I don’t think it froze last night, but it might this night, so all the plants that were moved inside will stay inside till tomorrow.

It not being as cold and windy as predicted, I did a hive inspection at 11 am. Again there was very little activity outside the hive, but inside it was busy. I took out frame after frame in search of the queen, and found her on frame four. What a relief, because I was thinking I’d never find her in the melee of bee upon bee crawling over eachother. But as a result of that I couldn’t also discern the pattern of comb, comb filled with nectar (saw some of that), pollen (ditto) and… ah, eggs! YES, there were eggs. Eggs and a live queen: good news, the hive is on its way.

This was my first big inspection, during which I removed frames, turned them to inspect all sides, slid them back in, etc. It’s work that demands concentration and dexterity. At least once did I find myself holding a frame in such a clumsy manner that I couldn’t slide it in gently, or move my fingers. It didn’t ‘t help that my gloves are a tad too large, and neither did the fact that one bee somehow ventured up inside my trouser leg – I just shook it out, no harm done to the bee or myself.

So I could see, as I bungled along, how this will take some practice, but how beautiful the dance will be once I’ve done it a couple hundred times.

In celebration of finding the queen alive and well Amie and I went to the bookstore and gave ourselves a treat. She got a first reader version of Alice in Wonderland and I got Paul Stamets’ Mycelium Running. Just leafing through the book I got excited about the Winecap Stropheria sawdust spawn, which arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. I’m reconsidering where I’ll put the bed (wood chips), since I realized that where I wanted to put it at first is smack in the middle of the future chicken yard.

About the hoop house? I want to write a post with detailed instructions, pictures, etc., so it will take me a while to get that together. Maybe this evening, after pottery, if I have the energy. Check back tomorrow!