Bees On The Move

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If you pay attention to the news then you know that these are hard times for bees.  Colony collapse is more common than ever, and parasites have also been taking their toll on pollinators.   Moving our single hive hundreds of miles North in the back of a truck to a much cooler climate added to the risks they already face.  Two weeks ago on a cold afternoon I was sure the colony was lost when I looked inside the bottom opening and saw nothing but dead bees.  Very discouraging.  Days later when the temps shot up to the low 60’s the hive was humming with activity as the survivors spent the day carrying out their fallen comrades, some dragging, some flying off with the dead. They had indeed lived through the winter.

IMG_3358Yesterday we noticed that lots of bees were returning to the hive with their legs loaded with pollen. Not much is in bloom right now except a long row of flowering cherry trees in the lower pasture, so we went to check it out.  Twenty feet from the first tree you could hear the noise…an intimidating loud buzzing like someone just kicked over an active hive. Every tree was swarming with bees and they were flying from bloom to bloom, packing the yellow pollen onto their legs so they could bring it back to the colony. In a few days we’ll have to add a “super” to the top of the hive, a special box dedicated to honey production.  Let the honey season begin!

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The First Two Weeks

 

IMG_3252We bought the new farm “as is”.  In other words, when the previous owners retired and moved on to smaller accommodations, they left everything behind for us.  A tractor, mowers, a generator for when the power goes out, well-groomed pastures and hay fields, a workshop complete with tools, cords of seasoned firewood for the wood stove that heats the house, and a big barn stocked with hay.  They even left us a beautiful horse and 2 hard-working barn cats.  Of course there’s other things left behind that aren’t so pleasant such as pasture gates in need of repair because they’ve been smashed down by falling trees, well water spigots that leak and need to be replaced, overgrown cattle chutes, and long lines of fencing in need of repair.

IMG_3275 IMG_3294Still, I’ll take that any day of the week because at least we’re not building a farm from scratch like we’d been doing down in Savannah.  Digging hundreds of fence posts holes by hand is great exercise but not exactly a pleasant affair. After the first 10 holes you’ll be uttering every curse word known to man and inventing a few new ones for good measure.

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It’s been  busy two weeks for sure so repairs and leisure time have to wait.  The mind races and feels uneasy due to all the unpacking.  You have to re-learn all your routines because the farm is laid out completely different from where we just moved, so simple tasks seem to take twice as long.  There’s even a bit of culture shock because we’re now even further out in the country and don’t yet know any of the neighbors.  But of course all that is to be expected when moving to a new place, and it’s good to challenge your brain with new experiences.  The tension of moving is already being pushed aside when you notice pleasant little scenes such as how the morning mist moves out of the valley and over the ridges, the animals roaming over the hills enjoying themselves, the warm color of sunlight in the barn at the end of the day, and how random strangers give a friendly wave as you pass each other on the back roads.

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