Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Goodbye Mr. Winter

We've had more winter this year than I can remember for some time. But I finally believe it is over because the bees know. And one of our bee hives swarmed.

In the Spring before the "honey flow," bees sometimes get it into their little heads to swarm. A strong colony will divide itself into two smaller colonies and the Queen and a bunch of bees will leave their hive in search of a new home. Some bees will remain in the old hive and will raise up a new Queen, who must then mate and begin growing up the hive again.

The swarming bees will all of a sudden pour out of the hive entrance in a massive swirl, filling the air with a tornado of bees. They will find a branch or something similar and will congregate into a mass that looks like it hangs down from the branch.

The bees will "hang out" for a limited period of time while they determine where to move the colony. As beekeepers, we have our own ideas about where they should live. In fact, Kurt had a new beehive just about ready. Unfortunately, the bees settled on a fairly high branch and we weren't prepared to recover a swarm that high in the air. Kurt called a beekeeper friend and then raced to collect a swarm grabbing tool - a bucket on a stick. He had to get back before the bees left once and for all.

Our friends came with the bucket. James went after the swarm.

After cutting down some lower branches, James eased the bucket under the swarm. Then he smacked the branch.

The vibration dislodged the cluster of bees. They dropped into the bucket and James closed the lid with the attached string. Kurt and James dropped the bees into a new hive box and if all goes well, we will have five hives of bees instead of the four we had a couple of days ago.

Granted, the bee swarm rearranged our priorities yesterday but we are very excited about the new hive. Gregory quickly reminded everyone he was promised the first swarm of bees so the new bee hive will be Gregory's. He wants to raise honey and sell it to earn money. I hope he prospers with it. Especially since he will have to reimburse us for the equipment first.

I finally finished Asa's sweater and it fits perfectly.

He loved it and I am glad. I loved the lack of fabric bunching in his arm pits. Little people just don't have clothes stores to shop. Everyone should have at least a few clothes that absolutely fit. I am so blessed I was able to give Asa his first custom piece of clothing.

I'm so grateful the Lord gave me that nudge a few months ago, even if the sweater did not get finished until Winter finished too.