Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter is on Its Way

The calendar says that the official beginning of winter is still about a month away, but it has certainly felt wintry here as of late! Much more like the middle of January, than November . . .

~ We awoke one morning to a temperature outdoors of 12 degrees and a 4 degree wind chill . . . brr! Rather chilly weather to be out breaking ice out of animal waterers, etc. :)

The trees are mostly bare now

~ I was temporarily back to bringing all of the rabbit water bottles inside to thaw twice a day (thankfully day-time highs back in the 30's and sunshine have brought an end to that for the time being!)

Inside the rabbitry

~ Monday morning of this week when Leah and I were headed out to spend the day helping Ashley, we drove through a snow shower . . . the first of the season! It was so pretty to see the first snow falling gently to the ground.

Yes, winter is indeed on its way!

In preparation for this upcoming season, I spent some time a few weeks ago winterizing our beehives. In our location, there isn't a great deal that needs to be done which is nice! All that I needed to do was to remove each of the sugar syrup feeders (which was a little interesting :) - this time of year the bees do not like having their hives disrupted!), replace all of the inner covers (a thin board that goes on the top of the hive boxes and has a narrow opening in the center which helps with ventilation, etc.), put dry sugar on top of the inner covers (which not only provides an emergency food source if the bees should need it, but also helps to absorb excess moisture in the hive), and then finally, reduce all of the entrances. 

Two of the hives

Now the hives are all set until spring! Though come mid-February or so when warm days start occurring again, from time to time, I'll likely start taking quick peeks occasionally to see how things are. It's nice to have a bit of a break from beekeeping now, though I'm already starting to anticipate spring and seeing if we will have been able to successfully overwinter all five hives. This is our third year to overwinter hives and the greatest number of hives we have tried overwintering before, so it will be interesting to see how it goes!


  1. The beehives have certainly been a great success as far as production, Sarah! I was wondering how many times you've been stung so far?:-)

    ~ Betsy

  2. I have never thought about bees in the Winter. I guess they are mainly dormant, resting. I can imagine they would not like you to remove the sugar feeders!
    Winter is a season of rest and rejuvenation, I think. It must be lovely to be a bear and just quietly hibernate!

  3. Hi Sarah,

    We certainly know what you mean about it feeling like winter already. Our high temps this week have only been in the mid-twenties.
    I've always been interested in bee keeping, however, now that we live on the Montana prairie where our January temperatures can drop to negative 30 without the wind chill, I don't know if bees would fair well through our bitterly cold winters.
    Everything looks lovely and it appears you all are ready for winter.

  4. Sarah, I'm so glad you keep blogging. I value everything you post, even if I don't comment every time. I'm sure you have hard times that don't appear on your blog - we all do. But you put the things you love on here, and it helps us love them too. There's a comfort in it. Thank you.

    (we're gearing up for summer here! After a lot of late spring storms, everything is green and abundant)

  5. They have been, Betsy! Something we are thankful for. As far as how many times I have been stung, probably around 20-30 times. Some were my own fault, though. :) Such as when mowing a little too close to the hives without protective gear on!

  6. Honeybees have rather different winter time habits, Elizabeth! They actually are somewhat active all winter, though as the temperature drops they cluster together tighter and tighter, and they keep the area where they are clustered around 90 degrees. As the outdoor temperature warms, their cluster will loosen and on days that get around 40-50 degrees, some bees will be coming in and out of the hive for cleansing flights and for cleaning out their hive. Throughout the winter, they’ll also slowly move up the hive, consuming their winter stores as they go . . . which is why I like to put dry sugar at the top of the hive in case they make it all the way up there!

    Winter is indeed . . . which is one reason why I like this season. Plus it is a wonderful time to work on indoor projects, too!

  7. It sounds like it has been even colder where you live than here, Mrs. B! I wasn’t quite ready for temperatures like this yet. :)

    Brr, it gets cold there in January! I’m not sure if bees would be able to withstand those temperatures or not. I know there are many beekeepers in colder climates, but they take other measures to protect their hives through the winter such as insulating them, wrapping them in black paper, etc. So there might be ways to get around your cold winters!

    We’re getting there! There are still a few things we need to do before winter officially arrives and before heavy snows might come. But we should be getting those things taken care of soon!

  8. Thank you for your sweet comment, Rena! It was a blessing to me to read!

    Yes, we do indeed have hard times that I don’t share here . . . though sometimes they might be mentioned or allude to. There is just so much good to share that that is what typically fills my posts. :)

    You are more than welcome for sharing . . . I am glad that this little glimpse into our lives can be a blessing to you!

    I have to say, summer and green sounds lovely right now! This is one of the first years where I haven’t really been looking forward to winter, but I am slowly beginning to anticipate the season . . . especially when looking at the many projects and handwork that I am hoping to do! Enjoy your beautiful summer!

  9. Sarah,

    I am happy that you do share a bit of the downside of life a little as I feel its important too.

    Like I have heard so many moms think they are the only going through terrible times with their kids and they aren't when they start sharing times they are coping and going through.
    And it helps moms to go know the bad times and the hard times and learning to be a parent, that all children are different.

    Like when we ask for prayers for things that go through our lives, good and bad and ups and downs, its important to share some of it.

    I remember a friend of my brothers saying his brother did bees one time and he actually froze his bees in the winter, don't know what kind they were and then he thawed them out come spring.

    Do your rabbits sit outside, how do they stay warm and not freeze? And your other animals.

    Do you ever think of building a barn for them too for winter but also safety.

    do you have a problem with wild life trying to get at your animals?

    I was happy that you shared you having to go into the hospital and all that went on and after too and how the Lord answers prayers.

    Also we all could pray for that time you went through.

    Have a very blessed weekend


  10. Thank you for your comment, Kathy, and for all that you shared!

    There are indeed times to share both the good and the not so good times. And as you shared, doing so brings the blessing of being able to ask for prayer . . . which leads to brothers and sisters in the Lord being able to pray and care for one another through those times.

    I don’t think I have ever heard of freezing bees in the winter! That sounds interesting.

    The rabbits actually handle the cold much better than the heat. They don’t seem to mind the cold at all! All of our animals do have shelters to go into to protect them from the cold winds, and they always stay nice and warm.

    We have had problems in the past with raccoons trying to get at the rabbits, but with our new cage hanging system, that isn’t a problem. Other than that, we haven’t had any difficulties!

    I am glad that sharing about that was a blessing to you, and likewise, I was so blessed and thankful for everyone’s prayers during that time!

    I hope that you have a blessed weekend as well!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)