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Bertwhistle
30 May 2024 21:17:32
Our no mow May sector is intriguing as although Bess & I are fairly good at early shoot identification there is all sorts of growth waiting to show its true colours. Meanwhile this extraordinary May has meant first cucumbers harvested and eaten, marrows, blackcurrants, broads and peas set, and absolute abundance in the garden (Roger- you'd have a field day with the bees!). Bald patches in the lawn from a dog winter are completely gone. Most appkes ever set on the Cox but plum babies have been woodpigeoned into oblivion!
Bertie, Itchen Valley.
'We'll never see 40 celsius in this country'.
Roger Parsons
31 May 2024 05:08:15
Our "No Mow" patch is looking good - lots of yellow rattle and the ragged robin doing very well in the shady corner. It is humming with bumblebees, but honeybees seem to be missing - even though a swarm went into our redundant chimney recently. Thrift and Long-horned poppies are thriving on their gravel, with new plants popping up too. Our resident Cudweed seems to be doing well in "the cracks". The badger and hedgehog seem to be boycotting us just now - not sure why. All we need is some nice weather to enjoy! Today is overcast and very windy - again! 😬
I gave up beekeeping 4 years ago after cardiac by-pass surgery. It seemed unwise to be lone working in out of the way fields with poor phone signal coverage. Uneven ground, slips and trips, carrying heavy supers, etc. I do miss them - but not the work involved. If you reckon to get 80-100lbs of honey per hive - quite achievable - that's a lot of jars to fill, store, carry about and sell! 😲
I shall nip over to The Green to tidy up the 9 Sqn RAF Memorial there ahead of D-Day commemoration here on Sunday. They were involved. The pigeons and jackdaws constantly crap on the propeller!
https://bardney-group.parish.lincolnshire.gov.uk/homepage/31/ix-bomber-squadron-raf-war-memorial 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
01 June 2024 10:38:37

Our "No Mow" patch is looking good - lots of yellow rattle and the ragged robin doing very well in the shady corner. It is humming with bumblebees, but honeybees seem to be missing - even though a swarm went into our redundant chimney recently. Thrift and Long-horned poppies are thriving on their gravel, with new plants popping up too. Our resident Cudweed seems to be doing well in "the cracks". The badger and hedgehog seem to be boycotting us just now - not sure why. All we need is some nice weather to enjoy! Today is overcast and very windy - again! 😬
I gave up beekeeping 4 years ago after cardiac by-pass surgery. It seemed unwise to be lone working in out of the way fields with poor phone signal coverage. Uneven ground, slips and trips, carrying heavy supers, etc. I do miss them - but not the work involved. If you reckon to get 80-100lbs of honey per hive - quite achievable - that's a lot of jars to fill, store, carry about and sell! 😲
I shall nip over to The Green to tidy up the 9 Sqn RAF Memorial there ahead of D-Day commemoration here on Sunday. They were involved. The pigeons and jackdaws constantly crap on the propeller!
https://bardney-group.parish.lincolnshire.gov.uk/homepage/31/ix-bomber-squadron-raf-war-memorial 

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 



A fellow beekeeper in his mid-70s maintained over 20 hives in his back garden in New Malden. He sold nucs and honey, using the proceeds to sponsor a family he met during a trip to Africa, helping them set up their own local business—a truly commendable act.

Beekeeping is incredibly demanding work, particularly when managing swarms and dealing with aggressive bees. Once, a colony followed me for a couple of hundred yards. As I approached my house, I had to kill individual bees clinging to my outfit before I could remove my gear and go inside. It was a very daunting experience.
Kingston Upon Thames
Roger Parsons
01 June 2024 12:28:53

A fellow beekeeper in his mid-70s maintained over 20 hives in his back garden in New Malden. He sold nucs and honey, using the proceeds to sponsor a family he met during a trip to Africa, helping them set up their own local business—a truly commendable act.

Beekeeping is incredibly demanding work, particularly when managing swarms and dealing with aggressive bees. Once, a colony followed me for a couple of hundred yards. As I approached my house, I had to kill individual bees clinging to my outfit before I could remove my gear and go inside. It was a very daunting experience.

