winter beekeeping part II
“Like a bee one should extract from each of the virtues what is most profitable. In this way, by taking a small amount from all of them, one builds up from the practice of the virtues a great honeycomb overflowing with the soul-delighting honey of wisdom.”
(St. Gregory of Sinai – 14th Century)
Did you know that it takes nectar from about 2.6 million flowers to make one pound of honey? And that it takes one thousand bees to make one ounce of honey?
The bee, from her industry in the summer, eats honey all the winter.
It was mid-June when we brought the bees back to our yard. This was well after the peak nectar flow of April and May. With that in mind, we did a lot of feeding to get them prepared for winter. It was so late in the summer, there was no way they would be able store enough honey to survive the winter without a hand.
Now in the midst of the short winter days, this beekeeper is once again schooled in patience and faith. The days are too cold to check on the health of the colony and the cold temperatures of winter bring a hush over the hive. The normally bustling entrance is silent of all activity.
When you can’t bear it any longer you might take a chance and knock on the side of the hive, they will occasionally have mercy on you and send out a little sentinel to let you know that they are still alive and well. Save for a warm enough day when the bees can get out of the hive for a potty break, the hive appears dormant and lifeless.
But, life in the hive has not ceased – it’s merely less active to the visible – and hidden from the world.
to bee continued