The Walden Effect: Homesteading Year 5. Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

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Sun day

Melting snow

I reveled in the snow. I enjoyed walking through the untrammeled surface during the first couple of days, knowing that no one and nothing had set foot on that patch of earth except me since the snow fell. I loved watching the way tree shadows on the hillside made stark bands of black against the snow. And, later, I enjoyed seeing how the first episodes of melt changed the texture and color of the snow, how tiny bird and mammal tracks began to mar each surface until it was no longer a blank canvas but one marked upon by all the wild and not-so-wild inhabitants of our little farm.

But after about a week, I was ready for the snow to melt.

Snowy compost pile

Obediently, the sun came out and began carving the frozen water away. South-facing surfaces thawed first while everything closer to our north-facing hillside maintained a heavy coating of snow much longer.

Winter garden

The mule garden --- our sunniest patch --- was nearly snow-free by Saturday afternoon when I set out with the camera to take these photos. Our cooped chickens live in this same zone and had finally come out of their house for the first time in over a week that morning. But when I got to this point later in the day, I heard yet another sign of life...bees.

Snowy bee hives

Both hives were very busy, with workers flying in and out to release a month worth of poop onto the snow. I'm glad to see such active colonies in the middle of the winter and am seriously considering giving each hive a new box and a bit of sugar water in February to get them moving. It sure would be nice to get some homegrown honey this year....



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I keep bees, too. Right now would be a great time to make up a candy board and put that on your hives. The queens will begin laying now - and that means many many new mouths to feed in a few short weeks. I mix pollen substitute into my candy batch and they seem to thrive on it.
Comment by Tim Inman Sun Jan 31 09:44:41 2016