We woke up to snow this morning.

Not uncommon in Glacier County, in June or anytime, but not exactly a happy event, either.  The maxim that “every drop of moisture will be a drop of honey” does eventually reach its saturation point, shall we say.

Cool, chilly weather will keep the bees in their hives, and while they’re lounging about on their beeswax sofas, watching The Bee Movie, they’ll be doing what most couch surfing Americans do: eating!  Eating honey!  And this time of year, their honey reserves are low.

So Honeydew and I spent most of yesterday preparing to do what we really hate to do: feed the bees.  It’s time consuming, it’s expensive, and the sugar syrup we give them will keep them alive but is not optimum nutrition, in our opinion.  But if the bees are going to live long enough to make honey — for them and for us — a little sugar syrup snack is a necessity at times like these.

Here’s how we feed them:

First, we pull the two 1 ton trucks fairly close together in the Warehome lot.  The Dodge is loaded with empty feeder buckets and a huge tank of fresh sugar syrup.  The Chevy is empty and waits to be loaded with filled feeder buckets and lids.

Maggie and Bingo, the newest dog around here, supervise.

The syrup tank has a fairly lengthy hose that Honeydew uses to fill the syrup buckets.  As he fills, I follow along behind with the lids and a rubber mallet that I use to pound the lids shut.

Luckily, Maggie finds my hammering and swinging the full buckets on to the Chevy, in stacks three buckets high, very amusing.

Every now and again, I get up on the truck and push the stacks to the far edge, packing as many as possible on.

Once we’ve got the feeder buckets on, we load the hive lids that the buckets will be inverted on.  There is a small, suctioned opening in the top of each bucket lid, and the effect is that the sugar syrup drip-drip-drips down into the hive of bees.  Being the fastidious critters that they are, even when they’re tired and hungry bees will clean up the mess.  And while they’re cleaning, they’re ingesting the syrup that will tide them over until sunshine and nectar flow.  Which we hope is returning tomorrow!

Loaded with feeder buckets and lids and ready to go out.  Hang in there girls, summer’s coming!

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