Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sweet Beginnings

We're thinking some sweet thoughts around here.  Yesterday we picked up these hives locally built by Ralph Littlefield in Palermo.  A coat of paint and a box of bees and they'll be ready to go.  I've got my nuc  
(an established "mini" colony of  bees on frames with a laying queen) on order to fill up one of these lovelies, and am hoping that my current ladies can tough it through these last could weeks and be strong enough to split, or catch a swarm in late spring.  I've never done either of those things, and I'm assuming that it will be much more difficult to do than to say--but I'm up for the challenge.

There's also been a bit more bee love in the past few weeks.  Since my stenciling adventure last fall it seems that I might have inadvertently started something.  Seems like everybody loves a theme.  My sister gave me this cutting board as a very late but much appreciated birthday gift.  A week later a good friend sewed up some bee goodness with this new fabric in at  Fiddlehead Artisan Supply.  
I may be on the path to becoming one of those old ladies whose kitchen/bathroom/bedroom is dictated by given subject.   So bee it. (hah!).

A phone call from a childhood friend who has just bought her first home and is crazy excited about chickens and blueberries and lawn mowing and gardening and maple sugaring just called me out of the blue the other day.  Her enthusiasm was contagious.  It was just the motivation I needed to get thinking about spring, seed orders, and maple sugaring.   Last year we put in two very late taps, on the last weekend of the season, and didn't get more than a sip of sap.  This year Wylie is practically bursting with excitement about sap, and spent a good hour running from tree to tree checking the sap level (about a cm) in the bottom of each of our buckets.  
Growing up in NH I spent the requisite number of field trips to sugar shacks, ate plenty of syrup on snow, and knew as many people who sugared as kept chickens.  But, I've never done it myself.  I'm in the midst of researching very small scale boiling, wood fire vs. propane etc.  But for now, we're just enjoying checking the buckets and tasting the sap.  Liquid spring.  Even if it is still February.

Sweet it is.  If only we could grow some cacao trees.... 

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