What’s Happening Now?
From the Queen’s Court
Spring is popping—catching some of us still scrambling to get everything prepared and organized for the bee season while others are already making splits, rearing queens and getting ready for migrations. It can be a surprise when we slowly peel our eyelids open from under the warmth of our fleece blankies and hear frogs croaking in the pond, skunks coming out of hibernation and birds a chatter building their nests. Up here, on our island in the sky at 8300’ elevation in the southern Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico, we already heard the frogs in the melting pond above the home apiary. Then, the next day, it snowed again. Poor froggies. No doubt they are equipped to handle such natural transgressions. And though it may appear that Mother Nature can be cruel at times, she can also be oh so nurturing. Her dynamic interface is giving birth to new life at this time of year. In anticipation, stewards are strategizing their seasonal management plans and goals. All we can do is navigate her dynamic interface—which can take us on a merry or frightening carpet ride through the warmer months. In our area of the country, March gets notoriously warm. Everyone gets excited—even the plants. The initial melt of the previous month gets everyone’s blood and pith warming. The trees start budding as the ground turns to mud. And then as the Rockies begin to melt, the cold air from their tippy tops comes cascading down to the valleys below. There’s the Rocky Mountain Blast—as I call it; that comes racing down the northern Rio Grande Gorge corridor. It brings below freezing temps that spill into the valley—jarring the tender buds. Never fails, the only thing we can count on in this area are late frosts. April always chills down again for us. And so, we are then brought back to the reality of the fragility of spring. If it can dupe the plants and us, it can surely dupe the bees, too. They get started rearing brood after winter solstice—albeit in little increments. With warming weather, they want to ascend to their crescendo of brooding in anticipation of spring bloom—by finishing up their winter stores. And then with the late frosts that damage initial bloom, they could easily run out of their reserves and not have what is needed to feed all the developing babies. Spring winds are indeed picking up…they’ll blow in like a lion and out like a lamb—as the age old adage states. I know I’m revving up for the intensity of the season’s start. And at the end—towards October, I’ll curl up in my fleece blanket again and go into cluster to review the season and concoct my plans for next year. The cycles of life- oh how they bring comfort and joy, and lots of work! We learn to blow with the breeze—like a petal or a leaf rolling end over end down the path. The bees learn to blow with the breeze—capturing wiffs of spring perfumes as the nectar begins to waft between orchards and meadows, back yards, medians, and farm fields. Blowin’ in the wind— as Bob Dylan shared—can carry the answer. It can also carry dust, pollen grains, and the scents of life from animals, people, and vehicles. I hope you enjoy the cover shot this month. We’ll be featuring various photos that readers send in—though I’ll admit with this month’s photo was posted by a good friend on the Santa Fe beekeepers listserve. I was so impressed with it’s clarity—and the eagerness of the bees to capture the first offerings of spring on the impending elm bloom, that I asked him if I could use it as a spring cover shot. Steve Wall is the photographing Master Beekeeper’s name. Info on him follows. This newsletter welcomes pictures throughout the year. If we select one of yours for publication—we’ll also run a profile of you and your connection to beekeeping to share with readers near and far. Did you know that Kelley newsletter now goes out to over 40,000 subscribers?! Guess I better dot my i’s and cross my t’s…and also, cross my fingers for a phenomenal bee season! Spring has sprung my friends— let’s enjoy the transition from dearth to birth. Paz y Alma Peace & Soul— Melanie