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#1: Wear Carharts on Carharts whenever possible.

#2: IMG_0280. Every fall after I look at the ruins of my garden I think about how much better I am going to plan next year. Specifically I vow to make organized rows and not broadcast seeds wildly around the neighborhood, keep track of where I plant things, and finally, not to over plant squash. This year so far I have not over planted squash, because I have not yet planted any. Last year I had spinach in the ground by late February and was confident it would grow. This year I planted the first round March 22 and am not quite so confident. I put in spinach, arugula, bright lights chard, radishes, beets, and lettuce. I had planned to put in more chard, kale, and some more greens but my hands were freezing. Then this happened:

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This is a major metropolitan area by my office. See those office buildings across the street?

My rough plan is to put early plants in the front beds. Then, when the permaculture babies arrive in late May I can selectively rip out the early greens, plant the perennials, and plant other annuals around them. I may put some additional hot season annuals in the back beds, or I may preserve those spaces for a fall planting of greens as I try to phase those beds out and reclaim some backyard space.

#3: Wear this dress as much as possible. Butterick B5919.

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#4: Make lots of baby hives out of my Michigan survivor stock bees. Knock on wood, the hives my dad and I started this summer are both still alive and buzzing. Since this was the hardest winter in Michigan since 1880 (which, as my mom pointed out, is the year of the Long Winter documented by Laura Ingalls Wilder), the bee conference I recently attended made me feel a sort of duty to propagate this line of bees. Spring, and especially a late and wet one, can be very difficult for bees so we’re not out of the woods yet but I am far more optimistic than before.

I will start the season with one hive (H1). I also have a package coming (H2). At this time I plan to establish these as separate hives at my house. Ideally, H1 will make a swarm cell this year which I can separate into a nuc until the queen is mated and laying. Then, I could requeen H2 with that queen in the fall right before the eggs for winter bees are laid.

I suspect; however, that the package bees will either swarm or supercede the queen right away. Last year I made the mistake of trying to head this off, but this year plan to embrace the bees plan. If they take action to this effect I will let them supercede. Any new queen will ideally be mated to Michigan bees, and hopefully to drones from my other hive so they will have at least 50% Michigan survivor stock genes.

Alternatively, my dad and I are talking about investing (and it IS an investment) in a Buckfast queen (of the prestigious buckfast line, only partially a joke). If I were able to requeen the package with some descendant of this line I would be pleased because then I would be combining the Buckfast line with the current Michigan survivor stock.

However, making plans for bees seems to be rather futile, as it turns out that the bees and I have not read the same books.

What are your plans for spring?

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