Last Sunday afternoon, we listened to so many tornado warnings that we lost count. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the watch/warning system, a tornado watch means that weather conditions are favorable. A warning means that an active tornado has been sighted or that radar has a strong indication that one has formed in the vicinity, so more than 5 warnings makes for a stressful afternoon. Here in Georgia, most tornadoes are shrouded in rain, so they are less visible than in other areas of the country, which doesn’t help the nerves. The one that touched down came within 300 yards of our niece’s and her husband’s house, then came through south of our land and north of BILs. We had no damage at all here, but, sadly, the county seat sustained significant damage.
The tornado swept through Talbotton between the school and the court house, destroying homes and taking down beautiful old trees. Click here to see pictures. It’s been heart-breaking to drive through town to and from work this week. On Monday, so many trees were down and so many news crews were parked along the narrow road that it was hard to see much else. As the week progressed, the debris close to the road receded, but that made the extent of the damage more apparent in many ways. Still, when we look at the loss of life and the more severe damage to the west of us, we know it could have been worse.
Once the storm passed, we had three nights of below freezing temperatures. We’d attempted our first queen grafting on Saturday and completed a quick check of all the hives. We were a little concerned about having enough bees in the grafting hive, and quite concerned about the bees being able to cover all the wonderful brood we saw in the other hives. As soon as temperatures were above 60, all of the hives were active and there is minimal evidence of chill-brood cleanup.
We checked the grafting frame on Thursday and are happy with the success rate of our first attempt. The cell walls are weaker than we’d like, but we have queens. One of our hives is in severe need of a new queen — or a can of Raid! (Just kidding about the Raid.)
It’s very warm out today and the bees are vigorously hitting any sugar source they can find. I had some leftover fondant in plates and baking cups, so I put those out to supplement the syrup buckets. I slept in this morning, so I was too late to replenish buckets even with a bee suit on. The girls are crazy this morning!
We have thunderstorms predicted tomorrow, but nothing like last weekend. The warm weather is likely to continue, and I have trays of seedlings in the greenhouse just waiting for the danger of frost to be over. I also had a Carolina Wren in there this morning…. Nature keeps life interesting and sometimes gives me a better jolt than coffee!
The cattle panel greenhouse has performed so much better than the more traditional greenhouse we had in the city. I have two seed tray mats and three light bulbs in there, and everything survived a 25 degree night. I still need to plant the lemon cucumber from High Mowing Seeds, and some Echinacea, but then I think I’ll be done. All of the other seeds from High Mowing are doing great, and I’m excited to taste all the heirloom tomatoes in May.
The rest of my weekend will be spent reading 136 essays and entering grades! These are revised essays, so the grading will go far quicker than for the first drafts, but it really is time for me to stop procrastinating. It’s hard to believe that we are 3/4 of the way through the school year and it’s time to close the gradebooks out again. I may have to take the laptop into the living room, because it is just so very hard to sit inside looking out of the window as spring reveals its unique beauty and resilience.
Now, have I ever told you about my funny and embarrassing story about the wild violets Beccy and I picked when we were 14? I’d better save that for another day, or I’ll never get started on those essays!
Oh, and remind me to tell you what the turkeys have been up to……