Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Winter Skies

Hi everyone.  Happy middle of the week to you. 

Today I have a page for Wendy's Above Us Only Sky challenge at Art Journal Journey. I am also linking it to More than Words monthly challenge. This month their theme is Seasons.

Although I can't say winter is my favorite season, it is nice for a little while. After about 2 months of it though I am ready for spring. (But would I appreciate spring as much as I do if it wasn't for winter? That's a good question.)
We had another little dusting of snow the other night so my page looks like my area right now though. 

The background on this page is made by using a Hero Art's big background stamp. I stamped the image one full time at the bottom of the page and then another partial time to cover the top. The white title banner across the page is where the 2 stampings met. Of course at the top of my page I just stamped some of the snowy evening sky and only reinked my stamp in that part.

I also didn't press quite so hard in a few spots to get a more heavy snowstorm look, the kind of appearance when you get a little white out in the snowy sky.

The white banner is a free hand cut. The believe word is from a set of old Hero Arts stamps. I wanted a big word here because of the size of the title banner. Then I did something I don't usually do. I used some gold embossing powder, a snowflake stamp as well as some Versamark ink, and  I heat embossed a few snowflakes to finish off my page.  It's been a long time since I heat embossed anything, but the effect is nice. 😀

And that completes my page. 

I'll finish this post with some bee photos that have nothing to do with the sky.
You might remember that I wrapped the hive a couple of times with some insulation filled wraps, and then I took bags of raked up leaves and stacked them around the bottom. It's a mess, but hopefully it will help keep the heat the bees produce inside the hive.

I took this last photo  last Friday when it was about 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), and even though the bees were not outside, I could hear them loudly buzzing inside.

About half of the bags of leaves  (that I used) are recycled from last year. I think it's interesting that the bags didn't do well in the sunlight over the summer and started to rip, but the red oak leaves inside are still in perfect shape from last year.

This past Sunday we put up the wind frame around the hive. In this photo the wind frame still needs a tarp which goes over the top ( see next photo) and another tarp that hangs part way down the front. We couldn't find the tarp we had last year to hang over the front, so I had to go get a new one that will go up this weekend.

 We wouldn't need all this if our winters stayed mild, but it's just about guaranteed we'll get some arctic cold and wind. The really cold spells are  from weather called Alberta Clippers. (For you weather lovers, here's an article about some of the winter storms we get here in New England: Winter Storms Explained). Sometimes we only get a few days of this cold, and sometimes we get a lot of this cold. It's hard to know what winter might bring, so better to be prepared.  This cold is the reason why the bees have become practically cocooned. 

I have Italian bees right now, and I'm not sure they will make it through the cold even with all this protection. They are the most gentle bees, but the least cold weather resistant.  I've pre-ordered a Canadian variety for next year called  Saskatraz. I had some this year but most of them died while being shipped, and the hive didn't make it. One local bee keeper I spoke to said last winter the only variety of hers that made it through the winter were her Saskatraz.  The Russian variety would probably make it also, but they are so aggressive I don't know anyone who has them.

As the cliche says, time will tell how things go.
That's it for me today. I hope you're having a great week so far.



David M. Gascoigne, said...

I can see that beekeeping can be a challenge, Erika, and I am very happy to see you taking this kind of care of them. I share your hope that they will survive the always unpredictable winter. You can sleep easy knowing that you have done your very best. How was the yield of honey from this year’s bees? It still amuses me to think of live bees being shipped through the mail! All the best - David

Angie's Recipes said...

I hope all your bees make through cold winter season! The winter sky page looks really beautiful, Erika.

Tom said...

,,,I hope that your bees have a restful winter's nap!

sirkkis said...

Beautiful winter scene, and I like how you set the house grup there ❤️
We celebrate today Finland's Independence Day 🎆
Wishing you a great time 🥰

Divers and Sundry said...

Yes, you would appreciate spring just as much without winter. I say that because we sometimes don't get much of a winter here, and yet daffodils are much celebrated. Public gardens plant hundreds of them, and people flock to the sites.

I love your bee blanket and bee shelter and hope they stay cozy during your winter. Highs here are in the 50sF, and we're expecting a high of 67 on Saturday.

Christine said...

Lovely page and hope the bees survive

ashok said...

There's a beauty in winter

Romy Matthias said...

Wir häufeln all unser Laub immer auf für die Tiere, die Winterschlaf halten. LG Romy

WendyK said...

Fabulous Winter scene , please don’t send the snow over here though. I hope the bees survive. Hugs Wendy.

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, all the best for the bees!!!
I "believe" you will succeed! You put so much work into this, it must go well! Hugs and to warmer temps...

DVArtist said...

You take such good care of your bees and I know they do appreciate it. Wonderful art and photos too.

craftytrog said...

A beautiful winter page, and great snowy photos. Hope the bees survive the cold.

Hels said...

Are you happier using clear colours for the sky and background, or do you enjoy the special white and greys of winter?

Jeanie said...

I am so fascinated by your bees, Erika. I hope they make it through this year -- you've worked so hard to make them safe. My fingers are crossed for you.

Aimeslee Winans said...

Your page is gorgeous, I got the shivers looking at all that snow. Then, your bee photos made me get up and turn up the heat. Brrrr. I think winter becomes miserable when you are cold all.the.time. And the older I get, the colder I feel. I sure hope that windbreak helps your bees. Too bad there is no Valium for bees, since the most aggressive ones are the most aclimated to your winter. Have a good rest of your week and stay warm, xoxo

Neet said...

Oh I do hope your bees make it. It is so interesting reading about what you do to keep them alive during the winter. So they just stay in the hive the whole time. I never even thought about that but i can see how it is too cold for them otherwise. Well, you certainly have tried your best. Good luck Erika.
Thank you for the page also which is beautiful. I love how you have utilised the stamp and the white banner joining the two stampings looks as if it was meant to be there all the time. Brilliant page.
Hugs, Neet xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

What a beautiful page Erika - so far just a sprinkling of snow here! Your bees are so well wrapped up - it looks as though you have done as much as you can for them! Hope they are now snug enough to survive the Winter, hugs, Chrisx