Monday 10 June 2013

Youngest Daughter's fun day and a spot of bartering

YD had an interesting weekend looking after our smallholding. On Saturday she started the day by finding a newly hatched chick cheeping from the very top of the orchard chicken house. It was sitting with a few unhatched eggs making a huge noise. YD phoned me....."any ideas?"  "Are the eggs still warm? because if they are, mum is not far away" YD went towards the chick and eggs and a white screaming bird came back to "save" her baby and sort YD out! Once the mother had been identified (no brainer) YD covered the lot with a cloth and removed them to a safe pen in the barn, where they wouldn't be harassed by others, nor would the chicks throw themselves off the high-up box to their possible deaths.
After feeding the hens, chicks and rabbits she gave the lambs their bottles before watering the greenhouses and trays of veg plants waiting to be planted. After a spot of shopping for a BBQ she was hosting  that night in our fruit garden, she went into the front garden to watch the bees while she had a coffee. She, like us, can watch them for hours they are so interesting. She could hear that they were noisy and realised that our second hive was probably about to swarm! She then watched something I have never seen in 40 years of beekeeping. -- A swarm actually leaving the hive - I AM SO ENVIOUS!! I have seen many swarms as they are in the air and as they settle and sometimes when they fly away again, but never the moment they leave the hive.
Remembering that Gdson is now keeping bees she rang him " Mum and dad's bees have just swarmed"  "On our way" he says and within 20 mins he and his dad were in our front garden knocking the bees into a new hive, where they settled happily.(the bees that is!)
Here they are, they have knocked the bees from the pyracanthus and are placing a lid on the box which is on the ground among the golden rod and just a  few feet away from where we gathered a swarm from an apple tree last week.
When" all was safely gathered in " YD phoned us to tell us what had happened and that she thought that she had probably had enough excitement for one day!
 So we now have 2 extra hives. D and I had decided that we would probably sell a swarm, to keep our numbers manageable and perhaps realise a bit of cash.
 Gdson phoned us to tell us how friendly the bees were and how easy to box. He is currently working on some woodland management  and wondered if we fancied a spot of bartering ? He and his dad wanted another hive and we want logs for next winter.Can you see where this is going ?!
So a deal has been struck that suits us all. Gdson has collected his bees tonight and tomorrow D. will take the trailer for our wood.
And YD ? er.. I had better think of a deal for her too .. A demi-john of wine should do the trick I reckon !
And so to bed dear blogland friends
Thank you so much for visiting my blog


  1. What an amazing account of the swarm; so glad it all ended so well !

    1. we seem to be lucky with the swarms this year. Not the least because they increase the bees available for the gardens. While it is nice if we get honey, it is more important to have the bees for pollination of our fruit trees and beans (in particular)

  2. Isn't it odd what exciting things happen when you are not there! We used to have that when we had a proper smallholding and went away. Things I can remember are a goat kid got a broken leg, sheep would get out on the road, a passer by got stung by a bee and passed out!
    Good job the swarm settled in a accessible place.

    1. We have certainly been lucky with both the swarms haven't we?
      I am so glad that these "excitements" when YD is looking after the place as she was (obviously) bought up here and so little needs to be explained to her. She has seen so much of it before! When she was younger I think she may have been somewhat embarrassed at the way we live, but now I think she is quietly proud. (If I am wrong about that she will break her vow of blogging silence and put me right publicly !)