One of the Dominiques stayed out all night again Saturday, however this time we were fairly confident she’d turn up. Sunday morning there she was in her latest hideaway, safe and composed. We have been taking her eggs from the rock pile, but yesterday we left it for her; by dark she was sitting on her nest again.
We didn’t want new chicks this year, but it seems that nature might take over—our hen seems determined to try to hatch some eggs. She is only sitting on one or two of her own, so Cherisse stuck four others under her today…she won’t recognize them as not being hers, and the chicks (if they hatch) will be hybrids anyway, since our only rooster is the giant Featherfoot.
Yesterday we opened up the bee hives for the first time since last fall. It was a warm day, and we’d seen many of the bees out collecting pollen and perhaps the first nectar—some of their favorite bushes have a scattering of open flowers, and they seem to find each one. We didn’t know what to expect: how many bees survived the winter? Enough to restore their hive? Were the queens still producing? We were pretty sure they had enough food because for a couple months now we’ve given them sugar water. Still, we were relieved to find them making honey, and more importantly, brood. The newer hive had a substantial amount of brood and the brood pattern was dense and surrounded by honey, exactly as it should be. The older hive has a two-year queen which we should have replaced last year. We didn’t get around to it—in small part because we will have to kill the old queen. (We might not be ruthless enough for beekeeping…or raising chickens…or even gardening, since we still hesitate to pull out plants we don’t want.) Luck has been on our side though. The old queen was still there, making new bees.