We’re far enough north that “official” spring often doesn’t mean much. While the equinox may mean something to the chickens, ususally we’re still shin deep in snow for at least another few weeks. Not this year.

There’s still some snow, in deep spots where the blower piles it up, or in the shade, but early spring is upon us. I can start digging holes, maybe even transplant a few things. We have a lull, between now and when it’s safe to actually garden. I have plenty of projects to fill the lull.

There are raised beds to be built–some out of cedar and some of blocks. There still some dormant spraying to be done (damn winds, though.) It’s still too early to even start seeds indoors. As much as there’s laundry on the line and critters in the fields, a winter storm could still be lurking. Ask Denver.

But there is one bright light to the season so far. The bees. You may recall that we boxed them up and stored them in the barn through the worst of winter. Yesterday, it was time to pull them out and see how we did. At our recent Zoom bee meeting (aren’t we getting fancy) our members reported pretty disastrous winter survival ratings. Even seasoned beekeepers lost hives. It is my fervent belief that a mild winter may be even harder on the bees than a major blow. Cold doesn’t kill bees–moisture does, starvation does, and, I think, roller-caster ups and downs are hard.

So yesterday was the big day. I won’t keep you in suspense. All three hives survived. Within an hour of relocation to their regular digs, they were out and flying. We couldn’t be happier. The hives are light, though, an indication that they’ve eaten their way through their winter stores. Today we’ll feed them. There’s not much out there for forage this early–so they’ll get their honey back. It’s the least we could do.

Of course there’s the matter of ‘insurance.’ Anticipating disaster, I put in an order for bees. This will be the first time that our little apiary on the hill will be operating at full capacity. With possible splits…we may have more than we actually need. We’ve learned a lot and I think we can finally say that we are beekeepers.