Busy as bees

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.

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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:

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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

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visiting the Lake for water

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while at others they have stayed indoors.

We have prepared a bait hive in case of swarming

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We are just glad they have made it through the winter as another structure has been appearing in the wood

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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

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and the other part is not a dance floor

Here is a clue from earlier

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Bubbling under

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.
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As the sun warms the surface the tadpoles line up for aquatic sunbathing
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The Snails begin to stir
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and on the surface the Pondscater and Whirligig Beetles perform a dance
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and this Water Beetle was spotted courting
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This creature is still emerging from the winter slime
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and up above green in spouting
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Preparing for the swarms

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
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they were out in force today in the long-waited for sunshine
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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
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knocking up a stand
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and locating it next door
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and then cleaning up some hives
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ready to make a desirable residence.

Doubtlessly, to be continued

April Moments

The Wood Mouse thinks bird ground feeders were a good innovation
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Shortly we will be surrounded by more daffodils than is healthy for the gaze but the first few are welcome
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They are late this year. Our bees are looking forward to them; meanwhile they are enjoying the heather
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Wonder if they will be interested in the Fritillaries
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We now see Bumblebees as intolopers
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Seed beds in preparation
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and some salad already growing
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Violets are always exciting
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The cordoned cherry, which will be the centrepiece of Polytunnel Zenith, is teasing with a first hint of blossom to come
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We lamb late up here but some ewes are already wearying of their springing offspring
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We have released seven hedgehogs brought into protection as Autumn juveniles. They have rejoined the local community which passes in the night
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Tarragon also recovers from hibernation
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as do the ferns beneath the vine
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Territory wars are at full throttle
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Bank Holiday weather

Yesterday we were enjoying the signs of spring

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watching the Nuthatch bring in nesting material

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to the hole under the eaves, which he had reduced with render to a Nuthatch-sized hole

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The frogspawn was starting to develop

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vole holes were proliferating

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the tomato seeds had germinated

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and Ian was developing his poise

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We enjoyed the snow on the distant mountains

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and were amused by the one little patch remaining locally

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The I-escaped-from-a-sparrowhawk-but-only-just Blackbird had been a week in the woodshed living a life of luxury.

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And then today was a Bank Holiday

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Wet, sticky snow with added ice crushed our optimism

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Trees that had survived far heavier snow last month succumbed

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one hen run was flattened

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Our neighbours were not amused either

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