Originally Posted by: Sasa 

20 hives is a lot of work! I do have friends who work on that scale. My max was 8 hives which represented a potential harvest of some 800 lbs of honey.
I recall a chat with an African honey hunter. He used to raid wild bee colonies high up in trees, built under the branches. He explained he'd strip to a basic "loincloth" and then cover himself with wood ash, before climbing up with some burning material to smoke the bees. The cut honeycomb was put into baskets and lowered to the ground.
When I asked about the reason for removing clothes he said that the bees only got tangled up in them and got even madder.  A bare skin dusted with ash seemed to work better. Clothes made climbing more clumsy. He added: "I also wear a "ju-ju" that stops them stinging!" 😁 Belt and braces? Worth a try, I guess. I never went honey hunting, but did work on a project with KTB hives in Africa.
https://www.beekeepingnaturally.com.au/natural-beekeeping/the-kenyan-top-bar-hive/ 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
01 June 2024 13:57:13

20 hives is a lot of work! I do have friends who work on that scale. My max was 8 hives which represented a potential harvest of some 800 lbs of honey.
I recall a chat with an African honey hunter. He used to raid wild bee colonies high up in trees, built under the branches. He explained he'd strip to a basic "loincloth" and then cover himself with wood ash, before climbing up with some burning material to smoke the bees. The cut honeycomb was put into baskets and lowered to the ground.
When I asked about the reason for removing clothes he said that the bees only got tangled up in them and got even madder.  A bare skin dusted with ash seemed to work better. Clothes made climbing more clumsy. He added: "I also wear a "ju-ju" that stops them stinging!" 😁 Belt and braces? Worth a try, I guess. I never went honey hunting, but did work on a project with KTB hives in Africa.
https://www.beekeepingnaturally.com.au/natural-beekeeping/the-kenyan-top-bar-hive/ 

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 



Brave African chap but no tx for me!

I attended a training course rean by that chap who was on TV. He has hives all over London incl central London.

He said some of them wewre based in areas like Brixton and he could smell certain substances/pollen in the honey! Not sure if he wa sjoking or not but my nose is definatelly not that sensative.
Kingston Upon Thames
Roger Parsons
02 June 2024 01:40:33

Brave African chap but no tx for me!

I attended a training course rean by that chap who was on TV. He has hives all over London incl central London.

He said some of them were based in areas like Brixton and he could smell certain substances/pollen in the honey! Not sure if he was joking or not but my nose is definatelly not that sensative.

Originally Posted by: Sasa 

I suspect sensitivity in sense of smell varies with the individual. I had no evidence of that suggestion myself.  However, pollen colour and timing of flowering is always a good giveaway WRT the plants being worked. Honey colour and physical characteristics help too. The first link below has some errors and typos. The second link refers of the pollen being carried by the bee.
https://lbka.org.uk/flowers_month.html 
https://sheffieldbeekeepers.org.uk/tools/pollen-chart/ 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
02 June 2024 05:49:21

I suspect sensitivity in sense of smell varies with the individual. I had no evidence of that suggestion myself.  However, pollen colour and timing of flowering is always a good giveaway WRT the plants being worked. Honey colour and physical characteristics help too. The first link below has some errors and typos. The second link refers of the pollen being carried by the bee.
https://lbka.org.uk/flowers_month.html 
https://sheffieldbeekeepers.org.uk/tools/pollen-chart/ 

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 




Nice one. Here near London, we’re fortunate to have a wide variety of flowers blooming for probably more than ten months of the year. In contrast, the countryside, being more remote, likely has a different flowering pattern and fewer choices.
Kingston Upon Thames
Roger Parsons
02 June 2024 08:04:53

Nice one. Here near London, we’re fortunate to have a wide variety of flowers blooming for probably more than ten months of the year. In contrast, the countryside, being more remote, likely has a different flowering pattern and fewer choices.

Originally Posted by: Sasa 

Being near flowering trees and shrubs is always a helpful bonus. The sequence of agricultural crops is useful too. I liked to get my hives on to Borage. Pumpkins are also good. Field Beans and Oil Seed Rape were our staples. All those honeys were very characteristic. You are making me feel very nostalgic!
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
02 June 2024 10:19:41

Being near flowering trees and shrubs is always a helpful bonus. The sequence of agricultural crops is useful too. I liked to get my hives on to Borage. Pumpkins are also good. Field Beans and Oil Seed Rape were our staples. All those honeys were very characteristic. You are making me feel very nostalgic!

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 



I've never tasted oilseed rape since it's not available here, but I've heard it's very difficult to extract.

