I am pretty sure today is a Thursday masquerading as a Sunday, cloaked in some obscured time warp. I woke up a late and pondered the day’s chores over my morning Coke and that was last I saw of normal. As soon as I stepped off the porch, well, fell off the porch, the schedule became rather pointless. The fall was a minor thing, a little bruising on the thigh. It didn’t slow me down at all, but for some reason chickens took two hours this morning. I have no idea why. They just did.
Then horses. I took them into the barn to give them their usual Sunday morning dust off and weigh-in. Ophelia’s feet are deteriorating. Can a bout of thrush be far off? I find it simply amazing how quickly a change in forage can show up in a horse’s feet. Less than two weeks ago, we moved them out of the big field and into the hay field. I didn’t have much grass in either, but the hayfield was a little greener. Only a week after the move, I had to start muzzling Ophelia again as she was very quick to gain weight. Today, I muzzled Venus too. Just the little bit of rain that we’ve gotten has caused a flush of grass growth and she’s passing cow patties. It’s like spring all over again!
The dust off took twice as long as normal too and by the time I finished it was after noon, and I didn’t even work the horses. Just cleaned them up and turned them out. Weird. After a short break for breakfast/lunch, I suited up for hive inspection.
The swarm hive is doing great. The queen got mated and got right to work. There is brood on five frames. They’ve got some capped honey, but very little pollen stored away. Soon they’ll have foragers in number to go out and start gathering supplies. Aside from needing a lot of feeding, I couldn’t be happier with my July queen. The swarm hive now looks just like the nucs I bought from Buffalo Bee Farm in May. Except it’s August. During a drought. Close it up. Make notes (because I can’t remember anything short term any more). Move on to the next hive.
The smoker started acting up just as I was cracking open the yellow hive. There are so many bees in that hive! They were not in the mood for company. I very quickly learned that my Invincible Suit is not fool proof, because like a fool, I didn’t make sure the Velcro tab that secures the zipper gaps between the veil and the suit was closed. It wasn’t and one angry bee found the way in and let me know how truly p.o.’d she was. She got me on the lip. Well, rats!
I squished her and closed the tab on the suit and finished up the hive, all the while feeling my face swell up. Did I mention there were a lot of bees in that hive? Yellow queen, who just two weeks ago seemed to have gone on holiday, has lain down 10 frames of brood. Yellow hive seems to think the spring honey flow is coming. After closing up and finishing my notes, I came in and took 3 Benadryl, since 2 wasn’t exactly enough last time. Then back to the other two hives.
Green hive has got pollen stashed out the whazoo, minimal brood and propolis everywhere. One would think they are expecting cold weather. They were better behaved today than they have been in a long time.
Orange hive was rational. Some of this. Some of that. Not as much honey as I’d like, but for the most part, it looks like a hive paring down for colder, leaner days ahead.
So there you have it – the weather forecast from the bees. 2 votes for spring, 1 for an early winter and 1 for August as usual.
What I saw today: very few drones and very little drone comb, but I still have some of both, and according to what I’m hearing, that is unusual right now in this area. All but green hive need more pollen. All of them need sugar water. Honey storage is pretty good, though I’d like to see more. Activity in the two sugar water honey supers has slowed. I need to take them off the green and orange hives. Yellow hive is much better organized since I took theirs away.
What I didn’t see: Small hive beetles, wax moth damage or varroa mites. I put the grid boards in anyway so I can check the varroa mite concentration. I didn’t add any pollen patties simply because I didn’t have any made. Last year, the bees hardly touched them, so I wasn’t prepared for the bees to eat them all in one week.
By the time I finished with the bees, it was 5:30. Incredible! (How did I spend five hours on four hives? Someone is definitely messing with the space time continuum.) By then, the right side of my face was doing the whole Godfather jowls thing and the Benadryl was sucking me down into napdom and half the stuff on the list of things to do didn’t get done. Yep, pretty sure it was a Thursday.