Oh dear, it's already Wednesday and all I have to show for it is five hours in the workroom! Still, the chair is now ready to be stitched - tomorrow will get that under way. Yesterday I got distracted by the bee frames.
We became beekeepers last year - a really bad year to start with all that rain! - and I would really like to expand from two to five hives this year. I manage to find some secondhand hives which I've cleaned up but I decided to replace all the frames in the body (where the bees live and put honey - for them) and the supers (where they put any extra honey - for us). Getting frames ready involves threading wire through them and then melting a sheet of wax onto the wires. On the picture below you can see the bees beginning to work up the wax foundation into something they can store honey in. Now my wonderful husband is going to try and make a contraption that will heat up the wires to let the wax melt. Last year we used the car battery and a Heath Robinson set up involving a couple of planks of wood on the wheelbarrow and a cold barn. Oh, and a lot of swearing! I'm hoping this time it will be a little more straightforward!
I don't need the frames until March but I suspect if we don't get it done now it will be left until I need them in a panic and it will be back to the Renault 5 set up!
We "discovered" the idea of beekeeping at a local agricultural fair. It's a fair that shows how it "used to be done" - so horses pulling the plough, men instead of combine harvesters and so on. They had an exhibition area and there we found the bee man. Our son then was only 11and he was fascinated by the see-through hive and of course the bee-man, who is about 70, was thrilled to see young blood taking an interest and really took the time to talk to him and explain things. And that's how we got started. When the bees finally arrived late last May we were filled with trepidation. But they had obviously been warned about nervous beekeepers and were remarkably calm around these buzzing human beings.
Since then we've discovered the wonder of how a bee colony works and is organised. We've learnt to stay calm and move slowly when we open the hives up to inspect that all is well. We've started to notice their moods - and react accordingly! But we know there is still plenty to learn.
In the summer we love watching the bees in the garden and grow flowers and vegetables according to their needs as well as ours. In fact we are about to plant some hedges and have asked the supplier specifically for bee-friendly hedging!
If anyone is interested in finding out more about the the subject I have a couple of books listed in my bookstore.