Thursday, September 2, 2010

You Can't Rush Mother Nature

This summer was rough for us in Virginia. Not only did temperatures reach and stay in the 100s for days and days, but we also suffered from a complete lack of rain for around six weeks. The ground was like a rock. Several tomato plants shriveled and died. The yard looked like it had been torched—leaving nothing but sharp bits of dead grass that cut bare feet.

Meanwhile, I couldn't stop thinking about our honeybees; I was low on honey as were a lot of my friends. I wanted the golden goo. Against all common sense and Andrew's concerns, I decided that mid-August would be a great time to do a little harvest, so we donned our suits, lit the smoker, and headed in. In spite of the drought, the bees had been busy. Sort of. Okay, not really. We took from them 11 frames of capped honey. I don't know what I was thinking. Even though the signs of drought and the stress of extreme heat were all around me, I thought there would be buckets of honey. Duh. If nothing is blooming, the bees just hang. It didn't hurt the bees that we took the honey (although every disturbance slows production), it just caused us lot of extra work. Lesson learned.

Since then we've had some rain. The fields around us are filled with cotton and soybeans. The bees are back in business. In a few weeks (during our normal harvest time) we will attempt to harvest again. I'm certain the stores will be full and we'll be back in the goo.

Here are the honey helpers spinning the small August harvest.

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