Bees In The Snow

Thank you to do Stacy Kagiwada for getting this awesome photo of Cinnamon! This is from the Indianapolis book signing, you can see more here--wow, Stacy has really nailed how to get a disapproval out of my bunny. I just love this one below--Cinnamon's totally disapproving of me in the background. Stacy also got a shot of Non Birding Bill and I together--we have so few of us in the same shot, I love it!

Whoa, doggies! Sounds like I'll be signing lots of Disapproving Rabbits books tomorrow. About a month after the book came out, we learned that Harper Collins had run out of the DR book and were going to print more. According to UPS, the packages will be dropped off tomorrow and I'll be signing away so we can mail them out on Friday and get them to people in time for Christmas.

It continues to be super cold here, but very lovely--like this puffed up little downy woodpecker. This morning I woke to 5 degrees but I am assured by the weatherman that it will warm up to twenty degrees before the sun sets at 4:30pm. I went out check on the beehives.

Single digit temperatures are much easier to take in when there is snow. Also, between all of my layers, hand warmers and the marching motion I have to do to maneuver over unplowed paths in the woods, I can work up quite a sweat. It's a strange quiet in the woods, and all you hear is the chip note of a chickadee, the industrious soft tapping of several woodpeckers, and crow caws echoing off of the hillsides. So different from the cacophony of warblers and vireos in spring and the dry humming and buzzing of katydids and grasshoppers in late summer.

I took a very long route to the hives to enjoy the scenery in the snow. The creek on Mr. Neil's property is almost completely frozen, apart from a few pockets that the birds are using for drinking water. I can't believe I've seen some ice fishing houses out already on some of the lakes in town--it's too soon. If there is still some slush on the lake, it's too soon, you crazy fishing people! As I was working my way to the field near our hives, I noticed a strong aroma.

Hoo-wee, you've been warned of yellow about brown snow? Someone must have run a manure spreader right after our last big snowfall. It was still very pungent--and rock solid.

The path to the hives was dug deep into the snow with splatters of hard poop. I know the kind of enjoyment I get from walking through fresh snow...I wonder if it's the same when one is riding a manure spreader. There's a huge field full of pristine snow and you're gonna cover it with some hot liquid manure. Good times. Actually, I had to chuckle, because the field is part of a network of snow mobile trails...I would wager that there have been some very disappointed snow mobile drivers who were raring to go after our first big snow of the season only to come upon that road block of several acres.

But I made my way to the hives and found Kitty nestled in the snow. I put my ear up to the hive and you could hear all the bees inside buzzing softly keeping the hive warm. Incredible.

You will note that the snow just around the hives is melted away--they keep it that warm! Again--Incredible. And now in French--Incroyable!!

There were some dead bees outside of the hives, here's a little pile in front of Olga. I had closed the entrance reducer, but Mr. Neil read about some Canadian beekeepers, leaving it open a little bit for some air circulation. The bees seemed to have covered the entrance holes with dead bees on the inside, so I'm not sure if they need in ventilation or not. There's a small hole at the top as well, so they can take cleansing flight. I'm not too worried about. After all, our bees have insulation around their hive, in the wild, they don't have anything, but their honey and their little wings to maintain temperature. I put my ear up to Olga and you could hear the humming in there too. Amazing, just amazing to hear them living on the other side of some thin pieced of wood while it's in the single digits outside. Ah, my bees, I miss you. Can't wait to play with you next spring.