A Tale of Two Hives

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We were rejigging the strawberry patch. I have made an Observation about the vegetable patch. During a couple of weekends in late spring, They put plants into the ground, and then spend all the rest of the summer pulling other plants out.

Andy says its called Weeding. It seems to take up an inordinate amount of time.

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There was a strange noise – it started as a low hum, and got louder and louder. And then a black cloud came low over the trees. Aaarghh, a swarm of bees coming straight at us. Run for cover.

We made it indoors and luckily they buzzed off quite quickly. But from whence had they come? Time to check out our hives.

Hive Bee was fine and dandy. Lots of bees and lots of lovely, sticky honey.

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Sadly the same could not be said for Hive A. It was completely infested with Wax Moth, and it must have been our bees who had just emigrated. The hive was in a right old state. Quite repulsive. Upsetting. And needing some urgent action.

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As there were no bees in residence, no viable colony, it was an easy decision to simply destroy the whole lot. All the frames were thrown on the bonfire and burnt.

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And the shell of the hive thoroughly cleaned out. It will be treated with a blow torch too to get rid of any remaining eggs. And will be beepopulated next year.

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To end on a happy note, here is a Carpeneter Bee either pollinating or being pollenated by a Passion Flower.

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Walking with Destiny

One of my very favouritest places in all the world is The Lake.

We go there often, and run and run. And swim and paddle. Chase fish. And birds.

Genepi rescues drowning sticks. Often we have the whole place to ourselves.

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Today we had some Special Visitors.

Let me introduce Destiny, my No. 1 lady. Mother of my children. We had a planned pregnancy. Six kids in all.

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She brought our daughter, Gibsie (Genepi’s sister), together with the Big Aunties, Eden and Delphi.

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And we all went to The Lake, all 6 of us. Plus Dallas and Isabel, our chauffeurs.

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Genepi and Gibsie played racing games. They are both dead fast. And they love being together.

Destiny did sticks. I did my own thing. And the Big Aunties had a play fight.

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Eden is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog (with a hint of polar bear). Delphi is a softie, with gorgeous eyes (don’t tell Destiny I said that).

 

Reine Claude keep falling on my head

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Reine Claude plums (aka Greengages)

I’m avoiding walking under the ancient pear tree at the moment. Too hazardous. If  the falling pears don’t get you on the noggin, then the wasps feasting on the rotten fruit might.

So, when Andy and Dallas started collecting the plums, I was hesitant to participate, being au fait with the perils to be had in an orchard. Indeed, for every plum plucked by hand, two fell of their own accord.

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Genepi is more gung ho than me, so braved standing near the trees.

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They collected basket after basket of fruit, mostly greengages, but also some Bramley apples, dark plums and pears. Now the kitchen table is laden. Question is what to do with it all. Dallas ran a few ideas past me, but frankly, for fruit-based recipes I’m next to useless.

Although I do like to help in the kitchen.

We have just finished a big batch of Greengage, Apple, Chilli & Ginger chutney and some Greengage & Vanilla Jam.

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Mouse helped to reduce the glut, by turning a plum into a football. For about 2 minutes. Then it squished all over the tiles.

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Buried Treasure

Yesterday we were playing, I mean investigating, down at the Fallen Oak.

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The Fallen Oak toppled over about 2 years ago. It was a sad moment, because it was a magnificent tree and old. Dallas measured its girth. It came out at 360 cms. Which roughly translates to be about 180 years old.  This tree started life at around the time that Queen Victoria ascended to the throne, Chicago became a city, the first steamboats crossed the Atlantic and Lea & Perrins invented Worcester sauce.

The good news is that its not completely dead. One half of it still has leaves. I’m told that they call this a Phoenix Oak.

One of us must have dislodged some earth, because Dallas suddenly noticed a little turquoise coloured box. Sat inside a bigger rusty tin. What could it be? A late Roman lunch box? A Pre French Revolution tin of cookies (Bourbon biscuits)?

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Dallas said we should come back, and do an Archaeological Dig. She said Dig. Yippee.

So today we set to. In archaeological terms, the preparation was shabby. Slapdash. No theodolite. No datum. No geofizz. Just a trowel. And the wrong sort of trowel at that.

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Im detecting very little but pure iron oxide

Well, Sutton Hoo it wasn’t. No golden doubloons, no exquisite religious relics. Just a handful of old rusty washers, some nails and some random bits of ironwork. What an anticlimax!

Oh well, at least we had fun in the sun.

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Spoil sport farmer

Genepi and I love playing hide and seek. But they’ve only gone and destroyed our favourite field.

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Me hiding – can you spot me?

For  a few months now, part of our favourite walk has involved this field – if I’m not mistaken its wheat. Its fun to run through, and there’s loads of animal scents to be had. I like to leap up and down like a young gazelle.

Anyway, for some reason, its all been chopped down. A big, yellow, noisy machine came this afternoon, creating clouds of dust. It munched through the stems.

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Wanton destruction. There should be a law against it.

I guess we’ll have to invent a new game. Probably one that involves sunflowers.

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