The bad news first.
I lost my bees. It is startling how much we miss them. They are short-lived, fascinating to watch as individuals, but not something you are likely to get attached to on a bee-by-bee basis (although there is an interesting recent study on bee personalities). As a hive, however, the bees become a community that takes on a presence of its own. I cannot help but feel that I let them down.
I had been worried about the bees since late November when there seemed to be an unusual amount of dead bees in front of the hive and–on a few warm days–the continued presence of drones, male bees that generally are kicked out of the hive before winter. I could hear the bees when I put my ear to side of the hive and they continued sounding strong until early January, when their sound seemed to lessen. They were eating the supplemental sugar I was feeding. But in mid-January–ominous silence. I continued to press my ear to the hive daily, thinking perhaps I could hear a little buzz, but it was just my imagination.
On a warm day, I took a quick peek inside the lid and confirmed that the bees were dead. I have several theories as to what happened and may know more when it is warm enough to really open up the hive. Or it may be a mystery. I have heard that that losses have been high in our area this winter. I have already ordered bees for next year.
On to good news. We have a new pack member. Her name is Grampian To the Moon.
Alice, for short. She is almost three years old, a yellow lab, who just had a litter and is “retiring” from breeding. She loves her walks, will retrieve until the cows come home, and is an extraordinary snuggler.
She settled in beautifully with Capp, with–fittingly–a sort of Alice and Ralph Kramden relationship.
He wants to be the boss, but she knows better.
In predicting how Alice would get along with Capp, Alice’s owner said, “bitches always win.”
In this case, she was right. It’s been a joy to watch the two of them together.
We had two days of sun after Alice arrived.
Then were hit in quick succession with snow, a blizzard, and more snow.
George kept a track shoveled in the back yard so the dogs could go to bathroom, but in the high winds it drifted over pretty quickly.
The dogs were ecstatic in the snow, racing around the track and leaping through the drifts.
They were wiped out by the time the sun went down.
Fortunately, we did not lose power and have been warm and cozy.
The roads are plowed, the foxes are out, and the days are getting longer.
We had a sudden reminder last week that life is fragile and short. So, we are doing our best to slow down and savor it.