so after crossing fingers that the back hive would have time to build up sufficient numbers to make it through the winter (after having to rear a new queen late in the year), we ended up combining our two hives not so long ago.  on a very unseasonably warm late fall day Mike opened up the hive to see what was going on and saw just the tiniest cluster of bees, queen included, bundled in the middle of the box.  seeing as how it was just a matter of (not very much) time before they died out, he shook out the few dozen bees that remained, taking the honey from that hive and adding it to the other while snagging just a teeny taste for us.  I'd have loved to have made it through the full year with two healthy and populous hives, but these things are not always in our control.  starting with two hives this year was hugely helpful, and we hope to split the remaining hive in the spring so we again have two.  and just maybe, with the head start of having all those frames already drawn out and honey already stored and brood already in place, this year will be the year we get to really harvest some honey.  you know, more than two ounces.  we shall see.

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