Wednesday 15 April 2015

O Sole Mio?

Yes; I've been making my own entertainment this week, with Lizzie off down in Silverwood-land "minding" Daddy (Mr SL) while Steak Lady steals some time in the sun in Malta off with her gang of former Bridge Club chums from Portmarnock. Not that Mr SL needs much minding, you understand; he's all well again from his Hospital scares so this is not Intensive Care we are talking about. Liz tells me that he instructs her not to get up and start "fussing" before 9 a.m. because he likes to wake up and potter about gently and if she'd be good enough to leave him alone till then he'll bring her a cup of tea.

Some first-year shoots from those English's Nursery crowns
only in the ground a week or so!
When she dives in and tries to start clearing the meal table and do washing up he good naturedly shuts her in the sun-room with a glass of wine and insists that HE will do it because he "knows where everything goes" when it comes out of the dish-washer. Yes, it's a tough old job this "minding" but Liz will survive. She is also getting plenty of opportunities to go visit the Silverwoods and be visited by them.

Let loose in the kitchen, I am trying my hand at a few scones.
And I do NOT want you to get the impression that I am feeling sorry for myself here. I am quite self sufficient, me, so though I miss the wifely presence (it would be impolite not to!), I can chug along happily here on the 'farm'. There is always plenty to do and the dogs, cats and livestock are all good company (if a bit thin on simulating conversation). I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that - gardening, the bees, shopping, photography, blogging, facebook, cooking stuff for myself, entertaining the occasional guest, housework and even some baking. The latter always feels a bit "bold", like interfering where you are not normally allowed to go. Although I can cook perfectly well, we have slotted into a rhythm here where it is Liz who rules in the kitchen and does all the fancy cookery while I am mainly outdoor jobs. So if I stray into the kitchen I always get the impression I am being 'watched', the same way I am sure Liz feels if she were to wander out into my veg plot and start weeding.

Possibly not the brightest place to sit, Blue.
Just for a bit of fun, I also had another go at taking some video footage and uploading it to the internet, one short chunk of the new twin lambs, and one of the new piggies. These are the links if you are that way inclined. Unfortunately, they are facebook based links (I failed to grab the Youtube addresses which appear briefly when they were first put up there and I have no idea how to find these out again)

This is the pig one

and this the lambs one

Apologies if you can't get at them. Equally, if anyone knows how to find them on Youtube, then please do let on. Perhaps the solution is to upload them again and take notes?

Lots of activity fom the new bees. 
We have also had our very pleasing result (so far anyway) in the bee keeping department. When I last posted I had just done my moonlight flit over to Killashee in County Longford to collect my new colony from the wonderful BO'D and carefully set it up next to the old hive. Any worries I might have had of bees suffering in the car journey were quickly dispelled when the new workers were out and buzzing first thing the next day, even though it was a bit chilly. There were bees pinging everywhere, certainly more than my 'old' hive has done this year. A good few were doing the face-the-hive, fly-backwards and spiral outwards flights which we know are 're-orientation' flights, the bees emerging from the hive to discover an unfamiliar landscape and having to learn the new map.

The twin lambs now thriving again at almost 3 weeks. 
I have set the hives next to each other so that in a few days we can slot all the frames from inside BO'D's boxes, into the old white boxes, which will have been cleaned and sterilized just in case, and then spirit the old brown boxes away. The bees will then (so goes the theory) cope with the fact that their home has suddenly 'turned white' because they will come back and mill about for a while, confused by the visual change, but then smell the familiar smells of home coming from the entrance slot of this funny white box. It is almost beekeeping mantra that you can move a hive less than 3 feet or more than 3 miles, but never anything in between.

Cheeky happy pigs, scarfing more fruit.
Bees find their way about by a remembered map. They will find the hive again if it has only gone 3 feet, but if it has gone further away they will mill about at the old location, lost, till they run out of fuel and then simply die on the ground. If you move the hive less than 3 miles, which is the bees natural forage range, they may accidentally come across an old remembered route to the old location and follow that back to the former home (where they will, again, die of lack of fuel). If you want to move your hive ten feet, then you have to move it 3 miles to an out-station (a friend's ground for example), wait 3 weeks while they re-orientate to that and forget the old map, then move them back to the old apiary but new position. Strange but true.

George the Gander. You lookin' at me?
And I have had that birthday, of course, which was looking to be a non-event, with the celebrations postponed till Liz came home. All my friends and contacts, though, must have had other ideas - I received a veritable blizzard of greetings on Facebook, I got a card and gift from the UK through the post (Thanks Pud Lady and Tom!) and visits from friends who wanted to meet the piggies plus one from Anne and Simon who arrived bearing rhubarb and stayed for a cup of tea, a sit down and a chat. Also some phone calls about the bees and a nice call home. May also have pinged a few texts back and forth to/from the absent Lizzie. It all made for a perfectly good day.


Care Towers said...

I may be over-simplifying this, but to move a hive 10 feet, can't you just do four moves of 2'6" over a few days? Or does the reorientation take longer than that?

Matt Care said...

It's thought to be about 21 days to forget the map, but, yes, people do do the slow walk and the bees keep up. I was just using 10 feet 'loosely'. When the distances get longer. like from one side of the apiary to the other, it becomes quicker to do the two big moves in/out. It is also less work. Anyway welcome to the world of beekeeping where, famously, if you get 3 keepers in one room you will produce ten opinions. You probably know people like that!