Unsustainable Beekeeping

I started my beekeeping journey back in 2009, when following a particularly interesting module of my Natural Sciences degree with the Open University, I learnt about superorganisms and eusociality, aka colonial insects. I realised that it was possible to keep one’s very own social insects – honey bees! – but I quickly became confused and disillusioned by the instructions I was given for looking after … Continue reading Unsustainable Beekeeping

Thermosolar High Summer Update

The bees have been rather challenged by the weather this year and my hives have seemingly plateaued after a slow start. Dealing with hot, cold, wind and wet needs resilient bees, and I was interested to see how the Thermosolar bees did this year. The site looks great. I love this sort of unmanaged management and it shows what happens when you actually just leave … Continue reading Thermosolar High Summer Update

Meadow flowers and the Thermosolar hives

It was a rather murky day for my visit to the Thermosolar bees, but the meadow areas were brimming with bees and butterflies. Marbled White, Meadow Brown, a couple of Small Skippers were flitting above the flowers and grasses, joined by a variety of bees and flies. There were also numerous banded snails which looked extremely pretty against the daisies. I walked through the thigh-high … Continue reading Meadow flowers and the Thermosolar hives

Drakes

In a previous post, I wrote how I was feeling chuffed that I had managed to pick two females from a batch of unsexed ducklings. Hmm. I was using the beak colour identification which is apparently pretty failsafe…for ducklings under 3 days old. The yellow/pink beaks of the females and dark grey beaks of the males swap over after a while, so pale beaks in … Continue reading Drakes

Moths and Ducks

We have just had the solstice here, although as often happens with the longest day, the cloud cover was so pronounced it wasn’t particularly obvious! There has been copious rainfall, but at least the ducks are happy. I keep ducks mainly because they are always so enthusiastic and contented with rain and mud, unlike the chickens who get themselves in to a profound sulk. They … Continue reading Moths and Ducks

High Summer at Shawpits

It’s taken a while, but it’s lovely to have some proper summer weather. There haven’t been many swarm calls which has meant I’ve been able to focus on some other garden projects which I didn’t get round to last year despite going literally nowhere for 15 months…anyone else in that situation? My friend helped my tie in the roses (that’s to say he did it … Continue reading High Summer at Shawpits