that than sit inside. (Unless of course I’m grabbing another cup of coffee and blogging.)
I’ll start the inspections with the hives that had the lowest numbers of bees first just to make sure they haven’t experienced a population explosion and need another brood box. By the time I finish that, it should be warm enough to check frames on the hives that I suspect are running out of space. We had to limit ourselves to putting an additional box on top of the English hive last trip because, although they were jam packed, temperatures were starting to fall and we didn’t have time to do anything else. That hive is also no longer centered on the bottom board and the second box is tipped a little, which is making the rest of the hive look precarious. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and re-stack the whole darn thing. It’s tempting to start with that one, but it’s always been our strongest producer so it’s the most likely to need to be split.
It’s 60 degrees – time to head back outdoors, enjoy life and keep myself busy until it’s warm enough to do what I really came here for!