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Jon kneels down to let the pregnant Cascade Farmstead ewes check him out. Visit our website to learn more about these great little low-maintenance, no-shear, meat sheep!

Friday, April 9, 2010

To Bee, Or Not To Bee

Yeah, I know... lame title. But I'm in a lame mood.

I messed around with my bees today. I've been absolutely twitchy in my desire to check on them and see how things are going. And... to get those queen cages out that I really shouldn't have left in when I installed the hives.

So I went out in my bee suit and veil, my brush and hive tool, completely forgoing the smoker. Feelin' pretty proud of myself about that last part.

First I visited Hive #1, now named Aphrodite. Gotta love Linda's Bees... she's got so much useful information, and she names her hives. What a good idea! It's so much easier to remember a name than a number or "that hive that used to be in the orchard but is now over here on the east side of...." Yeah, that works well.

Anyway, I visited the Aphrodite hive, and despite the chilly weather, they sounded active from the outside. I managed to rummage my way through the hive and clumpy, sticky bees and found the queen cage on the bottom (not where I'd left it) and it looked empty, but these blasted bifocals have failed me before, so I'm not exactly reassured. When I picked up the queen cage again, there were 2 bees inside, so I peeled back the wire and let them out. All I could do was put it all back together and watch and wait.

On to the Persephone hive, which was so quiet that I was sure they were all dead. When I opened the hive, I didn't see much movement, but I carried on, and found the queen cage on the bottom (not where I'd left it), removed it, realized that my bees were alive but just cold, rearranged a couple frames, closed it back up, and prayed that I hadn't inadvertently set my queen free. And watched and waited. Test flights began as the sun came out. Good.

But I'm still twitchy. Hub says if I don't make this work this year, I'm done. Which isn't fair at all. He didn't get a deer last fall, so by the same token, he shouldn't be allowed to hunt again. Riiiigghht.

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