Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Pygmy Shrew!

Sitting on our kitchen doorstep this morning, in the sun, without a care in the world, was this little one - a pygmy shrew. Nose to tail no more than two inches! It hopped in & out of the crevices between stones in the wall & between the paving slabs.

We did move it though, further up the steps & popped it under the lavender bush where it can get access to more wall and away from being under Jack's nose!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bees again!

The last week has been the busiest for Crooklands bees! Tuesday saw Sue and James help me go through the 3 hives we now have on site. First was to check that the new queen had successfully hatched, mated and returned to my first hive; and all was successful, as not only did we see new eggs, but spotted the new queen!

Then it was to go through the new hive, as I had not seen any pollen going in for some days. It was evident that the queen had left, so, after some manipulation, hope the new queen cell hatches with the same success as my first hive.

Finally, on Saturday, had to re-unite the queen that had left this pictured hive and taken up residence in the nuc box that I had set up in case the bees decided to swarm. Hopefully that has been successful too. In all, must have spent close on 8 hours dealing with bees in a week! John has declared himself a "Bee widow"!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

We have had a number of guests recently who are all keen gardeners, yet all of us do not know what this perennial is! It is about 3 feet high, the leaves are rounded at the base, yet palmated further up. All have admired it, but what it is remains a secret so far!

Have resorted to e-mailing Julie who planted the garden in the hopes she can give us the name of what is a lovely shrub!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Bees

It's two months now since our new bees arrived making a total of three hives at Crooklands. It's been a difficult year for beekeeping as weather patterns have been different from last year, with early sun & warmth followed by cold & damp, & latterly close & thundery, which has resulted in grumpy bees!

The Clapham Bee Group, of which Crooklands is one has been trying to "grow our stock" by encouraging new queen bees to develop. With the help & advice of our BBKA inspector(, we hope to raise 3 or 4 more queens this season.

As we only began a year ago, it is still early days - we are very much still on "L" plates - we do not expect to take honey from our hives yet, but hope to soon. Home produced honey for the Guests' breakfast table? - not yet, but we, or they, the bees, are working on it!