A good day

15-creekToday was a good day. I knew it would be good before I even got out of bed this morning.

I am not a morning person, so it does not take a lot to convince me to linger in my warm, comfortable bed for just a moment longer. Just as I was about to get up and get going for the day, Grace, our “mature” cat, jumped onto the bed and snuggled in my arms. For years, Grace slept in my arms every night, but a year ago she stopped. Her patterns changed and I assumed it was because she was getting older. Perhaps so. It’s been a year since she has visited me in bed. When she joined me this morning, I decided to stay a while and spend time with her. What a great way to start the day.

It only got better. We joined our home school friends for a nature walk along the creek and we saw so many things. Plants, seeds, ice, rotting logs, trails, tracks, scat, and even a deer bed. The weather was so nice today and that made the outing even better. We came back from that walk with joy in our hearts.

15-hiveBecause it was so nice outside, I decided to check my bee hive. I’m down to one hive now, as the second one starved to death last winter. That was awful. This year I am wiser. My queen takes a large number of bees into the winter with her and they all need to eat. I had left a few honey supers on the hive as insurance, and I have been thinking that I need to give them some sugar as supplementary food. Today was warm (in the 40s maybe, if you consider that warm. I do.), the sky was clear (the bees don’t like it when I open the hive on wet days) and I had time to do the work I needed to do. I got my smoker going (that is always a tough task for me for some reason). I gathered the supplies. I suited up.

I was very nervous about checking the hive. They could have starved by now. What if they were all dead? I opened the outer cover and a bee flew out, and with that I breathed a big sigh of relief. I added an empty super body, spread tissue paper over the bottom, and then poured a pound or two of granulated sugar on the paper. On top of that I placed two more supers with partially-filled frames of honey that I had taken off in the fall and saved for winter/spring feeding. A few guard bees came out to see (attack) me while the rest came up to inspect the sugar. I felt really good about the situation. The bees were further down in the hive, which means they have not eaten all of their winter stores of honey yet. This is mid-January, so we are at the midpoint of their hungry days. I can start feeding them sugar syrup again in March, when the nighttime temperatures go up a bit. I looks as though this hive will make it through the winter.

15-smokerA successful trip to the bee yard always makes me feel good. Seeing the bees surviving and thriving is exciting. There is more, too. I love the smell of it all. The smoker, the honey, the bees. Beekeepers live in a world full of perfume. It permeates my clothing, my hair, my skin. The heavenly scent stays with me all day.

After having fun with the bees I thought it would be a good day to do some chicken coop cleaning. You know, weather is such an awesome force. A few weeks ago when the temperature did not go above 0 degrees F during the day, I tried to do some quick coop cleaning but quickly rushed back in the house because the cold was burning my skin. Today I was out without a coat, no hat or mittens, and I spent a good amount of time cleaning. I stayed in place a while and checked for mites (they were a big problem in the coop last year). I am happy to say that I found none.

While I cleaned, the chickens enjoyed spending the day out and about in the yard. They foraged for food, preened their feathers, and stretched their legs.

15-chickens-outsideCats, bees, chickens… I have barely mentioned my children. They’re good too. We did a lesson on Haiku today, and they spent the afternoon outside playing and making up their own haiku.

nature, nature, oh
nature is my favorite thing
animals and plants

chickens oh chickens
how I love my nine chickens
I love my chickens

15-chicken-feet

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