Spring Is Upon Us, Are You Ready?
March is the time to make maple syrup and finish
your plans on what you will do to make a good honey crop this
year. I am writing this on Valentine’s Day and the sun is
shinning and the temperature is in the mid 40’s outside.
Just three weeks ago it was blustery cold and snow on the ground.
It warmed up the last of January and the first of February and
all of the snow melted and bees were flying from all sixteen of
my over wintered hives on January 28th. The ground hog could have
seen his shadow and according to folklore if he did and went back
into his burrow we would have six more weeks of winter. If he
didn’t see his shadow and didn’t go back into his
burrow we still have six more weeks of winter according to the
almanac. Well, I am going to tell you that for all practical reasons
the cold hard part of winter is over as of February 14th. I was
washing dirt off of part of my driveway this morning shortly after
8 AM and I heard my first bird of this spring singing it’s
glad little song. I have observed over the years that winter is
not over until you hear the birds sing in the spring. Note this
doesn’t mean after March 21 as the first day of spring,
I mean in late winter when the birds start to sing. I also saw
a centipede as I moved a piece of cardboard it had been hiding
under. I wouldn’t be surprised to turn a rock or board over
and find an earthworm. Now I have given you several reasons why
I believe spring is upon us.
While you are reading this, the Maples will either
be in bloom or through blooming depending on what part of the
state you live. The willows will also have bloomed or be ready
to bloom. The crocuses won’t be far behind and the bees
will work crocuses. In less than a month dandelions will be in
bloom. The first you will find will be on the south side of a
building when the soil will warm faster with the reflected heat
off of the building. Then they will seem to appear everywhere.
Such a beautiful sight in the spring is a golden yellow field
of dandelions in full bloom. This is one of the earliest blooming
plants that produce a good surplus of nectar and fresh pollen
for the bees to use to make a strong increase for the beekeeper.
Elmer Yadoff, a retired beekeeper in eastern Iowa told me over
10 years ago that he normally would make a super of honey per
hive on the spring dandelion flow while other beekeepers were
using it as spring build up. Elmer told me his secret and it was
to feed his hives about two gallons of fructose in the middle
of March so that his hives had enough bees to harvest the nectar
from the dandelions. This was when honey was only 50 cents a pound
wholesale. If you want to see if it will work for you try a couple
of hives this year and check the results. Oh, you say dandelion
honey isn’t good table honey. Well, have you ever heard
of bakery honey? Bakeries use a lot of honey and it doesn’t
have to be nice and light colored as once it goes into the batter
who is going to look at the color of the honey?
Do you still have equipment that needs repair?
Do you have equipment that is taking up room in your honey house
that has been there and not used for the past several years? Why
are you hanging on to this surplus equipment? Drag it out and
if it needs a coat of paint, slap some paint on it and bring it
to the Central Iowa Beekeepers Auction in April. You will have
done yourself and another beekeeper a favor. You will have cleaned
out your honey house and you will have made some equipment available
to a beekeeper that needed more equipment to expand. Equipment
sitting will deteriorate almost as fast or faster than equipment
in use on bees. I need to do this as I have more equipment than
I will probably use in the next twenty years. So, I guess I should
take some of my own advice and get started with the paint brush.
This has been one of the busiest winters that
I have had in some time. It just seems like I can’t get
half of the things done that I need to do and a lot less of the
things that I want to do. I still have a long list of goals to
try to accomplish some day. New things to try and new things to
learn. I have dreams, hopes and challenges of things to come.
I hope you all have not accomplished everything you had planned
or hope to accomplish in your lifetime. Once you have achieved
all of your goals in life, what is left for you to live to achieve?
Set a new goal, go climb a mountain and look at the view. There
are still things to see and places to go and mountains to climb.
May tomorrow look brighter than today and the sunshine brightly
upon your doorstep.
Ramblings by The Old Man