After an unusually short winter, it’s begun to feel like spring here already. The present moment notwithstanding, I’m not entirely convinced that we are going to get a pass on winter; my glass-half-empty side thinks about March 1st will be a great time for a blizzard. Yesterday we received a bit of sad winter news. The sister hive to our two hives (that lives at my folks inCampton) did not make it through the winter, though it’s not fully clear why. The more I learn about this business of beekeeping, the more I realize there is no one right way and that we (us humans) still know only a slim bit of what there is to know about honeybees and how they live. After hearing about this, I did check our two hives at the Fox Plot and breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing activity from both hives. I was surprised to notice that the hive that was weaker (formed from three small weaker hives during the fall) seems more active than the one that has been consistently stronger. We tried to give them some help to make it through winter by stacking bales of straw around the hives for insulation. So far the only downside has been that it is a great habitat for small rodents, whom I don’t mind in theory, but do mind if they raid the hives for honey or the garden for the vegetables, and then have rodent babies. On the coldest nights this year, we put extra bales over the top for extra insulation. Fingers crossed for the bees, I think they are looking forward to spring just as much as we are.
In other Fox Plot news, planting could begin as soon as two weeks away! Despite the several non-gardening months we’ve had, we still haven’t ordered our seeds for this year. We did inventory everything we have on hand and make up the list of favorite or new varieties to order. As much as we have been happy with Johnny’s Selected Seeds, we would like to patronize some of the smaller seed companies that offer a similar quality and sometimes lesser prices. High Mowing Seeds and Seed Savers have lovely varieties of potatoes, kales, herbs and so on.