What's up with the bees?  Everyone's been asking.  Well, let's just get this out ... Today I checked on them and they appear to have died out.  That's pretty hard to say, but it does happen.  They were doing really well this year and just a few weeks ago, I was feeding them and they were numerous.  But today, peeking in the window, the comb looks dark and dead and no bees are active.  I haven't opened it up yet, I'm still steeling myself up for that job.
So, what now?  I had been prepared for this moment for a long time.  I thought I knew the answer, but now ...  I've had a change of heart.  This last summer I've noticed I am reacting more and more badly to the stings.  They burn initially and I show no problems after a few hours, but later, for up to a week, I get a very itchy rash.  Last time, a few weeks ago, it ran all down my neck.  I tried denying it to myself, telling myself it was something else or just a one time thing, but I knew it really wasn't.  Thus, I think I will quit while I'm ahead and let the bee idea go.  That's a hard decision.  I may entertain bees again in another way, say lending space to another beek and moving the hives out of range a bit.
This never was a necessity.  I wasn't looking for lots of honey or pollination.  It was just nice to have around.   I've learned a lot, seen that the bumblebees are more active than I imagined, and witnessed an amazing honey bee swarm.  Those things will never go away for me.
As for here, well I have been negligent in writing of late, but I plan on keeping with the gardening, cooking and occasional personal posts.  So if you are reading here, please stop by once in a while and I may have something posted :-) . So, for now, a farewell to the bees.  It's been fun.