It's been a very busy few weeks once again at the farm. The return of warm weather and the arrival of the "safe to plant date" have made most days long and exhausting in the garden. We've nearly planted everything for this season's garden including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, (cold season crops several weeks ago) and more recently corn, peppers, pumpkins, beans and cucumbers. Tomorrow's task will be the tomatoes and melons and that will wrap up the warm season crops. Planting in Central Oregon always brings with it risks of cold nights and constant sways in the temperature. A gardener here must be diligent watching the weather forecast and must be prepared to race to the garden and cover the precious plants with row covers if needed.
The real story I would like to tell today is about our newest Honey Bee Haven residents and the trials and tribulations of beekeeping. You all remember the story, "If You Build It, They Will Come" from a few weeks ago? That swarm of honey bees have absolutely thrived since arriving here at the Prineville Honey Bee Haven. They built so much comb and grew so quickly, Eric had to build a new SUPER hive to accommodate them.
As a new beekeeper, I fully admit I have lots to learn. I accept this and know that the more I read, watch and listen the better off our honey bees will be. Moving Beeatrice to this new hive was no exception to the "uhh ohhh, now what" thought that races through my mind every so often. I have to tell you though, often times that thought is replaced with an internal mothering clause that seems to simply take over. Take note at what happened next:
Just when we were doing a little celebrating for A: building and awesome foraging garden, B: capturing a swarm of native honey bees in our own yard, C: moving that thriving swarm to a new location and bigger hive, the girls appeared to have boycotted the new house and returned to their old stomping grounds. The picture above is what I woke up to the next day. These little ladies spent the night in the cold because they couldn't find their way back. Poor things!
Here's where the mothering instinct kicked in for me... I just had a feeling that they were still alive despite their night out on the town. I decided to scoop them up, spray them with a bit of sugar and take them back to their new home.
I am happy to report that the girls eventually woke up from their night out and moved in with the rest of their sisters. My quick inspection later that day showed that everyone was busy with the usual tasks and voraciously devouring the sugar water they get each day.
The moral of the story is that you might want to think twice about those bees all huddled together. They may just be confused ladies that need a little help finding their way home.