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  • This morning, no need to report to work, thanks to the Presidents of our time. Third day in a row of pure sky blue and sun! Won't be up in the mid 60s as it was the last two, but glorious never the less.

    Yesterday, was particularly delicious. Started the morning with tea and banana pancakes. Then a nice longer than usual walk (more like jog) with Milo, who seemed to appreciate, as I, the energy of the sun and warm air. I spent some time retraining him as he has seemed to have forgotten what heel is all about. But he thought it was a play session and at least today, I could not be a very good trainer, as I was torn by the joy I felt in seeing him frolic ( it was not so long ago when he did not know what it was to play--another story) laughed, gave in to his antics, joined in and played.

    We returned, giving me enough time to leave and get to a bee-ginners class on beekeeping that I signed up for a few weeks ago. Been interested in doing so ever since the honey bees disappeared from my yard, maybe 5-6 years ago, I really do not remember, but a long time has passed. Last summer was the first I saw maybe 3-5 honey bees every now and again among the many bumble bees, once again triggering my interest. That, and the discovery that Mann Lake, a huge bee and supplier of equipment,etc. company is only 20 minutes away. The instructor, a manager of Mann Lake, had nearly 20 years of experience, was down to earth--easy to understand, and seemed to make a conscious effort to not lead the participants into buying unnecessary supplies, or to buy from the Mann Lake store ( great marketing strategy). In fact he mentioned several other places we could order from. Of course, who wouldn't buy from their own backyard? And from what others say, the technical assistance is always available if needed.

    I found the 2 1/2 hour session to be very confidence building for this aspiring apiarist, though not 100% there, yet. My concerns in beginning this new hobby, is the fact that longtime beekeepers have had such a difficult time, losing most of their hives over winter. Would it be worth my investment--$$ (tax refund on its way, but, tight budget in the future) & time (will have lots of time in future --isn't that what I am looking forward to--hobby time)? Will I be able to lift the supers when needed ( probably can do so now with 8 frame, 6 5/8 but I am no spring chicken, two sons close by, one very interested)?

    After getting home, read a little cowbird, while I munched a late lunch. Received some bad news, but will handle it with grace, not going to get me down, not on such a beautiful day, nope not today. Finally, outdoors to savor the last few hours of the sun's company and warmth. I began by cleaning up some perennials whose wilted bodies covered the new emerging growth--green with life. The song birds have returned over the last few weeks, there songs reminding me I need check the feeders.

    As I approached a half filled feeder, I heard the unmistakable sound--buzzzzzzzzzzz- but there are no flowers, no blossoms and I could not see any bumble bees that are usually responsible for the hum in my yard. Then, there, right where I was headed--a small gathering of HONEY BEES!!!!! around the birdfeeder. 20 maybe 30--more than I have seen in years, right here, in the middle of February, in the middle of winter, in the middle of my yard--honey bees. Yes, ma'm you've got bees, bees, oh I've got BEES, right here in Dorrance Township--with a capital B, that rhymes with me, that stands for.......hmmmmm.

    Unable to contain my joy, I sat down on a convenient bench, right next to the feeder, less than two feet away. I watched closely, mesmerized by their activity. These guys were hungry, the temp well above what they need to fly. I wondered where their hive was. They would get their fill of "seed dust" fly off and return, the hum was out, they kept coming for the 45 minutes or so as I watched. It was a sight that I was never fortunate to come upon before, if indeed it happened. While I was enjoying this activity, the chickadees in the nearby rhododendron were not so enthralled--with them nor my close presence--though one did come upon the feeder, but quickly left.

    For a while, I visualized what having my own hives would be on a sunny warm day, seeing them work, serving their queen, seeing the combs fill, seeing the honey drip, seeing bees thrive. I meditated on that a while and all was good. But getting back to the vision in front of me, I was amazed that in a short time, the bees managed to push much of the seed to the ground. Some managed to crawl through the seed and up into the feeder, becoming trapped. Before leaving, I rescued them sending them on their way, but one was struggling, covered with seed dust. I gently removed her, and brought her inside, spritzed her with water, blotted her off with a tissue, ever so lightly, and took her back to the sun, now quickly setting, it took a few minutes, but she did fly away. I filled the feeder, and the chickadees rejoiced. I returned to my tasks at hand as the sun set taking the warmth with it.

    Back indoors, I sat at the computer and ordered two nucs. I thanked nature for guiding me, as always with her signs. Yes, I got bees, right here in Dorrance Township, with a capital B, that rhymes with me, that stands for beekeeper.
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