The bees are "winterized"—their entrances reduced, mouse protection added, and sky-blue sheets of Styrofoam insulation placed atop and along the false back of every hive.
Two of three look good to go. The third seems a little quiet, but time will tell. All three hives have been left their honey; I didn't harvest this fall and it will be interesting to see whether, with nothing stolen from them, they make it OK. So much depends upon the weather; the weather, luck, and whatever secret strengths or deficits reside inside those mysterious wooden hives with their brilliant clusters of thrumming beings.
Geese are passing overhead now, not just daily, but hourly. And so begins the countdown to winter which, for me (and for the bees?) is really just a countdown to spring.