Saturday, 17 February 2007

bees in the bonnet

BeesOur bees should be arriving on Monday.

Tomorrow B will be sorting out the place that we're going to put them at the top of the garden, with flat slabs for the hives to stand on. We'll also need to make room in the store room for all the extra bits and bobs that will be coming with them; the extra lifts for the hives that you put on over the summer as the colony hopefully produces more and more honey, the spare nucleus hive, the honey extractor and all the other bits and bobs like smokers that are part and parcel of bee-keeping.

We have been very, very lucky to find someone who is giving up bee-keeping because their neighbour is phobic about insects and he's afraid that it's going to cause a neighbour-war. We are paying £500 for four hives and all the extra equipment. I estimate that that's about half of what it's worth and it's a really, really good opportunity to get started.

WBC hiveHowever, the slight hitch is that at the moment, I feel totally unable to cope with any aspects of the project. We had a long talk about it last week and B is still very keen. He is happy to look after them by himself this first year if I don't feel up to it, which is a relief. But I am still having doubts about whether it's the wisest choice as it's a relatively big commitment - received wisdom is that you check your hives once a fortnight during the warm season; although they don't actually drop dead if you don't visit them that regularly. But if they run out of space in the hive then they become more likely to swarm, which obviously isn't good. And if you don't put more lifts on the hives as required, then naturally you don't get as much honey.

We are very lucky in that Ma is an experienced beekeeper who has been keeping bees since the 1950's. She's very sanguine about the whole thing and until quite recently used to handle her bees with just a net hat and bare hands. So she is an ideal 'phone a friend' for us and may also be able to come up and do some hands on stuff with the hives.

I spent yesterday in bed, hence no marmalade - the tiredness is not so much tiredness as complete exhaustion and is pretty shit, to be honest. Today I feel a bit better and may even achieve proper clothes. B is doing a get-out in Liverpool and should be back mid-afternoon, so my task is to have the washing up done before he gets back. Small steps.

9 comments:

  1. You lead such an interesting life!Chickens and wine-making and now bees. I like to work in my garden early in the morning, which is the time the bees like to work in my garden, as well. I have never been stung [she knocks on wood].

    The exhaustion eventually goes away, but you will still want to nap every day. Enjoy it while you can!

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  2. You lead such an interesting life!Chickens and wine-making and now bees. I like to work in my garden early in the morning, which is the time the bees like to work in my garden, as well. I have never been stung [she knocks on wood].

    The exhaustion eventually goes away, but you will still want to nap every day. Enjoy it while you can!

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  3. Congratulations! I think despite your undertandable doubts now, you will be very glad to have them around in the future. They really are not very much trouble most of the time.

    I mainly end up holding the smoker nowadays, anyhow...it's the s.o. who really has the "tai chi" quality needed to be a good beekeeper. :-)

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  4. Congratulations! I think despite your undertandable doubts now, you will be very glad to have them around in the future. They really are not very much trouble most of the time.

    I mainly end up holding the smoker nowadays, anyhow...it's the s.o. who really has the "tai chi" quality needed to be a good beekeeper. :-)

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  5. When I was preg with LTB I actually fell asleep on the floor.
    More jealous than ever.

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  6. When I was preg with LTB I actually fell asleep on the floor.
    More jealous than ever.

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  7. Bees. So cool. :) Just wait until you taste your own honey!

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  8. First, I hope you feel better and full of energy soon, or by the time this comment is written. :D

    Second: Wow, a bee hive! That may be really fascinating, no? It does sound like a very good opportunity for both the short and the long term.

    About the bees swarming to nearby areas, I think that's a good thing to be concerned about. You also have an experienced person to refer to in case of any help or advice.

    Good luck! :D

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  9. First, I hope you feel better and full of energy soon, or by the time this comment is written. :D

    Second: Wow, a bee hive! That may be really fascinating, no? It does sound like a very good opportunity for both the short and the long term.

    About the bees swarming to nearby areas, I think that's a good thing to be concerned about. You also have an experienced person to refer to in case of any help or advice.

    Good luck! :D

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