I'm happy to report that I am much more optimistic about the bees this morning than I was in my last post (two steps forward and one step back). I've confirmed that both colonies are still alive and despite the lost lid incident, appear to be doing okay.
Last week I attended a beginning beekeeping class put on by a veteran beekeeper in Missoula. The chance to talk to somebody who had lots of experience was really great. I left feeling good about what I needed to do and how to do it.
Since the last post I have added the wind break on the west side and reduced the entrance to the smallest size (about 1/2" x 3/8"). I also placed some small pieces of wood between the inner and outer lids, so that there is a gap for ventilation but not so much space that they are losing a lot of heat. Finally I placed slate rocks on the tops of hive to be sure I don't have another lid blow off.
Just in time it turns out, because not long after that it started snowing and didn't stop for days. The chickens, like the bees have plenty to eat and are more than happy to stay inside where it's warm and dry.
After lots of shoveling and a failed attempt at clearing the drive with a 4 wheeler, we had to call for help. Luckily a friendly neighbor with a backhoe was more than happy to come dig us out. Now I know what I want for Christmas next year! ;-)