We go skiing in Val d'Isère, France, which is at a high altitude. I love buying honey there, even though it's very expensive. Since we usually drive to our ski trips, we tend to bring more than we need, which has become a travel habit for us.
Kingston Upon Thames
Roger Parsons
02 June 2024 10:28:17

I've never tasted oilseed rape since it's not available here, but I've heard it's very difficult to extract.

We go skiing in Val d'Isère, France, which is at a high altitude. I love buying honey there, even though it's very expensive. Since we usually drive to our ski trips, we tend to bring more than we need, which has become a travel habit for us.

Originally Posted by: Sasa 

Oilseed Rape honey needs swift extraction before it sets in the comb and timing is critical. Take it too early with a high level of nectar and it will "go winy" and be wasted. You test by shaking the frames and seeing how much nectar dribbles out! You soon learn when to go for it.

A day can make all the difference between success and failure. There are ways to deal with it if it sets, but they are time-consuming extra jobs and tedious to do. Properly dealt with it is an excellent product. OSR has completely changed the country beekeepers' year. My Dad used to do his extractions in batches, mostly towards the end of the season. If you tried that now you'd be in trouble. 🤣
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
16 June 2024 10:47:04
Observations about the recent spring and current summer in the garden.

1. I have two sunshade parasols I can erect but so far this year they have remained in the shed.
2. Plants grow well in these conditions (apart from when it is windy) except cannas and basil, which are slow to grow outside this year.
3. Molluscs are doing well this year. I’m glad I plant hostas in pots with Vaseline smeared around the outside rims.

Edit.
Oh, and one last observation. I have yet to experience this spring/summer, a dawn to dusk period when the sun shines continuously without a cloud in the sky.
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
Roger Parsons
16 June 2024 11:08:57

Observations about the recent spring and current summer in the garden.

1. I have two sunshade parasols I can erect but so far this year they have remained in the shed.
2. Plants grow well in these conditions (apart from when it is windy) except cannas and basil, which are slow to grow outside this year.
3. Molluscs are doing well this year. I’m glad I plant hostas in pots with Vaseline smeared around the outside rims.

Edit.
Oh, and one last observation. I have yet to experience this spring/summer, a dawn to dusk period when the sun shines continuously without a cloud in the sky.

Originally Posted by: NMA 


We got away lightly last week while our windows were fixed Nick. Now I need to get the mower out and then tackle "Let it bloom June."
Did you get my PM on "Dairies", Nick?
R.
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Retron
16 June 2024 12:30:40
I saw an interesting article in the Telegraph earlier, suggesting that keeping bees is the new way men celebrate their midlife crisis! Hadn't realised it was so trendy TBH, and it made me think of this thread. 😁

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/life/male-midlife-crisis/ 

I was out in the garden earlier and managed to fill half the "garden waste" bin without really trying - everything's growing like mad due to the weather (not too hot or too cold, regular doses of rain, lots of sun). Mind you, much of that was one massive thistle... there's a "wild area" in the garden, where I let the nettles etc grow, but they've been a bit too enthusiastic and have started crowding an apple tree sapling I planted in the autumn. This particular specimen was a real monster - taller than me, around 6ft I'd say, and spreading out a good 3ft diameter with very sharp, spiny leaves... they went through my supposedly tough garden gloves without even trying. I ended up using a tree lopper to chop it down , and used some of the long grass to wrap it up to carry back...

Looking online it seems to be one of these... but a fair bit taller than 1.5m.

https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/spear-thistle 

Seems they're valued by the birds and the bees, so I'll let the remaining ones be - they're annual plants, so those particular ones won't be back next year (even if their descendants will be!)


 
Leysdown, north Kent
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
16 June 2024 13:14:28

We got away lightly last week while our windows were fixed Nick. Now I need to get the mower out and then tackle "Let it bloom June."
Did you get my PM on "Dairies", Nick?
R.

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 


I've just seen it Roger. I'll have to have a think about it and look into it in more detail.
I've been up to my eyes and ears in shells recently. It is all go now and I will try and send an email in due course.
One of the hardest projects I've curated.
Nick
 
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
16 June 2024 13:17:47

I saw an interesting article in the Telegraph earlier, suggesting that keeping bees is the new way men celebrate their midlife crisis! Hadn't realised it was so trendy TBH, and it made me think of this thread. 😁

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/life/male-midlife-crisis/ 

I was out in the garden earlier and managed to fill half the "garden waste" bin without really trying - everything's growing like mad due to the weather (not too hot or too cold, regular doses of rain, lots of sun). Mind you, much of that was one massive thistle... there's a "wild area" in the garden, where I let the nettles etc grow, but they've been a bit too enthusiastic and have started crowding an apple tree sapling I planted in the autumn. This particular specimen was a real monster - taller than me, around 6ft I'd say, and spreading out a good 3ft diameter with very sharp, spiny leaves... they went through my supposedly tough garden gloves without even trying. I ended up using a tree lopper to chop it down , and used some of the long grass to wrap it up to carry back...

