-Posted by Isaac
Some days are diamonds.
We’ve had a few of those haven’t we?
Thinking about the miserable March of 2018, I certainly can’t complain about this year.
On warm days, we’re out. On cold days we’re out.
On the rainy days, we find things to do inside.
In between all this shifty March weather, we get wind.
It’s been pretty intense this year, as some of us have seen close up. The hay barn just outside Darbyville lost its roof.
And Mt. Sterling’s iconic restaurant took a beating.
I remember the last hurricane force winds that ripped through town a few years ago. A big chunk of roof was taken off the same building. I listened the next day as the news was so relevant it made the afternoon talk on AM 610. The late great John Corby commented, “If Ben and Joy’s ever gets taken out, I’ll tell ya, that whole town might as well hang it up.”
Well, keep smiling John, wherever you are. I’m happy to say Mt. Sterling is standing solid, Ben and Joy’s is still kicking, proudly serving up green marshmallow fluff in the eternal lunch buffet. Climate change has thus far proven no match for the Angel Room.
The night of the nastiest winds took a couple lids off our hives here at home. I went out with a flashlight and placed them back, but it made me think… I’d better make it around to check on everybody. The next day, sunup to sundown, I visited almost everybody. About 500 hives. Even though I only found three more lids blown off, it was worth the trip. It gave me a chance check on the girls one final time before we start our April splitting.
If a hive is marked with the brick on edge, it’s big enough to make a split. (To make a nuc or two.) Much to my delight, about 90% are splittable.
And even better, I’d say at least 50% look like this:
A hive like this will make a nuc or two in April and go on to produce a box or two of spring honey in May. (Fingers crossed.) It’s awesome! A complete turnaround from the way things looked last March.
But for now, the weather’s still cold and the many many mouths require ever more calories to make that final push into spring. We burned through our third pallet of winter patties this week.
It won’t be long though. On the good days, the girls are making it out and actually finding what mother nature is serving up. Bill Huhman, our county bee inspector got a closeup of one of his girls loaded with what we think is maple pollen.
The willows will soon follow. Then the deadnettle, the chickweed, the dandelions, and… everything else. Just a few more days!
For now, we cheat. On the nice days our girls here at home have themselves a gluttonous picnic.
Collecting, cleaning, and selling pollen has its benefits— buckets of dust. A winter’s worth of pollen dust provides the bees with hours of snacking and gives us some good cheap entertainment to boot.