Beekeeping this year has been very different than the previous four years. The rain and the tree-felling across the creek eliminated the usual summer dearth here at the farm, but the bees have been bringing in so much nectar they haven’t been converting as much as usual to honey. It’s a good problem to have, in some ways, but the abundance of resources has corresponded to an abundance of wax moths and small hive beetles. Our very first hive succumbed to wax moths before we even knew what wax moths were, and, up until 2 weeks ago that was the worst I’d ever seen. Now I’ve seen worse twice and used once-beautiful frames as fire-starters. Like us, my brother-in-law has been surprised by the hives that have been invaded as they were strong the week before they were dead. Of course, it may be that they weakened because of a swarm, which is the other anomaly for us — fall swarms.
It’s been like spring out there in the bee yard as far as swarms go. Well, maybe not quite like spring because the swarms are smaller, but the frequency has been surprising. We’ve managed to entice most of them into new homes — some apparently wanted to upgrade while others wanted to downsize! Last Wednesday’s swarm seems quite content in its NUC.
Other fun stuff on the farm has been the sighting of a deer by the compost bin, huge deer tracks down by the memory garden, and a variety of other tracks that I am becoming able to identify fairly accurately. I also saw the largest buck I’ve ever seen on my way to work on Friday — and it just stood on the verge and let me drive by, thank goodness. I see plenty of deer that decided unsuccessfully to play Frogger along the 30 mile commute.
I haven’t been in the bee yard or much of anywhere this weekend my body has given up fighting the onslaught of germs that goes hand-in-hand with the start of any school year. It’s been frustrating because there were so many things I had planned for Saturday, but instead I spent half the day at the doctor and the other half sleeping. At this moment I feel better than at any time in weeks, so I will hopefully have some good pictures and real farm news soon.
Life in the country remains a joy. I can’t count how many mornings I’ve been stunned by the night-sky and wowed by a beautiful sunrise. And while I’m not a fan of thunderstorms, lightening flashing behind the pine trees is a thing of beauty. The closing of Columbia schools this week gave me an extra couple of days with Hubby, so life is, as always, good.