We set up two bee hives last summer, and it has been such a pleasure to look after them. (That's the understatement of the year!) During the summer, it's quite a different scene from all of the snow and cold we've dealt with recently.
To be fair, Adam has done most of the bee work. He wrapped the hives in styrofoam held snug with bungee cords, and it seems to have worked like a charm to keep them warm. During the winter, the bees cozy up in the hive, snack on their honey stores, and hopefully stay warm enough to make it through until spring. So far, so good - there are signs of life in both hives. We left them all of their honey last year, and are hoping to get a bit of a harvest this year. During the winter, some bees emerge on sunnier days, but can't survive for long. Also, they clean out their dead - they push them outside of the hive. So there's a bit of a bee graveyard in front of the hives right now. With all of the snow we've had, we've been scraping and brushing the snow and ice away from the entrances so they can have proper ventilation. And did you know that bees won't poop in the hive? It's true!
Do you remember this colour called green? It's vibrant and alive and not connected to boots and scarves. This was at the end of June, on the day we set up the hives.
I posted at the end of last summer: "I knew that it would be cool to have bees. I knew that I would be completely enthralled with them and have a sense of responsibility to my tens of thousands of fuzzy little wards. But what I didn't expect was how mindful I'm forced to be when doing the inspections. I can't be holding a frame of brood covered in hundreds of moving bees and looking for nearly-invisible eggs while checking texts or making a grocery list. The mindfulness is its own reward; the experience is such a fulfilling and pleasurable sensory experience that it would be a shame to be distracted. The hum of the bees working away at their tasks, the beauty of light reflecting on a nectar-filled cell, the stickiness of honey and wax covering fingertips, and of course the taste of honey are as rewarding as collecting a harvest from the vegetable garden. But my favourite is the scent - something elusive about the combination of warm moving bee bodies, smoke, honey, and wax is completely intoxicating."
And today, I miss the bees! I can't wait to get in there when it warms up and see what's taken place over the winter. I'm really hoping that they can survive these last few weeks and build up their populations over the summer. I catch myself daydreaming about sitting by the hives on a summer day, just watching them coming and going while contemplating life. (There is no better way to spend an hour in the summer, except maybe if the chickens wander over, too, or if there are friends visiting too.)
I had a wild dream recently about capturing a swarm by somehow attaching a queen to my back, and I was so *so* happy, running around in the midst of a cloud of bees. A quick search tells me that bees in a dream symbolize wealth, good luck, harmony, creativity, and bliss. I'll take it!