The frozen ground has set my plans for the Autumn/Winter work back significantly, but much of the tree planting for the new Forest Garden is finished. The jobs that have slipped are the preparation of the Vegetable beds, and wood cutting.
I had hoped to get all of the tree planting done by the end of November/early December, but the snow interrupted work, and once the ground started to thaw, I was caught up in all of the family festivities and visits.I also had to do some remedial work to a beehive that was attacked by a woodpecker, and protect the remaining hives.
Another five weeks have elapsed since my last post, but with the days shortening, I once again find myself with time to share with you. Things are still busy, with the end of the beekeeping and vegetable growing season, and the start of the tree planting and wood harvesting season overlapping. Before I start posting on what I’m up to now, I thought that I would post a quick round up of what I’ve been busy with over the past few weeks.
Well this is week three of my sentry duty, knelt in front a nucleus for most of the day. Two weeks ago I was in despair, and considering quitting keeping bees. Now, even though the nucleus still might not make it, I’m able to see some positive aspects to my task, in particular, I’m able to see much more of the daily routine of the hive, and am learning much more about the bees, and also wasps.
Most people wouldn’t have been so stubborn as to spend their whole day so preoccupied, and even if they wanted to, most couldn’t spare the time, including me, but I’ve started now, and I’ll see where it takes me.
It’s been about five weeks since my last post, and it’s all down to bees. Initially the time was being spent on good stuff, like collecting swarms, and so on, but for the last two weeks, it’s all been defensive duties, trying to prevent strong hives and wasps from destroying the smaller colonies. At the moment I’ve got a short respite from my ‘sentry’ duties, as the rain is keeping the bees inside, and wasp activity is pretty low, but as soon as the rain stops I’ll be back outside.
Some of the problems are a result of some of my beekeeping decisions, but others have been outside of my control.
It’s been hectic here, but then it always is at this time of year. I’ve now housed six swarms from three of our hives. Five have gone into Warre hives, and one went into a National, as I had no more Warre floors, or roofs available. I have two more hives that are yet to swarm, as they have built up poorly. One is definitely queen right, as I opened up the hive to check, and saw her. I need to check the other. I no longer open the hives, unless it’s vital, but the last hive does not seem right, and I don’t have an alternative.
I’ve got some pictures of one of the swarms going into a Warre hive, well NOT going into a Warre hive actually, although more of that later, and also pictures of bees in a Warre hive, taken through an observation window.