...a very good day. Temps were in the high 50s today with endless sunshine. I knew that I absolutely must spend the day outside, so I left home at 6:30 this morning to pick up a new colony of bees 50 miles away in Hackensack (Minnesota) to replace our former colony that didn't survive the winter... that part is sad. The owners of Mann Lake, the company where I purchase my bees, lost theirs as well. I brought a frame for them to examine for disease or pests, but none were found. There was honey still remaining in the comb, so starvation wasn't a cause. They said the bees demise was probably caused by the lengthy brutally cold temperatures over the winter. The bees cluster around the queen bee to keep her warm and they are such dedicated loyal workers that they won't even leave their job to get something to eat if it means she might get cold. Upon my return home, I made sugar water syrup to feed the bees which will sustain them until blossoms burst forth. I scraped last year's honeycomb frames in preparation for a fresh start.
This afternoon, I placed fresh straw in our hens nesting boxes and sprinkled a layer of wood shavings on the floor. I then moved on to my herb garden to trim dead stalks and rake leaves and pine needles to expose new spring shoots poking through the soil and fresh leaf growth taking inventory of bare patches to plan what I might add to the bed this growing season.
And.... I won a year of free Organic Valley products in the form of 52 coupons! I had gone to the Organic Valley web site to search for a recipe when I ran across the drawing, so I submitted my entry. Five winners were randomly drawn from all "Organic Rising" registered members. Organic Rising is a community of readers on the Organic Valley site. Organic Valley Family of Farms, which is based in La Farge, Wisconsin, is a cooperative of 1,326 farm families who supply the products sold under the Organic Valley brand which includes dairy (milk, half and half, cream, milk powders, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, and cheese), eggs, juice, Organic Prairie meat, and soymilk. The company generously offers a variety of coupons on their site as well as loads of information.
My empty Organic Valley milk cartons house the plants in my greenhouse that have outgrown their newspaper pots. They are the wildflower seeds from my January and February plantable calendar pages... all grown up and awaiting a permanent home in my garden at the first sign of warm soil and even warmer temps.