“Another May new buds and flowers shall bring: Ah! why has happiness no second Spring?” – Charlotte Turner Smith
This spring certainly keeps bringing. The weather continues to be fantastic for the bees. The recent rain has been welcome. This enables the plants to draw up water and increase the nectar flow in the flowers.
In turn this ensures the bees supply continues to come.
The hives are still doing well, and the bees continue to build up their honey stores. Hopefully at the end of May, I’ll be able to harvest the first honey crop of 2020
Last year I housed a honey bee swarm I collected from the local area. On returning, I put the swarm into a new hive with about half the intended frames I had to hand. I needed to assemble more and intended to put the remaining frames in the following day.
However, I didn’t get the chance to return to the hive for a couple of days. At this point the colony had drawn wild comb which was hanging from the crown board (the lid on the top of the hive).
In a dilemma, I decided to leave the hive until the following season and sort it out then.
Yesterday, was the day. In the main picture you can see 5 pieces of wild comb. Each of these were packed with brood (growing baby bees).
I took three pieces of the wild comb and attached each piece into a frame using elastic bands (not sure how this will work). I then transferred these to a new hive with new frames. The new hive was put back in the same place as the original hive.
I couldn’t find the queen, but hopefully she was somewhere amongst the existing frames or was brushed off into the new hive as I removed each piece of wild comb.
Now all tidy and manageable, the hive can be easily inspected. Next week, I will go in and see if I can find the queen or evidence that she is still laying.
We have done a lot of work to the house and the out buildings. Moving a lot of stone, roof tiles and bricks we have discovered all sorts of things, including little pockets of history.
Most of the bricks and roof tiles which were stacked up appeared to have been from outbuildings that had fallen into ruin. Most of the bricks and tiles were unmarked or branded. Interestingly we have found a batch of roof tiles & the odd brick stamped with Lauder & Smith Brick & Tile Works, Barnstaple.
It turns out this tile works was about 3 miles away from Chilcotts Farm in an area of Barnstaple called Pottington. The pottery was in business for 38 years from 1876 to 1914.
I am guessing the start of the First World War in 1914, was the reason for the demise of the company.
We haven’t researched the age of the property, but we thought it was mid 1800s. The farm house, isn’t built of bricks, but rather a rubble construction with render. I am guessing the Lauder & Smith bricks and tiles were brought in at a later date and used for an outbuilding.
Even though we are in lockdown, it could be worse! The weather is fantastic! The sun and warmth maybe shining in through the windows, or you have the opportunity to sit outside ….. it could be worse ….. it could be raining!
This morning we sat outside and had a lovely breakfast with homemade jam made with homegrown fruit!
Spring is gathering momentum, and the spring blossom is beginning to erupt with flower buds bulging and about to explode. The bees are out and about on warm days looking for blossom and sources of water.
I am frantically trying to get prepared. This new hive is ready to hopefully house another colony of bees in the coming months.
I still need to put together loads of frames to replace old wax, but also to allow for expansion and new colonies. Not much time left, but I am sure it will come together and we will be ready.