Temperatures reached 78 yesterday...
giving me the perfect opportunity to assess the health of my one remaining beehive
(the tall one in the back right corner).
You might remember that we had several hives perish last winter...
and before that we sporadically lost hives every year.
It's the way of the honeybee world these days.
The honeybee's existence is very tenuous these days.
Ask any beekeeper and they will tell you that they have suffered
unprecedented losses over the past few years.
Sadly, I am no exception.
Fearful of another hard winter, I had decided not to harvest honey for us last summer...
but instead left all of it to assure that the honeybees would have enough no matter what the weather.
Yesterday, as I approached my hives, I had hoped to see the girls outside
doing a little spring housekeeping.
Closer and closer I came to the hive...not a bee in sight.
Hubbs listened to the side of the hive...no buzzing.
We cracked open the hive.
Not a single bee, alive or dead.
If they had succumbed to disease or pestilence, there would have been dead bees inside the hive.
With no sign of the previous tenants, we can only surmise that our bees were the victims of
Colony Collapse Disorder....that mysterious "thing" that is killing off the nation's honeybees
at an alarming rate.
We took the hive apart.
There were still a couple of frames with a large amount of capped honey within.
We took those frames to the greenhouse
(the warmth of the greenhouse helps honey flow faster).
I used the hot knife to uncap the honey and allowed
the sticky goodness to drip into a large pot.
I let these two frames sit over night,
slowly dripping their sweet goodness into the pot.
Today I will filter out the beeswax and bottle the honey.
I feel such sadness over the loss of our bees.
I have not ordered new bees this year and will take a year off from beekeeping.
Hopefully next year we can get our hives up and running again.
Hopefully entomologists will have some success in finding the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder
before it is too late.
Meanwhile, while Hubbs and I were tending to the hive,
Oakley was taking his first "swim" of the season.
He has the pond to swim in, but instead prefers his own private swimming hole!
PS....Annie's look-alike (shelter pup) arrives tomorrow morning for a visit.
We (humans) are all very excited.
We'll see how the dogs feel about it tomorrow.
Stay tuned for updates on Monday.....and maybe a sneak peak over the weekend.