Happy Solstice to all from Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey here in Maple Falls, Washington. The entire family gets behind the return of longer days here in the Cascade foothills. To celebrate most of us go for a walk in the woods to pick out our Solstice Foliage.
Did I mention that the “family” includes dogs, goats, and cats?
Of course it’s the goats who become totally involved in the choice.
Some feel cedar is the right spirit (or taste).
Others think a hemlock bough carries the day best
Then there is the minimalist in the group: no greenery, just the bare beauty of wood.
As in all holiday gatherings, some family members become bored after a bit.
Then there are those who prefer to just wait and have it brought to them. The “did anyone mention how cold it is out there” group.
After the usual holiday squabbles, banging of heads, a bit of barking, and the human yelling “Don’t eat that. It’s for Solstice!”, we made it home. Long stored decorations were pulled out, and everyone except the house cat lost interest because, well, they can’t eat it until New Years Day.
As for the bees, they are clustered up in their hives.
A bit about bees (I promised)
I do not bother my bees in the winter. It’s too cold. They’ve been left ample honey (1.5 supers), and pollen (1 super). They’ll be checked in February, when we normally get a brief break in the cold. But that check only involves lifting the top and seeing if they’ve reached the top or if they have honey left. If they’re at the top, they will get some bee candy. With luck they’ll come out happy and healthy in the new year raring to reproduce and make honey.
That’s the news from Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey, in Maple Falls Washington. So far the winter has been mild compared to last year (thank goodness), but it’s only the beginning of winter here – three months to go.
I have no idea why wordpress is formatting this with so much “negative space”, but I gave up trying to understand the internet years ago.
Happy Solstice To All from all the creatures at the Farm.
I’m interested in your hive composition, you have four medium supers on the bottom, is that a separator in the middle? i’m always willing to learn new or other ways of wintering my bee, thanks.
What you are looking at is a “rescue” on top of a hive that was set up for winter. I had a bear attack at an outlying bee yard and had to pull some survivors up to the farm fast. My normal winter configuration is 4 mediums (to me “westerns”). The bees put the pollen on the bottom. Next up is (or was in Sept) brood. Next brood and honey. Next honey. What you’re seeing above that is the following set up: a queen excluder over the original hive, a “collar” (a 2 inch tall box), then another queen excluder. Then the rescued hive is on top of that. The reason: they were rescued in the rain, who knows if the rescued hives had queens (they were over on their side) or, if a queen was present, if she was OK. So if there was a queen in the rescue, the excluders with the collar would give enough separation to keep the queens from stinging each other if they ever got that close. I there is no queen in the rescue, those workers could just move on down and join the hive below. We shall see in the spring. I will have to feed these hives this month, because the ladies were given enough honey for one hive and now, hopefully, the stack is supporting 2 hives. I hope that all makes sense. Oh – I do everything in mediums.