“Well, now, my bumblebee, go on a spree…
catch up with the ship on the sea,
go down secretly, get deep into a crack.”
It scans better in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian and not really sure why the bee wants to catch up with a ship.
As reported previously, the luscious crocus blooms
have been an irresistible snack for our bees
But over the last couple of days they have been joined by a visitor
The Queen Buff-tail Bumblebee… (just look at that lovely buff bum)…
hibernates and then emerges now as temperatures rise. She goes foraging to replenish her energy reserves, used up over winter.
She is carrying some mites
But unlike the disease spreading Varroa mites infecting honey bees that can give us cause for concern these mites that are found on bumblebees are different and generally completely harmless. They are detritivores that live in the bumblebee nests, eating old wax and general bee generated rubbish; when the nests are abandoned over winter this causes a problem for the mites, so they hitch a ride on queen bumblebees to get to the next active nest.
So, as she clambers from bloom to bloom
We wish her, and her hitchhikers, well
The sun is shining
seeds are sprouting
and it is time
to stock up on calories
and sing your heart out
and with any luck…
Word has got around that red can be attractive. Sometimes it sort of works
and sometimes it is more a matter of taste
Today the sun shone and the temperature soared to a dizzying 11 degrees.
Time for a bath
and a good flap
Down at the hives things are on the move
Word has got around of a feast to be had
Arriving to take a look
These anthers can be a bit bendy
but the pollen is certainly getting transported
Full load and setting off for home
This snowdrop clump was bouncing and vibrating with all the bee activity
and a contented buzzing was rising up
We are five days off the full “Snow Moon”
We, and the bees, hope it does not live up to its name.
As you can see here, from an early age Houdini lived up to her name (or rather she was named to fit her behaviour)
Today she persuaded Cagney, her (foster) mother, to fly over their fence, walk across our field and then fly into the field next door
where the grass was not greener.
They had to be walked
down to the bottom gate
round the corner, through our gate
up through the meadow
past the reception committee
and back inside
to be checked out by their favourite drake
and a little wing clip
Elsewhere, signs of life are increasing
As temperatures soar into balmy double figures
there are just a few remnants of the last week’s permafrost
Life comes bouncing back
Time to relax…
or to scrub the greenhouse roof
because the first inhabitants have poked up their shoots
The Camellia buds will now benefit from the warmer weather
The hens are pleased to be able to peck and scratch without bending their beaks and toes
while the Woodpecker still opts for the lazy option
So we welcome the new moon for a new start to what soon will become Spring
Never has a forecast looked so enticing as the one for tomorrow
After a week of freeze, day and night
with all water solid
meaning much toing and froing taking water to animals
Some birds took it in their stride
But some who are normally heard but not seen became bolder
Some animals seemed dressed for the weather
but we will be grateful for the cosy prospect of two or three degrees above freezing
During this week’s freeze the local birds have been both bolder and more numerous in their use of our feeders.
With ground frozen solid both Blackbirds and members of the Thrush family have had a particularly hard time.
Over the last few days this Fieldfare has been among those taking advantage of the apples we put out
It is unusual to see one individual by itself
Has it lost its flock or is it disabled in some way?
Whatever the reason, it is getting what it needs as it keeps coming back.
We are frozen
Only a light speckling of snow – which suits the Speckled Sussex flock
But when we look up we can see light in the distance
sometimes in unexpected places
Here old snow and new glow coexist
Even this monstrosity can be seen in a new light
Shadows and Light coexist
but watch out for black shapes overhead
Sometimes light is at the edges of things
and sometimes you have to look out for the hole where the light gets in
and you can always come home to the Glowing Goose
(Yes, the greenhouse roof will be cleaned very soon)
Potting bench… ready!
(the roof will be cleaned)
Sowing schedule… ready!
First off are the Aubergines
Tucked up ready to go at 25 degrees – that is a lot warmer than we get in the house
Broad Beans are not so sensitive creatures
First Radish and Salad in the polytunnel
We are on our way.
Let’s pretend we can see signs of Spring.
Jessie is setting an example:
Things were happening under the snow
and now it has receded to hillside patches
things have a chance to emerge
These will soon be gone
The rabbits are asking
when they can have babies
So, for the time being, the grass maybe green
but who knows what’s over the horizon