It's been a very unusual winter. Usually, the Seattle area average is 14 inches of snowfall a year. And that's just an average... We really rarely see that.

This year, we are close to 30 inches total for this area. every time the weather man says we are just about done with the snow, we get hammered again. Yesterday we had nearly 4 inches. The day before, nearly 3 inches. And both days, a dusting was predicted.

It's been beautiful, and it's been interesting, and it's been fun. But I'm tired of it. Bring on Spring!

Yay! After an unusually cold and snowy winter, I am able to finally start gardening! Here are some of my early starts. I did have some out in the greenhouse, but then it got very cold and very snowy for a very long time. They did not survive. But the ones inside on heating mats are still doing great!

It's still early but I have one set up now and another will be by this weekend.

Added foam panels insulation around beehive, keeping Vivaldi board ventilation open at the top. Have been noticing very little activity at the hive, which has been a bit concerning. Nights are getting cold and the hive is in shade most of the day now ... did see about ten bees flying about the opening yesterday during a short sunny period.

I am not sure what I love the most about my Quince tree.. that it is loaded with brilliant fruit well into Fall, or the wonderful pineapple-like smell of the fruit! This tree is nine years old and never disappoints!

Just wish I knew how to better use the fruit. I made Quince jam once but it didn't rock my world... I do have a friend who makes Quince vinegar, I think. I am sure she will love this bounty.

Meanwhile, I love them for their color and smell!

With winter coming, it's time to make bee fondant (sugar candy) for the bees to consume while over-wintering. I found a couple of recipes on the Internet and combined them to come up with this one. I poured the mixture into plastic sandwich lunch containers lined with foil. This recipe was enough to fill two such containers to the top. You will need a good candy thermometer:

8 cups sugar
16 oz water
1 tsp white vinegar

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil.

Boil uncovered for three minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be clear when done.

Getting ready for winter... Tipped the hive forward a bit too ahead of the rainy season. All I need to do is prepare fondant and put some burlap sacks in the Vibaldi board. Honey super is heavy but not as heavy as I had hoped....

One was ill with an undetermined illness - stood around all day, didn't eat or drink much and very lethargic, but she would run if I tried to catch her. She liked to climb up in the laying boxes but was no laying and was not broody. The other just had very aggressive tendencies.

Placed a Vivaldi board on the hive, between it and my custom cover. Did not add any fondant yet. I'll do that when I remove the apivar strips in a couple of weeks.