Good morning, peeps and rancherinos! It is Friday – not that any particular day of any particular week has any particular meaning for those of us who generally work every day of every week – but there is still something about reaching the end of another week on the calendar that is satisfying. A bit foggy this morning, but I’m sure it will lift, and the weather has been so warm that one of the single body bee hives I thought wouldn’t amount to much actually needs another brood box on it. I’m of two minds on this, as the temps are supposed to moderate, but I suppose if they don’t build up enough in the second box and don’t have enough bees to stay warm through our short winter, I can always reduce them back to a single box and then make sure they’re first on the list for spring expansion so they don’t get any nutty ideas about swarming.
The key in beekeeping, as in farming, is thinking of it as a game of chess. You’re attempting to stay several moves ahead that span several months, and that are dependent on a huge external factor: weather. Tonight – while watching whatever football I can find, of course – I’ll be starting on plans for spring, both bee-wise, and crop-wise. This past season’s crops were pretty much a lost season for various reasons (primarily extended sickness in the family) but next year is a new year, and thus a chance to begin again. It’s one of the better things about working in the soil: a crop may fail, either due to circumstance after some time, or by never growing in the first place, but you simply note what went wrong, learn a lesson from that wrongness, and endeavor to do better the next time around.
It’s much the same with the bees, of course, although a loss of bees is worse than the loss of a set of plants. They are living creatures, after all, and it’s more time consuming and more expensive to replace them than it is to replace plants or seed. So, it’s imperative to be the best caretaker possible, checking on them often enough to ensure their health, but not so often that they are constantly irritated by your presence. Balance: it is not just for gymnasts.
Whatever you’re up to today, folks, do it well, and do it safely.
“Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.” – Walt Whitman