Monday, March 7, 2011

Nope, Not Spring Yet

What am I thinking using this picture as a heading? Well, in your neck of the woods you might be enjoying spring weather and your crocus and tulips may be peeking out of the ground. Some of you may even be planting or harvesting from the garden but here, its our typical March / April weather, snow, snow, snow and then it snows again. So no... the heading picture of the snowmen our grand daughter built Saturday is not out of place.

In fact, this is what the ground looked like Saturday when she first built the mother daughter pair. Cold seeped in and snow began to fall again on Sunday. As I write, we are at 24.5F but we are to dip down to 4 tonight. Winter begins to wrestle this time of year. The weather becomes a tug a war shifting dramatically. December, January, and February are pretty barren as it's just too cold for much moisture to fall and so our worst storms are in March and April. It doesn't mean spring hasn't sprung in my heart or inside for that matter. I know I'm rushing the spring season, having started a couple pots of Siberia tomatoes. I only used a few seeds but I swear everyone I planted sprouted. The packages are getting old and so I'd ordered new tomato packet just in case. I did only two pots to test the waters and yes, it is really early yet to be starting indoors.

But after today's mishap with one of the pots of tomatoes and the one and only pot of parsley, I'm thinking planting extra is a good idea. Yup, our two year old decided to try gardening on her own. I'd do everything in the basement but I know I'll run out of room for all the things I want to start. I need to garden seriously this year since the basement isn't as full of food as it use to be. So I'm going to attempt to train her to leave them alone. Wish me luck. If you've any great ideas on how to keep a two year old explorer out of garden pots, let me know.
I've also a couple planters of lettuce going as part of an experiment project, finding someplace in my house that it will grow well. I've tried in the basement twice and that didn't work. I'm suspecting they aren't going to like it here either for the same reason, too warm. Look how spindly they are. Next, I'm going to try some in the living room. I'm determined to learn to grown tomatoes and lettuce through the winter in this house. With gas prices climbing at an alarming rate, it looks like I'll need to. I can't afford to run to the next town over for supplies very often. That means I'll run out of fresh things like lettuce and tomatoes that don't last very long. Sure, we have a grocery store but it is very small and the produce section is not what one would like. Not what they'd like either as they often aren't shipped the nicest stuff because their orders are so small. So I'll learn to be a bit MORE -pant, pant- self-sufficient. How did the pioneers ever get it all done? Oh yeah, they did without. That may just have to happen too if things keep escalating in Libya, North Africa and a cazillion other countries. Not to mention the natural disasters and crop failures that have the world in a turmoil. Yes, good and plenty may be a thing of the past. Think America will ever learn that being self-sufficient is a good idea?
.................................On the bright side..........................

During a couple days of warmth, in the forties. The bees came out in numbers. I was thrilled to see that both hives were alive. They sounded like both queens had made it too. How I hope so for I've not ordered any new ones.

They did the usual, pooped all over everywhere, all over the hive and the white wall of the shed the hives are resting against. Looked pretty gross. Isn't it nice that I shared? LOL Can't really blame them as they've not indoor plumbing and what do you do when you've been pretty inactive and all at once started running around in the cold weather? Yep, the same thing.

I watered them by filling a dish just outside their hives, wished them well, and told them I'd come inside and visit when the temperatures reached the fifties. Any lower and you can chill them too much and kill off your bees. I've got to check soon to make sure they have enough food to make it until the blossoms start. That's not for months yet. They should be okay as a cold winter equate to less food demand. They aren't as active and hence don't get around to eating much. That means warm winters are hard on honey stores.

Oh, they won't like my visit at all, and they are sure to think I'm there to rob them but I'll just take a quick peek into the top two boxes , then leave them alone if they've plenty of food. That is unless it warms up a bunch and they start robbing the pantry often. Spring is the time you loose lots of hives to starvation if you aren't careful.

If a hive is dead, you can suspect starvation if cell after cell has a dead bee with his head stuck inside. There often is still a LITTLE bit of honey inside. Don't ask me why they die before the very last drop is gone. I don't know. And frankly you should be proud of me because I'm going to go and make a cake and not spend an hour trying to find the answer on the Internet. LOL

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