I decided that I might as well run the vehicles while I was out there, so I cranked up Annabelle and the Ford and let them run while I gently eased myself onto the loft stairs. Once in the loft I set about inventorying my bee-hive components. I have two living colonies (check out the Bee Project for the latest news) and two more 3 pound packages on order. These should arrive on the 19th of April so I want to make sure I'm ready for them. (Look at me! Thinking ahead! Somewhat at any rate. I call this progress. ;] )
I have enough components to start me out this season, but I would like to have at least one extra hive body (I'd prefer two) and several extra supers on hand in case of the need for a split--or a swarm. I had a first-year swarm mid-July last year. (Which is a little late in the year--but the ironic part is, the swarm which went into the winter with next to zero stores, is still alive. The big, strong hive they swarmed from--with nearly two supers of stores--died. Anyway...oddness which I can't account for.) So, I'm weighing my options and my costs and trying to determine how much I want to spend. I've sunk a couple thousand into bees already in the last three years and I want be wise and not just buy extra stuff because I "might" need it--but at the same time, I don't want to need it and not have it. (You can loose a swarm that way, you know.)
Anyway, when I got done with that (and bawling Tom-Tom out for climbing the apartment's screen door), I gingerly climbed out of the loft, turned off the engines and closed the back door of the barn. Then I went for a slow little walk from the barn door--to the bee-hives and through the orchard. It was too cold for the bees to really be out, but I'd seen one going into the little hive on my way to the barn, so I know they are still okay.
But to the trees...we have four pear trees (counting the little one which I doubt will bloom this year; it didn't last year and it's still only about as tall as I am and big around as my thumb at the bottom). Part of one of the pear trees is dead...but the ends of the living branches are getting 'fuzzy'. The maples, by the way, have the little pinky-red flowers coming out all over them! (And I just had a thought and went and looked it up--and the Red Maple flowers are a source of pollen and nectar for bees! Yay!! More trees, please! ;] ) The Yellow Delicious apple and the red apple (I don't know what variety it is) are "fuzzing" too, as well as that flat peach--which I'm a little surprised about. I've been expecting that thing to be dead for several years now. :D Of course, the Lindens are no where near leafing out (and they leaf out before the flowers come--normally in early to mid-June around here if my memory serves me correctly).
The Flowering Quince is still just sitting there--I know there's a lot of dead in it, so I don't know exactly where to look. Also, I'm rather disappointed to say, the Wigglia is mostly gone--I'd noticed a couple days ago looking out the window that it looked awful broke down and I hadn't remembered it looking that bad. Well, I found out why. The center section is laid over, dead and rotted at the roots!
In other news, the Daffodils are coming up (no blooms at all yet)...and there are wee patches of wild garlic here, there, and yonder. Even the day-lilies are poking up around the Lilac! Before I know it, the grass will need mowing. :D
Spring hasn't quite sprung, but we're getting close!