I am pretty happy with my buckwheat. After the extra hot spring weather brought early flowering on many trees and shrubs, I wanted to make sure the bees didn’t go hungry later in the summer. I sowed the buckwheat seed in an area of soil which had been dug and flattened for the septic tank runoff, but won’t be completed with the drainage until the plumbing is finished later in the year. We had a couple good rains, and 4 weeks later the first flowers were out and filled with bees every morning. A rainy and hot month later the plants are almost as tall as me and full of flowers.
Buckwheat only releases nectar in the morning, so the bees seem to be very business like and efficient in harvesting. They carry a good amount of pale yellow-green pollen as well.
A bit over a month ago an enormous buzzing brought me running to see the sky clouded with bees, which quickly started to coalesce into blobs on the trees.
After about 15 minutes they had settled into two biggish blobs on trees a few meters apart. We thought we had probably already had one swarm from Beresford’s hive, so we didn’t want to lose any more. Quickly setting up a ladder we collected the two blobs into buckets, and tipped one into a new hive, and the other into a new super separated by a sheet of newspaper from Eleanor’s hive, which wasn’t doing as well and had seemed more susceptible to Varroa.
The kettle belonged to C’s parents, originally used for boiling water on a wood stove, but stored in a cupboard over the last few years. When C found it, the lid fell off and almost broke his toe – it takes 2 hands to carry it when full of water. I’m looking forward to having it boiling ready for a cup of tea on the wood cook stove next winter.
C’s Dad passed away this week, having fought cancer bravely and gained a hard won year. For him, the end was a blessing I think as he was in a lot of pain yet struggled with the effect of the painkillers on his ability to communicate.
I know this doesn’t really belong in this meme – however growing and gathering and photographing flowers is my main creative expression at the moment so… all things come into it.
Continue reading “In a Vase on Monday – a sad week”
In a window of sunshine amid clouds and rain last weekend we opened the beehives. Beresford’s hive was full of brood, with only a bit of honey left. Luckily we were prepared for this as it was exactly what our beekeeping friend had thought might happen, so we gave the hive sugar water and pollen substitute. This seemed to go down well.
I set my camera up in front of Beresford’s hive, and after getting stung and dropping the camera, we all got used to it and took some pictures. It was a sunny late morning so there was a steady stream of bees leaving and returning, although not nearly as many as in Summer.
The pattern seemed to be that the bees would arrive and clean themselves outside the hive before being checked by the guard and allowed in. You wouldn’t want to be a bee arriving back without the right credentials.
After last year’s loss of the queen and decimation of the hive, I was feeling a little nervous when we opened the hives at the start of Winter in late May. There was almost no brood, and less honey than we had expected. So it was a great relief when our bee keeper friend showed up unexpectedly and offered to check out the hives.
Wow, last year at this time I had tulips and hyacinths, no roses in sight. The tulips are still only small, and daily being eaten by a stoat, I think. So there may be none at all at this rate.
While much of the country has had record snow falls last week and some are still without power, we didn’t even have a frost, which was nice for the new twin lambs frisking around the next door paddock. There must have been strong winds though, and the olive branches in my vase are from the olive tree which was on the ground when we arrived.
I’m assuming she is a queen, since only the queens are supposed to last through the Winter. In any case, when I first encountered her on a cold morning she looked still and dead, hanging from the Lavender ‘Sidonie’ flower by her front legs.