After watching a very exciting and satisfying  NCAA  basketball game (sorry, KU fans--go Rams!), I decided to walk out back and check on a few things, bees included.    Only 39 degrees for a high today, but they were still flying.  I walked over to the birdbath we had set out last week or so to see if there was any action, and found this:
I guess they were pretty thirsty.  You can zoom in on this photo if you'd like.  There were a few dead ones but most were being careful and not venturing in too far.  I did pull one pair out and hopefully they'll survive the chill.
This morning, I finished off melting some beeswax.  I took some of the cleaner, lighter comb from the frames I swapped out and ended up with a nice little cake of wax.  I used the method of boiling the comb with a good quantity of water for about half an hour, then set it out to cool.  I removed the wax once it hardened.  It is lighter than water, so it floats.  I broke it up and set it overnight on an old towel to dry, then put it in a double boiler made from a tin can (with the wax in it) set in an old pan with several inches of water.  I gently boiled the water, then poured the melted wax out a bit at a time into my mold (cottage cheese container), straining it through an old t-shirt.  The final product was a nice, clean hunk of wax I can use to help make some starter strips for some foundationless frames.  I plan to ultimately have all of the frames in the brood boxes foundationless.
The wax chunk, next to a loon decoy for size comparison

I also checked out the osprey.  We were more than a little concerned, since no sooner had they arrived last week than a crew went up on the tower to work and ended up being on the tower for 5 straight days.  The birds were not happy and circled around, and we did not see them at all the last day the workmen were here but they did show up the following day and have been there since.  Here one, the male, I think, is perched atop one of the uprights.  I think she is down on the nest.
Since I'm talking about birds, if you do enjoy raptors you might want to look at this.  North of where I live a couple hours, near the town of Decorah, Iowa, eagle lovers have been watching a live webcam of a bald eagle nest.  She is sitting on eggs, which are due to hatch within the week I believe, around April 1.  No foolin'.  Here is the link:  You do have to watch a short commercial before the live video kicks in.

While out back, I also checked on the vineyard.  We have about 35 grape vines and make wine and juice from those.  They are all trimmed and ready for my first dormant spraying, hopefully to be done this coming week.  Keep thinking spring.


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