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My first Fall hive check: 3 hours’ work these images barely sum up. And we’re not done: there are acres of asters still budding out, and they’ll gather while the temperature permits them to be active.

Some things I have learned, besides the obvious “How to Look After Bees” points:
– don’t “just stop to peek at the hives” in red check barn coat. Bees see red as black, and me as “bear!” Left eye swollen shut x 4 days.
– Really not allergic to bee stings, parents just over-reacted. Nice to learn after 50 years, glad I didn’t let it stop me.
– Smoker works on “campfire principle” – gets ┬áburning real good just when you close up the last hive/run out of marshmallows.
– Garden yields the last ten years had clearly suffered more from decline in pollinators, than I had any idea. The difference this year for squash, beans, chiles and tomatillos is four-fold.
– Walking the woods and fields has taken on a more personal dimension. Now every tiny golden blur in a patch of clover, a locust tree, a blackberry cane or a clump of asters and goldenrod, might be “one of my bees.”