Bee Check

We inspected all three hives the other day. This was the first check for hives No. 2 & No. 3 since we installed the packages a week ago.  I believe we saw queens in the first two hives, but not in the third hive. But we did see eggs in all three so we should be fine.

Christine is the expert at finding bee eggs. I couldn’t find an egg if you handed me a carton. Eggs are about all she looks for. As soon as she sees them, the frame goes back in the hive, making it tough for me to take photos.

My expertise is seeing the queens. I usually spot them right away. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just how my eye or brain works, but I can pick her out of a crowd pretty consistently. To the point that I get worried if I don’t see the queen.

The hives all looked good. No. 1 has a ton of honey that needs to be extracted, and replaced with blank frames. This endeavor will need to take place later this month, once we get our hands on some equipment to extract with, and containers to hold the honey frames. Hives 2 & 3 are both well established with egg laying queens, who have acclimated with their fellow hive mates.

Hive No. 1 had a ton of drone cells, including a bunch growing in the margins between frames. I had to play god and scrape them off, killing countless drones in various stages of development; to clean up the frames.  It was sad to see their nearly fully developed bodies flung into the tall grass.

We run a pretty tight ship.

At one point a cluster of drones exploded as I scraped, sending white drone liquid up through my mesh face screen into my nose and mouth.


Elsewhere the yard is exploding in a different way as all of the flowering trees are starting to bloom. I don’t know if it will be as incredible as last Spring, we’re running about three weeks later, but our peak should hit in a week or two. The dogwoods started blossoming this morning / last night.

So this is going to sound strange, but I’ve been watching the trees and plants so intently over the last two months that I feel as if I have seen every leaf sprout; from bud to feeble sprout to fanned out sun catcher. I walk the land scanning the plants and trees. I don’t linger too long because there is a lot of ground to cover, but I swear I’m some how attuned to the trees and leaves. I can tell how they look different from day to day. Mentally I have a diary of what bloomed when, and to what extent. I look at the crab apple by the garden and wonder why only half has bloomed. I stare at the finger like leaves of the Japanese maple and our other maples. I study the oak leaves on Christine’s Earth Day tree.

And it’s not just our land, I study the leafing process going on throughout the valley.

I’m convinced our property has its own unique micro-climate, based on what’s leafing and blooming elsewhere.

Whatever the climate, there’s no denying some of our plants don’t seem like they’ll make it, such as many of the New Jersey Teas that the rabbits decimated last year. Others are growing from the base up all over again, such as the berry plants and hydrangea, so I’m left to wonder how they can get big again in so few Spring and Summer months. I’ll search intently for any sign of budding or leaves on every plant if I have to. It’s sad when I see nothing and expect the worse.

I cut the grass for the first time this year, hoping to make the yard look nice for the upcoming flower show Mother Nature is going to put on. And as I write, the rain is falling in buckets outside. Which is good. We can always use the rain. Hopefully it won’t knock too many flowers off though. I scramble to close window a little to keep the raindrops out.

This whole process of Spring around here is amazing. The house is more than just a structure. With the bees, yard, house…all of it, it’s more like some sort of vessel we’re keeping afloat or managing. There are just enough levers to push and pull to make the whole lot seem bigger than ourselves, yet still not too monumental. After all it is just a home. But at least it’s dynamic in so many ways. Like a ship at sea, there is something to do and think about 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I try not to think too much about yucky stuff like paying bills and keeping the lights on. Or the fact that tick season is upon us – and it looks to be a banner year. Instead on focusing on that too much though, I relish in watching the plants grow. And try to work hard managing everything man-made and nature-made (all my garden posts should be pulled and reset the right way, for example).

Despite all of this I do try my best to smell the roses. This is kind of ironic because Christine’s rose bushes all but died over winter. The large one has but three tiny leaflets at its base.

In an effort to enjoy life I took the Jeep out with the top down for the first time since August. The boys try to get out and play as much as possible too, now that the weather is constantly warm. So “rose smelling” is going well.

There’s nothing else really to say. Just enjoying Spring. And that’s enough.

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