Looking online it seems to be one of these... but a fair bit taller than 1.5m.

https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/spear-thistle 

Seems they're valued by the birds and the bees, so I'll let the remaining ones be - they're annual plants, so those particular ones won't be back next year (even if their descendants will be!)

 

Originally Posted by: Retron 


If anyone offers you some bargain-basement bean seeds, think twice about planting them Darren. Even if they are 'lucky' ones.
Sounds like you need to construct a compost bin too.
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
16 June 2024 13:26:33

If anyone offers you some bargain-basement bean seeds, think twice about planting them Darren. Even if they are 'lucky' ones.
Sounds like you need to construct a compost bin too.

Originally Posted by: NMA 



Are you guys growing any vegetables at all?

I am a proud of owner of 3 allotments so its a really big hoby of mine. I really miss the authentic food taste which I was brought up on.
Kingston Upon Thames
Roger Parsons
16 June 2024 13:26:53
Ah - the pleasures of compost bins. We had enormous pleasure enjoying our local grass snakes breeding in them. They creche their eggs. One year my meticulous other half counted over 100 hatched eggs. 😁
https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/reptiles-and-amphibians/grass-snake/ 

 
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Retron
16 June 2024 14:06:57

If anyone offers you some bargain-basement bean seeds, think twice about planting them Darren. Even if they are 'lucky' ones.
Sounds like you need to construct a compost bin too.

Originally Posted by: NMA 


Hah, memories of being pressed into service watering the runner beans each summer... they grew like mad, too, up the strings and then over the top of the bean tripod, the whole thing turning into a mass of leaves and beans. We always ended up with way more beans than we could eat, and more than we could give away too... now the garden is mine, I don't grow beans.

And then there was the time my dad planted seed potatoes in the ground, much to my mum's annoyance. They kept popping up randomly for the next 10 years or so...

I've no need for compost myself, which is why I don't have a compost bin. I've never once fertilised any of the plants or flowers (nor used any pesticides) and they all seem to grow really well... my farmer neighbour has been offering me horse poo, too, in a variety of grades, but again - no need. Quite why the soil is so fertile, I don't know... it's just clay, although the area would have been farmland 80+ years ago, before it was divvied up into plots for housing.

(And talking of farmland, my neighbour - who'd popped over to collect some pine cones for a craft project she's working on - spotted some barley growing in my garden. She had her Lab with her (coincidentally called Barley) and he "watered" it... not sure it did the barley much good, though!)

Three pictures of interest, all from the wild part of the garden.

1 - a profusion of daisy-like flowers, I've forgotten what they're called. There are masses of them this year.
2 - barley, not usually found in a domestic garden. The nearest farmland is 500 feet away, so that's quite some going!
3 - taken at my eye level (5ft 8 ) - another of those massive spear thistles. 1.5m max, as per that other site - hah!

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/g1.jpg? 
UserPostedImage

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/g2.jpg? 
UserPostedImage

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/g3.jpg? 
UserPostedImage
Leysdown, north Kent
Retron
16 June 2024 14:12:47

Are you guys growing any vegetables at all?
I am a proud of owner of 3 allotments so its a really big hoby of mine. I really miss the authentic food taste which I was brought up on.

Originally Posted by: Sasa 


Not me, although I do have various fruit trees: apple, pear, plum, cherry, as well as raspberries and lots (and lots) of blackberries. The birds are currently having a bit of barney over the cherries... it's rare that any survive to be eaten by me!
Leysdown, north Kent
Ulric
16 June 2024 14:23:07
We've been for a walk through local fields today. In several locations where land is scheduled for development, it has been left fallow and is covered with a profusion of poppies and other flowers. We realised as we walked that there were no bees evident and looking and listening carefully revealed few insects of any description. On a warm day like today, I'd expect to be able to hear the insects in such places as much as I could see them. Silence.

 
Three conspiracy theorists walk into a bar. You can't tell me that was just a coincidence!
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