Thursday, January 22, 2015

January Thaw = MUD

This will be a fairly brief post because I have had little opportunity to take photos.  For the most part the weather continues to be grey and dreary, except for Sunday which is when I got a couple photos of Sam's progress on the sugar shack.   Maple season will be upon us before too long and he is  working to get this finished so we can sit inside while we feed the evaporator.   

The fire in the evaporator will keep the shack nice and warm and dry.  There will be a large roof vent to allow the steam to escape.

We have had a thaw this week, which means lots and lots of mud, which is why the camera has stayed inside even when I do go out and walk dogs.  The dogs have had to be hosed down in the bath tub on several occasions, which they hate.  But they just get SO muddy!

The bad news is that because it warmed up I decided I really needed to check my bee hive.  When it is cold, you can check the status to a certain extent by putting your ear up against the hive and thumping on it.  This should result in an angry buzzing from inside.  The last few times I had done this, I heard no buzzing so I was not surprised to find no bees at home.  What happened?  I have no idea.  There was a layer of dead bees on the bottom of the hive, but not a hive's worth of dead bees.  There was little to no sign of any brood (larva, eggs, etc) and there were many many frames of capped honey.  In fact, I have extracted 3 gallons of honey so far and still have a few frames to go.  So, they did not freeze and they did not starve.  I don't think bees abandon a hive full of honey.  My best guess is that something happened to the queen a few weeks back and the rest of the hive just died out with no bees to replace them.  So I am struggling with whether or not to try again.  If I am going to do so, I need to order some bees somewhere soon.

Otherwise, things are pretty status quo here.  Grover and I are back at agility class but have been unable to practice here at home.  We have a trial coming up the first weekend in February, which is a little over 2 weeks away.  Grover is doing 12 weave poles in class pretty well, but he will still be doing 6 in trials until he gets his novice titles and moves up.  It may take a while.

I just took 2 rugs off my big loom here at the office.  I love how they came out.  The white one is 45 inches long and the brown is 41 inches, exclusive of the binding.  

Here's more detail on the white one.

I am still knitting away on the sweater I ripped out earlier this month and re-started.  I am almost done with the second sleeve and then I need to do the hood and the button band.  I hope to have it done before I go to visit my brother's family in Phoenix in mid-February.  Not that I will need an alpaca/wool sweater there.  Or maybe I will at night.

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