Sunday, November 17, 2013

All tucked in

It was a day that felt a whole lot like the end of the season. The hardworking husband raked a lot of leaves, and piled some of them onto the garden beds as a sort of sheet mulch. I finally took the top feeders off the bee hives, and checked to see good amounts of stored honey, as much as I could tell without actually pulling frames. I still can't be sure there are functional queens in my hives but at this point it is too late to check or do anything. I saw bees, and honey. Now we hope and wait.

Oh wait! There is one more thing I could do to improve my hives' chances.  Wrapping the hives in tar paper helps to capture the warmth of the winter sun rays, and insulates the hives just a tiny little bit more. Now the story that made the day feel like a beginning, too: A friend told me of a friend of hers who lives in my neighborhood and also keeps bees that she wraps in tar paper. Not wanting to buy a huge roll just for this little job, I am sending out an email to a person I have never met - asking if I could possibly have some tar paper. And the response? "Sure I do. Shall we wrap all our hives together tomorrow?" How wonderful is that? I took some jam (since I have no honey, yet), and after a quick introduction, we wrapped her hives. Then we walked back to my yard where she taught me to place a straw filled shallow super on top of the inner cover, before putting the outer cover on. We stapled a screen bottom to this super and the straw inside will help catch condensation and keep what might be a clump of ice forming away from the brood boxes. The inner cover's edge is covered by the tar paper we installed, with a small hole cut for the top entrance. I feel hopeful for the bees, but even more hopeful for having made this new connection, a friend in my own neighborhood, through doing something meaningful and fun together. I wonder if it was more like that, when the first settlers arrived here, knowing that only through helping each other and learning from each other would they make it through the winters?

We are nowhere near meeting our own heating needs with wood, but what we do burn comes entirely from our own property this year.  All tucked away and ready to go.

Manic Mother


  1. Both our hives look so weak this year. Having a be keeping buddy in the neighborhood is such a treat!

    1. I know what you mean... I'm hoping for a mild/short winter... I would really really like to harvest my first honey next year!