“So.. TonTon I cannot play with your ball from in here! Think about what you are doing! Mia stop that, stop jumping! Wait.” I said to the little man. “Mia, Get OUT of the chook house. I have got to fix this door. Stop that, this is a phone not a toy. Listen” I said to the little man, as Moaning Mia and I finally get through the chook house door with the eggs intact and the phone back to my ear. “I have called to ask you why my internet is so murderously slow. And you tell me I am garroted. Mia get down! Go find your kitty.”
“Throttled back Ma’am. Is Mia your Dog?”
“No” I told him “she is a very BAD SHEEP!” Mia is finally quiet. Sullenly chewing on my jacket pocket. “Now, please explain to me in tiny words why the little man on the internet bicycle is pedalling so bloody slowly. ” I sit down on a big rock in the field, in the afternoon winter sun.
“Oh.” The little man on the other end of the phone rallies. “Well ma’am you have used up all your gigabytes. So you get slowed right down. Throttled.”
“More like nibbles then aren’t they. (silence) Well what do I tell my people? I can’t tell them anything can I. I can’t read their pages, or download their pictures. AAH! (girlie scream.) Hairy don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“I’m sorry? Are you OK?”
“My ram, Hairy Maclairy. Just tiptoed up beside me and stuck his nose in my face. No manners. Hairy back up, you are making me nervous. But My readers, my people, they are waiting to hear about my bees! And I can’t even load an image. Or answer my comments. Or comment on their pages. I write a blog about my little farmy. ”
“You have bees?”
“What is the name of your blog?”
“The Kitchens Garden.”
“Cool. Well, the good news is that your next round starts on the 8th. That’s in two days. So I will go and check out your blog on Sunday then?”
” Well that is good news. Thank you. Ok I have to move, I am being mobbed. See you Sunday then.”
I am pleased. All is not lost. The little man on the internet bicycle sighs with relief and forgets to try and sell me a better package. He thanks me very much for my time, wishes me luck with the animals and goes back to putting the brakes on me for two more days.
And so to the bees.
Two of the hives including the Blog hive seem to be doing OK.In the warm weather they have been tolling their bells and bringing out their dead. A certain amount of attrition is normal. Bees do not have very long lives. You can see in the centre of this shot a healthy housekeeper bee dragging out one of the dead ones and dumping it over the side.
Except for this hive who had so many dead that both their entrances were blocked with bee bodies. I cleared them with a stick. Not good. This was always the weak hive. It is still heavy with honey so I can only assume that they broke ranks on those warm days and were not fast enough at cuddling back together when that flash of very cold weather hit us. For bees there is safety in numbers as they wait out the winter. Big numbers are best.
I have put protein patties into the tops of all the hives. But this is an instance when I do wish that the weather would stay cold (but not too cold) and constant.
When farming we have to take the good with the bad. Sometimes everything you do is not enough. Mother nature is a big part of the equation. So I will order a new Queen and possibly another brood of bees as well and in the spring we will strengthen this hive with some newcomers.