A day ahead of schedule, I'm back over at Rhythm of the Home today with a tour of yesterday's chores and a bit of a reflection on the dynamics of farming alongside my children.
Here on the farm, after an entirely rainless April and a May-through-early-June in which I swear it rained every single day, we've been having a stretch of the most perfectly glorious weather imaginable. Craig was beginning to plan for a year in which we would make no hay at all, and I was beginning to think my bees - especially the new bees - would be drowned and washed away with all the rains. So in this recent stretch of Nature showing us the very best she has to offer, we've been mowing and raking and baling like crazy, and I made a trip out to the bee yard to check on the girls. (This photo has nothing to do with hay or bees at all, it's here simply for the way it shows just how beautiful the weather has been. Everything is technicolor blue and green, and the cows and chickens you can see in the distance are thoroughly enjoying every moment of it. OK, so you can't actually see a single chicken, but you can see the mobile coop, and spread out all around it, hidden by the grass, are 200+ young hens. And they are happy, frolicking in the warm sun! Just take my word for it.)
The main objective of my visit to the new bees is to see how they're settling in. Are the queens still present and laying? Are the workers drawing out the foundations quickly? Are they raising brood, and bringing home pollen, and making honey? All five hives are queen-right and looking great, doing just what they should be doing. In three out of the five new hives, I was greeted with bees spilling out from the hive onto the inner cover. A very good sign! Well, a good sign that the bees are thriving, but also a sign that they need more room to grow, pronto.
Here is the view under the inner cover. Yup, this is a strong hive, ready for a second hive body. A second story addition to their previously single story home.
Excellent work ladies! By the middle of this week, I'll be adding a second hive body to the other two hives, lagging just a bit behind the strongest three.
And I came away with the first product from these hives - a big ball of beeswax! This wax was built up as burr comb between the top of the hive bodies and the underside of the inner covers - another good sign of a strong and growing colony. It is common practice to scrape this away, and it is very bad practice to leave such scrapings littering the bee yard. I press any wax I remove from the hives into a ball as I work, helping me to keep the wax in one place and helping to keep the yard tidy.
And now, I'm heading back outside. How's the weather where you are?