February 20, 2017

Bad News for Bees

 February 19th was a glorious day to get out and engage in some low-level outdoor recreation. It reached about 50 degrees F with sun and no breeze. There was about 2 feet of snow on the ground from the storm a the start of the week, but the roads were clear.  So we could get where we wanted to go and enjoy the paradox of warm winter weather.

We chose to check the bees as our family activity. From a bee-keeping class long ago I remember the rule, "Give the bees something sweet for valentines day" - which is a reminder that on some warm day in February you should check how the colonies are doing and pour sugar on the top of the inner cover in case they are running low on their stored winter honey.

Colony C, The last survivors

... The good news is that not all of the colonies had died... The bad news is there is only one surviving hive remaining. Yep. 

At honey harvest time we had 17 colonies. When we winerized the hives in November we were down to 10. This is an unusual amount of mortality, but five of the colonies were at a new location that we think was a bad place to locate the hives. Looking back at our records, there was a warm day in early January and all was well when we checked then (say, January 2nd). Now we are down to one hive, which is very depressing. 

Reasons bees die in the winter. Things to ponder:
  • Too cold and they freeze to death 
  • Too cold and they cannot move to new food so they starve to death 
  • Bees eat all the food in the hive and starve to death 
  • Moisture in the hive kills the bees
  • Bees weakened before winer by varoa mites and die 
  • Colony too small to make a good bee-ball during winter 
  • Queen dies somehow and rest of colony follows
  • Nosema (dysentery) causes bees to poop everywhere and die
  • Blocked entrance from inside
  • Blocked entrance from outside
  • Mouse infestation 
  • Strong winds create temperature fluctuation
  • Other diseases 

April 8, 2015

Alden's Suzuki Concert

Alden did an amazing job at his Suzuki concert in the end of March. Last year at this time he hadn't yet learned twinkle. This year, he's at the very end of book 1! We are so proud of all the hard work he's put into the violin this year and are amazed at his progress.

Alden is hard to see in this video because the lighting wasn't good on the seats, but he's the little one at the far left, in the second row. The younger students not yet playing this song were dancers who performed a somewhat bastardized Minuet dance. I cut to them during the minor part, since Alden doesn't play that part yet.

The concert was more playful than most benefit concerts. There were some jazzy and folksy re-interpretations of Bach, and a downright silly piece featuring a viola for 4 hands, which I'll try to upload later. A former Suzuki student even performed a Cirque du Soleil-like chicken dance during the fiddler's routine. The dance starts at 1:33:
This is a long way from the days of Mrs. Wear!

August 29, 2014

August 25, 2014

August 24, 2014

August 9, 2014

Summer School Graduation/ Pickles and Doughnuts

The end of summer school for Alden was celebrated with water mellon at the childcare and then we went to the new Gardiner doughnut shop Frosties. 

Also, the fall harvest is underway and I have been pickling summer squash! It is a bread and butter pickle style brine and both the taste and texture are terrific. I also pickled cucumbers the flavor was good but the texture was too soft.   

July 20, 2014

Kay Visit and Beach Visit

Aunt Kay and Cousin Sarah came to visit and we went for a trip to the beach.

Elliott and Alden loved the sand and water and sand/water muck that pools when the tide goes out. It was a little windy (as typical for Maine beaches) so I lent Alden my shirt.

After the beach we went back to the house for a delicious meal. 

July 15, 2014

Chores and Wheeles

I had the boys today and got to do shopping and yardwork. Good teambuilding!

April 23, 2014


So this post is being put up a little late.... so passover is more of a memory now. We had a great time and it was nice to connect with the family (and be hosted by Kay)... It was particularly nice to have Alden play music with uncle Aaron

April 22, 2014

Toad and Turtle Collection

Passover time and we are building family memories around catching frogs and turtles in the pond. 
I cam a bit late to this party. By the time I arrived both Alden and Levin were hip-deep on the mucky water trying to capture critters. Ben and Aaron were a big help.
Several frogs were captured as well as a baby turtle. Many other frogs and turtles escaped the clutches of the collectors.
It was at least a two hours before we had to leave, despite the protests of the boys.