A friend of mine constantly nags me about our bees, thinks that my infatuation with chickens has led me to abandon the bees. It is true, I do like the chickens better than the bees, but there's not that much to do with these bees except leave them alone.
Yesterday, my mother was over and I offered to let her inspect the hives with me since I haven't done so in a couple of months. Plus, I wanted to show off. She wore a bathrobe, I wore a winter coat because we don't have suits. I know that some people inspect hives in shorts and t-shirts, but I will never be that kind of person.
What did we find? There are fewer bees in both hives and they are more concentrated in the lower boxes than they were this summer. There are signs of a queen (specifically, babies) in both hives, but not very many. We will harvest no honey this year; all the honey -- there is a lot and it is beautiful -- is for the bees to use over the winter. I did not do a mite count, though I know I should at some point. And I need to fix my feeders, in which the bees were drowning in vast numbers before I removed them. I've read that this is a common problem with the type of feeder I bought and can be remedied with duct tape. I have a short bee-related to-do list and I will tackle it within the week.
My husband took these photos of my mother and me after I was stung on the neck by a bee that got inside the coat, which didn't bother me at all, but immediately before a bee began buzzing inside my bonnet, which bothered me inordinately. I am terrified of bees getting trapped in my hair, so I did the most irrational, childish thing imaginable: I ripped off my bonnet. Then there were a lot of bees (maybe three? five? it seems like a lot in the moment) buzzing around my face and head and I began to wail and ran into the house. My husband brushed the bees off me and gave me a withering look. I put the bonnet back on and resumed my duties, but the act I was performing for my mother -- remember how I used to be scared of bees when I was a foolish little girl? see how cool I am now? -- was somewhat spoiled.
These are some of our new chicks.
I used to think it was a shame that tiny, adorable chicks had to grow up to be hens. I still think tiny, adorable chicks are tiny and adorable, but there's nothing quite like a plump and clucking full-grown hen, pecking and scratching and dust-bathing. We got wire for the new, high-security chicken run from a neighbor, but we're going to hire out the actual carpentry. This is very good news for the chickens.