Our internet was down for two weeks and then when it was restored so much had happened and so many photos were in the pipeline we were paralysed in resuming this diary.
Today we inspected the bees.
One event for which there are not many photos because when two people are managing a hive inspection there are not many hands left available for photography. This was after the event:
where a clean-up operation was in progress where a honey-rich super had been sitting on this stand.
The weather has been so up and down that at times they have been very busy
visiting the Lake for water
while at others they have stayed indoors.
We have prepared a bait hive in case of swarming
We are just glad they have made it through the winter as another structure has been appearing in the wood
part of which is going to be a bee shed – all ready for honey extraction.
It is a shed of two parts as this earlier picture shows
and the other part is not a dance floor
Here is a clue from earlier
The late Spring has built up a backlog of energy just waiting to burst out.
Not least in The Lake.
Last year, when The Lake had just been dug, we found frogspawn in all manner of inappropriate puddles and ditches. This year the frogs seem to have got the idea and the waters are beginning to bubble and seeth.
As the sun warms the surface the tadpoles line up for aquatic sunbathing
The Snails begin to stir
and on the surface the Pondscater and Whirligig Beetles perform a dance
and this Water Beetle was spotted courting
This creature is still emerging from the winter slime
and up above green in spouting
Our beekeeping experience now amounts to around half a year – main achievement so far is that our one and only colony seems to have survived the winter with vigour
they were out in force today in the long-waited for sunshine
We learn that we are now heading for the swarming season – something, which like all aspects of beekeeping, seems to be a mixture of unpredictability, mystique, and much scope for Things Going Wrong.
We imagine part of the colony emerging to look for a new home in or month or two and promptly relocating next door with a minimum off fuss – that is if we provide them with a next door.
So to work
knocking up a stand
and locating it next door
and then cleaning up some hives
ready to make a desirable residence.
Doubtlessly, to be continued
The Wood Mouse thinks bird ground feeders were a good innovation
Shortly we will be surrounded by more daffodils than is healthy for the gaze but the first few are welcome
They are late this year. Our bees are looking forward to them; meanwhile they are enjoying the heather
Wonder if they will be interested in the Fritillaries
We now see Bumblebees as intolopers
Seed beds in preparation
and some salad already growing
Violets are always exciting
The cordoned cherry, which will be the centrepiece of Polytunnel Zenith, is teasing with a first hint of blossom to come
We lamb late up here but some ewes are already wearying of their springing offspring
We have released seven hedgehogs brought into protection as Autumn juveniles. They have rejoined the local community which passes in the night
Tarragon also recovers from hibernation
as do the ferns beneath the vine
Territory wars are at full throttle
We have scythed and removed last year’s grass from the meadow
and are excitedly awaiting what it will offer to us this year.
We are keeping a record here.
Freshly minted in the night
Yesterday we were enjoying the signs of spring
watching the Nuthatch bring in nesting material
to the hole under the eaves, which he had reduced with render to a Nuthatch-sized hole
The frogspawn was starting to develop
vole holes were proliferating
the tomato seeds had germinated
and Ian was developing his poise
We enjoyed the snow on the distant mountains
and were amused by the one little patch remaining locally
The I-escaped-from-a-sparrowhawk-but-only-just Blackbird had been a week in the woodshed living a life of luxury.
And then today was a Bank Holiday
Wet, sticky snow with added ice crushed our optimism
Trees that had survived far heavier snow last month succumbed
one hen run was flattened
Our neighbours were not amused either