I started the day with a long, slow trail ride. Night and I are officially getting old, and for the last few weeks I have chosen to ride her in a simple Western bridle, with only a bareback pad. We are a far cry from our days of multiple tack and clothing changes to suit the discipline, hurrying across the competitive landscape. Today we are minimalistic and enjoy slow jaunts through the woods, fording steams and when we need to let loose, scrambling up vertical trails.
I basked in the luxury of full sun, little wind and the smells of spring earth. Sitting in the barnyard after my ride, I watched as others came and went, calling out greetings from the Adirondack chair. This is the setting for summers at the barn; the first real taste of what will be routine is so sweet.
The afternoon had been set aside to clean out the hives. In typical Wilson fashion, he showed up with things to plug in. A small shop vac provided the burial services for thousand of ladies who lost the fight this winter. They starved. I have no doubt after dismantling the hives. There were no stores left and in the case of the second hive, they had also be under attack from a mouse who ate into their stores before they dispatched it with a million stings. I have looked out the window at the graves for weeks now, ever since I took a quick look and realized neither hive had made it through the winter. Now they are freshened up, cleaned out and ready for new colonies. It is far easier now to imagine the mornings I can stroll out and have a cup of coffee with the ladies as they get ready for a busy day of gathering.
I couldn’t bear to photograph the carnage in the hives. It took just over an hour to clean and restore them. The air was warm and the shop vac worked quickly to remove the corpses. Oddly, it also brought them “alive” as their frail wings fluttered before they were sucked into their grave.
And at the end of the day, enjoying wine and snacks in the sun on the deck for the first time in months…