An email from fellow blogger Cindy Shea got me thinking about my bees. Winter has curtailed my daily walks out to the hive, tea in hand to check the ladies, as the sun rises. Sometimes it wasn’t warm enough and a sharp rap on the side with my knuckles resulted in the loud hum of a disturbed sleepy colony.
Though they are wrapped in their winter cozies, I know life is continuing within, This winter has been warm to start, then bitter cold arrived with little snow to insulate. In year’s past I’ve recorded thousands of dead bodies outside the hive; the snow littered with fragile, brown corpses. If my calculations are right, the queen has commenced to laying again and the workers have gone through a cycle of birth and death while she rested.
I dug out all my bee books. Some are ancient texts written almost forty years ago, others are more fictional accounts. They all serve to whet my appetite to learn and retain more for the upcoming season.
I follow bee keeping blogs and forums, print out articles and highlight passages everywhere in the hope I will be a better steward to the colony. This one was particularly interesting though I felt the financial start-up numbers were quite high, http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/so-you-want-to-bee-a-beekeeper-zbcz1501.aspx#axzz3P4qNi4UI.
Bee keeping is not an exact science. Unlike cooking, which has prescribed timing and complimentary rules of ingredients, this pursuit has no rules. A colony exists in its own rhythm and the effects of the environment are greater than my minor efforts. Regardless of my good intentions or perhaps because of them, it is an entity unto itself and I am merely an observer at worse, a participant at best.