Was up at the old ranching homestead in Montana for a week. The bees now have two hives inside the walls of the house. One opens under the eave of the porch and is in the wall of the first floor guest bedroom- just where it was last time, back in the late 1990’s. By tapping the inside walls at about 5′ high I can tell it is about a 3 foot tall by 16″ wide honeycomb. An easier way to spot it is just noting that all the wallpaper in that area has peeled back. Who knows how much longer til they are inside the house.
Up high on the second story at the back of the house is another hive. The entrance spans about six vertical feet of corner where woodpeckers had opened multiple holes down the corner of the house. I didn’t go upstairs to see if they are inside the house or not, but since there are holes in the old ceiling up there, it is a good possiblity.
The bees are doing so well that a new colony emerged from the house, and made a temporary nest up in one of the willow trees in the yard while they scouted for a new site for their hive. If the house is getting too crowded with other hives, I’m sure they can find space in the tool shed, the barn, or any of the other out-buildings- but my money is on the house. Maybe in the chimney, since it doesn’t get use any more.
E & I brought the bikes and cycled along Belt Creek from Monarch up to the old mining town of Neihart for a cool drink at the little local “inconvenience store” as the sign proclaims, then a few miles further to see the waterfalls on the advise of a friendly white-bearded local, but our road shoes turned us back from the rocky 1/2 mile trail. Next time we’ll take tennis shoes along and see the falls.
It was a cold wet spring up there, and has been dry and heating up for the past six weeks- so the hay is short, and the grasses are parching out, but all the springs are running strong. E & I trimmed up the hedge on a cloudy morning, I triaged the broken gate (again), and mowed the dried up lawn & weeds after we both took turns trundling off cartfulls of horse-apples (the horses were the lawn-mowers earlier in the spring and last summer as well).
The land pushes hard on such an old place when no-one lives there.