Monday, January 16, 2012

A new beekeeping tool


It was a cold weekend 'round these parts.

S-s-s-u-u-s-s-u-p-e-p-e-r -c-c-o-l-d.

Once my teeth start to chatter, I lose all control. They just won't stop.

It dipped down to -18C Saturday night, that's zee-roh fahrenheit for you non-metric folk.

I was worried about my chickens. I had visions of finding one of them frozen to the perch the next morning. Could you imagine? I can not. I sent the Artist to let them out on Sunday morning.

As I awaited his return from the opening of the coop door, I gazed out over the pond and my thoughts stopped dead in their tracks. (no pun intended, for reals)

The BEES!!

I was worried. I was beside myself. I was stricken with despair.

Okay, not really but I was concerned. How are they doing, I wondered. This was the coldest temps we'd had thus far. Could they really be okay?


Enter my newest beekeeping accoutrement. The latest in a long list of beekeeping supplies. A gift the male twin received from a secret Santa gift exchange last month at school. Yep, that's it, a stethoscope. His secret Santa friend wants to be a trauma surgeon. It's possible he could be trying to recruit the male twin into the medical profession.

In the meantime, the super clever Artist suggested another use for this old fashioned heart moniter.

So I bundled up and headed for the hills, well, the little mound, way yon over the far side of that frozen lake we have out back, actually it's a pond, and got down to business.

I placed it on the right side of the hive, in the shade, and I heard....nothing.

I moved it up, along the side of the shallow super on top and I heard....still nothing.

Then I moved to the other side, the side in the sun.


And then I remembered why I didn't wrap the hive, because on super cold days like this, the cover will not let the warmth of the sun soak into the hive. This side felt deliciously warm. And when I placed the stethoscope up against it, the hills were alive with the sound of bees. Bees, glorious bees.

They are still alive.

Fellow beekeepers, if you're suffering from withdrawal of being able to hear the collective sound of your hive as you gently remove your outer cover, then this is for you.

Just remember, you heard it here first.

~Be well and warm friends!~




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22 comments:

Gail said...

What a brilliant idea!

Dad never wrapped his bees and no matter how cold, they did well.

Lynne said...

Such a delightful, precious, story . . .
I'm a telling you girl . . . you draw a wonderful picture with your words . . . keep buzzing . . .

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

That is genius! A dual purpose tool is a great thing on a farm.

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Glad the Bees survived!
Crazy weather here, 60 today (of course that's not metric LOL, and 32 or ZERO metric tomorrow!

Keep warm!

Windy Meadows Farm said...

A terrific idea...really clever! (And thanks for saving me from doing the math by giving the temp conversion!) At 11 degrees, I too worried about our chickens, checking on them and feeding them lots of warm mash. Glad to hear all is well...I'll be sure to share your new bee tool idea with our neighbors!

Allison said...

Nice! Our bees died before winter this year - it was our first year, and all the honey was gone also - sadness, Still, we're getting two new hives next year. It's great to read ideas from other bee keepers.

Michelle a.k.a. Farmchick said...

Nice to hear all is well!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Great post and wonderful new tool. Daddy has been keeping bees for more than 70 years and never wrapped the hives. He did place them in a protected from the wind spot where the hive could still get sunshine.

Lynnie said...

Yippee! That is a great idea you have there. So glad you were able to hear the buzzing. I know that feeling of relief when you do finally hear. We however live in sunny Florida on the Gulf Coast, but it does get cold here. Infrequently but it does. We have had only a couple of days below mid 20's. I think for us it is going to be a very mild winter.

Red Gate Farm said...

Happy to hear your bees (and chickens I assume) are managing the cold temps! Who would have thought that the stethoscope would have come in so handy!

We've had our share of arctic weather this week and snow for the last few days. Of course our temps have only gotten down to the low 20's (Fahrenheit of course), nothing to compare to your cold temps but certainly cold for us.

Stay warm,
~Chris

Jeanette said...

This is a great idea--I'm sort of on the over protective/worrying type over my bees. I wonder If I could get one on e-bay. . .?

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I know absolute nothing about bees, other then their stingers hurt, if you are the unlucky recipient of one..but they do make some of the best raw honey!!! Using a stehoscope to hear the noise they make, to make sure they're doing well, is a great idea. I'm glad your bees are healthy and moving ;) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

Joan said...

Hey! I'm passing on the 7x7 Link Award because I enjoy reading your blog! Link to the award here: http://jojo54.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/7-x-7-link-award/ Til later, Joan

Jenni said...

So glad to hear all is well...a creative use for the stethoscope! Thanks for your lovely story.
jenni

Lisa ~Suburban Retreat~ said...

Who'd a thunk it? You ARE a genius and I'm glad the bees are still buzzing and the chickens are still clucking. Ahhhhh, life on the farm, how divine!

Sophie - The Joy of Farming said...

This is such a great idea! Just the other day I was out pressing my ear against my hives - works fine but I'm sure not as well as a stethoscope! I was an EMT for years and I just know I have a stethoscope hanging about somewhere... Never would have thought to add it to my beekeeping supplies!

Gone Country said...

What a great idea! I'm glad the bees are doing OK during the winter months.

Abbi said...

How cool! We didn't try to overwinter our bees (as -18 isn't unusual for us) but sometime I would love to try. I will try to keep this tip in mind if I do.

Abbi said...

Sorry I skipped over the reference to Celsius and Fahrenheit. So I meant to say the -18 F is not unusual for us. 0 degrees F is normal at this time of year.

Rose said...

I would never have thought of this!!1 Glad it eased your concern.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

I keep one in the barn. Now I just need to find a bee hive. And I will hear what you hear :)
LYLAS!
xo, misha

Flat Creek Farm said...

oh my gosh! I'm so glad I took the time to back-track and catch up with you and your lovely posts. And now, a brilliant use for a stethoscope! I shall have to check on those bees... :) -Tammy