Friday, 17 November 2017


Winter is upon us and I believe I'm ready for it.

My basement's propane furnace is serviced and I've changed my car's tires to winter ones. Garden hoses have been drained and put away and my deck chairs are under cover. For my driveway I've stocked up with bags of anti-skid sand/salt mixture. I've switched to winter clothing. My cat friend, Ellie Mae, has resigned herself to spend the cold nights indoors. At bedtime she sleeps on my pillow, just above my head. Sometimes it feels like I'm wearing a fur hat. Domestic bliss!

My two honey bee hives have also been prepped for winter and I'll continue to make frequent checks on them to make sure their bottom boards are open and clear. At their entrances I use the cardboard insert from a paper towel roll as a stethoscope to listen for life affirming buzzing. I'm a bit worried about the larger hive as there seems to be a larger die-off than usual. There is nothing more I can do now but wait and hope.

My honey bee hives look like badly wrapped Christmas presents.

Our exceptionally rainy summer has lowered honey production. Many days were too wet for the bees to fly and gather nectar so they were forced to stay in their hives and eat their stores. I've heard that commercial bee keepers in Ontario reported a 50% drop in honey production. I experienced about the same.

I did manage to harvest enough honey for myself, family and friends. Beside using the honey for a toast spread and for cooking, I like to make a honey/lime drink. Dissolve three tablespoons of honey in a cup of hot water. Let cool. Add three tablespoons of lime cordial and a cup of cold water. Ice cubes make a jolly 'clink' factor. Instead of the cordial, freshly squeezed limes and slices for garnish is even better.

Party in a glass!

There are always mice seeking winter shelter in my basement. And I offer hospitality by providing sunflower seeds for them -- hot-glued to the bait pans of mouse traps. Each morning I check the traps and if there are casualties, the bodies are recycled by bluejays.

In rigor mortis, a mouse's leg seems to try to fend off a blue jay.

The jay makes a test bite on the mouse's nose.

Satisfied there will be no resistance, the jay takes off with it's prize.

I have five feeders that are open to all birds and two feeders that are encircled with mesh to exclude large birds.

A chickadee nabs a peanut from a bluejay-proofed feeder.

A one and a half inch opening is large enough for a goldfinch.

Eyes fixed on the ground, a red-tailed Hawk scans for game.

Perhaps this Cotton-tail rabbit feels safer by grazing close to my house.


  1. Your wild life is wonderful, and even in death there is a purpose. Hives readied for winter, there is always a job to do in readiness for either hot or cold. Our sun umbrella needs some TLC, the outdoor table has been sanded and painted, the chairs need some input from me to do the difficult hand sanding. And although it is almost the end of spring, I can see some golden leaves on the lawn. Keep warm, and let that spectacular fur collar keep you warm at night.!!!

  2. You are so good Florence to have everything prepped for the colder season upon us. We were lucky to find a local guy to change out our tires this Friday...that is my main worry. My Shih Tzus loved to sleep on our heads too; I loved it. Sadly can't have these big guys doing that!
    I enjoyed reading how you have your bees looked after...good luck with them. I bet your honey is lovely. Hubby could not bear to kill the mice at our old location so we had a catch and release device which seemed to work ok. I have seen some mouse signs in the garage and in the glove compartment of my car. I've put dryer sheets in there which I read will repel tham. None in the house so far...fingers crossed. Stay warm, my friend.

  3. Hi Florence, you have been busy! We have been doing similar things too getting ready for winter.
    I didn’t realize blue jays ate mice! Better then them going in the garbage.
    Your bird and bunny photos are wonderful.
    Have a good day!


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