Curious Fact: Bees spend the winter in a tight cluster in the center of their hive, working hard to maintain a temperature of 93-95 degrees F regardless of the weather outdoors. They take turns hanging out on the exterior of the cluster and then moving toward the center, where the queen stays toasty warm, waiting for Spring. By these means, they can survive winter temps as low as minus 40 degrees F. Because they rarely leave the hive and have very little work to do, and because there is no new brood to replace them, winter workers can live several months. Several long months of waiting…

Adventure Update: Not much happening with the bee stuff at present. We’re gradually getting the frames filled with foundation, and figuring out where we’ll store stuff. I called the gentleman I’m getting one of my hives from, Bill, to learn that his wife was in the hospital waiting to die. He wanted me to tell the bee class that he will still have hives for everyone who requested one. Found out that his wife, whom he had called his “queen bee,” passed later that day. I sent him a letter of sympathy and gratitude. I regret that I never knew her. They used to garden organically together and they worked the bees together. Married over 60 years. The hardest thing about his recent ordeal, he said, was seeing her like that, and the waiting.

Meanwhile, I received a copy of “Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Apiculture” from Amazon and have been greedily devouring it. Very interesting reading. Bought some light-colored clothes for Eli at a consignment sale for him to wear in the apiary. Worried that I may have the wrong equipment… maybe I should have more deep boxes and fewer shallows… must do more research… So… that’s about it. Just waiting. Waiting for April, when we’ll have real bees to work with!

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