Yesterday as I walked past the bee hive in the blackberry field on my commute home I stopped to see what we had left. Last fall our bees were going great guns. The hive was bustling with life, a whole colony of bees stocking up for the winter. At the beginning of the winter, we noticed that there was a mouse nest in the hive, so we opened it up on a warm day, scooped out the nest, set a trap, covered up the holes so that they were only big enough for a bee to squeeze out and closed it up for the winter. But as the warm late winter days came, no bees escaped to stretch their wings and dump the trash that they accumulated all winter long. There was no warm honey smell as the sun beat down on the hive and there was no soft hum drumming when I put my ear close to its belly. Yesterday I opened it up to find a very large mouse nest made of dead honey bees and honey comb. The hive is dead. I cleaned up all of the honey comb that was clean. There was very little honey. I cut the honey comb into sections and put them in jars for the honey to run down to the bottom. I plan on making hand cream and lip balm with the wax. What a sad end to the hive that had such an exciting beginning! I plan on trying again this year with a different entrance... one that is more mouse-proof.
On a happier note, the greenhouse is flourishing with greens growing above ground and earthworms thriving below. The Seedling Greenhouse has been a success. The eggplant, pepper and tomato seedlings are germinating nicely, while the chickens in the West Greenhouse are fertilizing the soil for them. Andy and I have had two meals that have included fresh greens. Hopefully they will be ready to harvest for sale next week!
The sap has stopped running! What an early spring. Notable is the fact that on this week last year we drew off our first batch of maple syrup! Today we are done collecting and have 22 gallons of finished product! Not bad for a bucket brigade operation.
Enjoy the gorgeous weather!!