Feeding bees in the winter - Bee in Harmony, Rowe Apiaries blog

A little spring break

Oh, the wonders of nature! How beautiful is the sky after last night’s storm! How wonderful it is to have a spring-like morning with 53F, after a week of freezing temperatures and biting wind. It will not last. Indeed, in three days, the weather will remind us that there is still plenty of time for it to halt our little outside projects and put us back inside for weeks.

It is the first part of January: time to check on the bees’ stores. I usually don’t feed them in December, but I did give them some syrup on the first of January. So, I took some more down the hill to the apiary today. I feed them light sugar syrup right now, mainly to keep it from freezing and crystallizing. They still had plenty left from last feeding, but the hive itself was lighter. I put fresh syrup in the middle, right above the hole, and checked the other bottles for freshness. It has been very cold, and they took about a week’s worth. The bees were very excited about the warm weather, making cleansing flights and taking the syrup. The girls should have three days of good weather to take as much as they can in. I try not to miss a chance to feed the bees in winter. In Alabama, the warm weather makes them use their stores faster; they don’t get a chance to hibernate as their sisters do up north. Then, right before I left, I noticed that somebody was trying to pull out one hive’s bottom board. Interesting. Opossum or raccoon, maybe?

Christmas decoration are getting put up (with some protests from our children), and we are entering the season of Epiphany. It is still months before spring, but the farmers’ rest is over. They are moving equipment, counting days to first planting.

My girls are filling planting containers with prepared mix: composted mulch from last year’s flower beds, composted chicken manure with sawdust, and some ashes from our wood stove. The mix is ready for starting leeks, onions, chives, peas, cardoon, strawberries and garden berry Naranjilla (Baker Creek Heirloom Co). The garden plan was finalized in December, and my husband is building 12 new garden boxes for our summer garden.

The ducklings are ordered for February; the chicks are coming in April; the lambs should be here in May as well.  I can almost see the spring around the corner. But… we have not had our snow yet. It is time to take out the spinning wheel, bring in more firewood and think about lotions, soap and candles.


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