Spring is Springing

The snow is finally gone and as usual, Berkshire weather is strange. Just four days ago, on saturday April 23rd, I had to drive up the Mohawk Trail in the morning. We were getting freezing rain and the road was covered that and a few inches of slippery slush. The going was really slow, as no plows or sand trucks were out. In the afternoon, Tom Stefanik, David Lachman, and I were scheduled to talk at Wild Oats Food Co-op for their Earth Day celebration. It was supposed to be outdoors but had to be moved inside. The next few days, someone turned up the thermostat and we were suddenly thrust into July weather. It was nearly 80 degrees, we’ve had 2 thunderstorms in the last two days, and it isn’t even the 1st of may yet.

I’m getting some nucs and at the last minute I also ordered 2 packages. The strange thing is, the packages are produced at Wilbanks down in Georgia, and due to their weather, they’ve had three delays. The May 7th date has now become May 27th.  Most of the nucs are coming from Mike Palmer, who is way up in St Albans Vermont, not far from the Canadian Border, and his bees are on schedule for the first week of May.

The pussy willows in the back yard are starting to leaf out a little and the pollen on the catkins is pretty much gone by.  The dandelion leaves are growing fast (it’s salad time) and when the flowers appear, it will be time to reverse hive bodies.

you can still see some pollen on this pussy willow catkin

 

It’s mating time for the birds and I’ve been listening to the cardinals, chickadees, and goldfinches. The other day I saw male pigeons strutting their stuff in a parking lot downtown, opening their tail feathers and puffing out their chests, and walking in circles. One would approach the female, they would touch beaks and bob their heads up and down.

Today I noticed the leaves on our dwarf apple trees are popping out, and down the street some of the flowers on the weeping cherry tree are open, although there are no bees on them yet. Last year it rained the whole time they were open, but they usually provide some good photo-ops and I’m hoping to try out the used digital camera I recently bought.  My film camera is also loaded and ready to go. 

The peach tree, a nectarine tree, and four more blueberry bushes we planted last year came out of the winter looking strong and healthy other than one branch on a blueberry bush that broke.

these are some of the tomato seedlings now growing in 3 inch pots after starting in small flats

The tomato and pepper plants that we started are looking good, the basil and lettuce is up, and today I started some cucumbers, pie pumpkins, brussel sprouts, and cabbage seeds, and planted some spinach outside.

I also saw my first bumblebee queen flying low to the ground in search of a good nesting site today.  And so the cycle of life starts again.

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About Beekeeping in the Berkshires

Here at Berkshire Farms Apiary we've been keeping bees and making honey since 2005, with hives in most of the surrounding towns. We also make pure beeswax candles, lip balm, and hand salve, as well as give presentations. As secretary of the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association, I am very active in the local beekeeping community.
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