We started the week out with some of the coldest temperatures of the season and a few days of hard frosts. Although the frost makes everything look really magical, with the magic comes work – de-icing troughs, hauling water, dragging hoses, and making sure everyone has what they need to stay warm and safe. Usually we don’t really mind these chores, but Doug and I have both been sick as dogs since right after Christmas, and I am here to tell you that animal chores are not fun when you are sick. Especially cold weather animal chores. But, the animals depend on us for everything, so we truly cannot take a day off when it comes to them. Plus, no matter how sick we feel, seeing the chickens running around happily and giving the goats and Maya a few pets always makes us feel at least a little bit of joy.
Midway through the week I got a little burst of energy, and I decided to finally put away the honey frames that we extracted a few weeks ago. Normally we would have put the frames into the deep freezer right away, but since it’s deer season and since Doug also harvested two wild hogs in Florida, both of our deep freezers were completely full even after our best re-arranging attempts. We ended up purchasing a third deep freezer and we finally got around to separating all of the meat and the frames into their respective freezers right before the holiday. Since we didn’t have freezer space at the time of our honey extraction, we put the frames in an empty super on a table in our dining room and covered it up. Well, when I went to go put the frames into the deep freezer the other day, I discovered that wax moth larvae had already started to destroy a small part of the beeswax on some of the frames. Seriously?! The fact that the frames were secure inside our house and the wax moth larvae still somehow found them is simultaneously creepy, disgusting, and so aggravating. Literally nothing is safe from beekeeping pests!
I spent the next 30 minutes in the garage muttering curse words under my breath as I removed the ruined portions of beeswax from the frames. During that process, I suddenly heard a familiar sound and looked up to see a little honey bee buzzing around the frames. I just shook my head and laughed because you can’t make this stuff up. The good news is that there is clearly a colony of honeybees close enough for the foragers to smell the remnants of the honey frames in our garage to come scope the scene. Maybe the colony is the one that absconded from our apiary back in the fall. Who knows. Wherever the colony is, we hope that they make it through the rest of the winter and that we will see them around our garden in the spring before we get our new packages of bees. A few takeaways here: even if all of your bees leave you and/or die, you can still be tormented by beekeeping pests. Second takeaway: if you extract honey, give your frames back to the bees or put them in safekeeping right away. Don’t be like us.
The week marched on and as luck would have it, our outdoor cat Flower came home with a swollen face and some puncture wounds on her neck. Since Doug and I were both in quarantine, we had no way to take her to the vet to get antibiotics. How convenient. We are lucky enough to have my parents close by, and they are the most selfless people on earth. They love all of our animals so much and treat the animals like their own, so of course we called my mom and she offered to take Flower to the vet for us. We did a contact-less transfer where I brought Flower out to the porch in a carrier and my mom picked her up without having to be potentially exposed to me or Doug. What a strange world we are living in. Mom took Flower to the vet where she received antibiotics and was sent home with some kitty ibuprofen. It’s always something. Flower is now recovering in our laundry room with a comfy laundry basket to sleep in, a window to look out, and an abundance of cat treats. Needless to say she doesn’t seem to mind being in the house for a few days, especially during this rainy weather that we are having.
At the end of this long strange week, we spent New Year’s Eve on the couch eating take out with Hailey and the cats. But before we made it to the couch, as we were trudging in from doing the night time rounds in the dismal pouring down rain, Doug and I both chuckled to each other and agreed that our sickly New Year’s Eve was pretty indicative of how the year has gone. We have never been big resolutionists around here, but we are definitely looking forward to being on the mend and getting back to our usual winter maintenance activities. Seed starting season will be here in a month and a half – I can barely believe it – and we’ve got some work to do before then. We hope everyone had a great holiday and New Year’s Eve! Here’s to starting 2021 off healthier than the end of 2020!