Forts and Fumbling with Bees


I have been absent from the blog-o-sphere and I apologize. Marc has the computer on Salt Spring and I stayed on Pender recently to catch up on my tiny island rhythms. Yes, I could blog at the library but have you ever tried to blog while people clack away beside you on other computers and your neighbours peek over your shoulder as they pass behind you “looking for a book.” Plus I have to use one foot to constantly rock Gabrielle in her car seat so she doesn’t break the silence at the library.

So what have we been up to? Visiting, baking cookies, giggling, napping, dressing in dresses as the weather finally changes. I wish I could say picking flowers. Perhaps this coming week.

And we have been beekeeping!

Through the Winter, I usually miss the bees so much. But this Winter I was a little preoccupied. Ya know, what with moving onto a boat, pregnancy, birth, Christmas, heart surgeries, hernia surgeries. I didn’t have much time to think about those precious little insects. Though I remember one vivid moment sitting in ICU, watching my little girl breathe, with snow falling outside, wondering how those bees of mine were doing.

Unfortunately many of them were not doing well. If you haven’t been able to tell by now with all my complaining, it was a long and cold Winter. Spring has found me with 5 solid hives. I believe this is out of 20. It’s not great numbers but considering what I had to deal with as I closed up the hives last Autumn, I’m not completely disheartened. It also means that I’ll be able to really pay attention to the ones I have left. Because folks, I got a busy Summer coming up with a heart surgery slotted in there somewhere.

Which hives survived? Katja, Lucinda, Matilda, Clotilde and Daisy. In my losses, sadly, was Gertrudabelle who provided me with more than 80 lbs of honey last year. And the community garden bees, Cleopatra. Though they left behind probably 40 lbs of honey which I hope to redistribute to the surviving hives. Some places, where once was a bustling bee colony, only empty boxes remain and I watch as the pear trees and maple trees come into bloom.

I think I lost many of the bees from the cold, and a couple were in really windy places. A few hives succumbed to mites by the look of them. And a couple to starvation. The ones who died of hunger are the most frustrating because, as their beekeeper, they are the ones most preventable in my opinion.

This is Gabrielle bundled up and ready for whatever Family Day throws at her.

Today, we woke up to bright sunshine and a breeze. Which means a great day for Sailing. But our sail boat (the functional one) was sitting alone on Salt Spring. So we decided to go out into the woods and build a fort. Really, when was the last time you trucked out into the woods to build a fort? Not since I was maybe twelve I think! It was great fun. Even Gabrielle thought so.

We even had time to cook a snack.

Hope you have had a good week. And wishing you the best in the next one.

About Amanda

Living a simple quiet life on the Gulf Islands, BC.

8 Thoughts on “Forts and Fumbling with Bees

  1. LOVE THE PIC WITH HER TONGUE OUT!!! we always lose hives over the winter. one year nick put a hive in our greenhouse with a tunnel so they could go outside. bad idea. the seal broke and they got loose in the greenhouse. then on really warm spring days they’d swarm the outside near the door to the greenhouse. i could’ve killed nick!

  2. Michelle on 18 April, 2011 at 4:37 pm said:

    Aurora was copying Gabrielle sticking out her tongue.
    We think she looks lovely!

  3. Sandi on 18 April, 2011 at 8:21 pm said:

    I love the sleeping photo and the one in her spring dress and her sticking out her little tongue. SO adorable! I can tell she’s missing Nana’s kisses and cuddles though. So sorry about the bees. Poor little things have such a hard life.

  4. That baby of yours is just so beautiful. And totally rad fort!

  5. Love Gabrielle’s soft cheeks and toothless grin. I get so sad when you lose hives. :(

  6. Wow… great pics. She’s growing so fast!! What a precious. <3 Enjoyed the update. :) I haven't been online much myself as I'm in the middle of tax deadlines. Ugh.

    Did you know that your pics don't show up on google reader? I didn't realize that for awhile, until I clicked over to leave a comment.

    Hugs, April

  7. melissa on 20 April, 2011 at 4:17 pm said:

    what a great family day. and that bacon was a good idea!
    you have a sweet happy looking baby.

  8. Bee keeping is so fascinating to me! Enjoy your spring and that beautiful little girl of yours :)

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