-Posted by Isaac
Somebody had a birthday day this week.
Lately, Jayne has made such a big deal out of it. There's cake and ice cream and balloons and candles and lots of presents (all kid's toys, but I'm not complaining). A bunch of people come over and they all sing Happy Birthday.
I'm 42 for Christ's sake! What's the big deal? This year she even bought us tickets to a John Prine concert. What an awesome gift / date! But the thing is, and I tell her this every year, she'll never do better than the gift I got the day I turned 36.
Bridger and I are not the only ones hauling in the gifts. This week I took most of the rent honey around. Every landowner who lets us put bees on their property gets a nice present this time of year. $90 of whatever they choose- honey, soap, candles, money...
It fills the truck.
I make quite a few rounds. We're up to 45 bee yards. Some days I go by the post office and I can double up on my Santa role. Cyber Monday was pretty awesome for Honeyrun Farm.
While Jayne, Katie, Sara and Kristen work long hours fulfilling Christmas orders, my days have become more relaxed. This week I put winter spacers on the hives. Delivering the rent honey gave me the chance to hit just about all the yards.
Above you can see a spacer. It's about a three inch riser that sits between the top brood box and the lid. It's important for two reasons: ventilation and feeding. The hole lets the moisture escape during those cold winter months, and the space itself enables me to put pounds of winter feed on top if the bees are in need... usually in February or March.
It's a pretty quick job. Especially if you have good help.
And the material comes cheap. In fact, I don't think I've had to build a single one. These are all just cut from old busted bee boxes.
We've got over 600 hives going into winter, and I needed another hundred spacers this week to get everybody done. One evening Jayne had something important to run off to, leaving me to watch the kids. That's all the time I needed, and I watched them from the far side of a table saw. An hour and a half later we had zero homework completed, zero piano practiced, zero baggy books read... but 120 spacers done!
And what a week to get out and check the girls! With temps approaching 60 degrees, the bees were out and about. Some days are diamonds.
When it's warm it's easy to see the cluster size. I really felt happy after leaving most of the yards.
Eden shows us what a winter hive should look like on a cold day:
The bees should be clustered below several inches of honey, and if you put your ear close, you'll hear a soothing low rumble of life. A reassuring and joyful sound.
I'll leave you with a cliff hanger- one yard I went to was different. It was cold that day and on nearly every hive, when I listened close, there was dead silence. Next week we'll talk mites.