Saturday 27 April 2024

First "milestone"


 Firstly , many thanks for your kind comments to my last post.

Well , first milestone of "will I manage this place or wont I?"

As the sun came out late yesterday morning I looked down the garden and spotted a lot of activity on the front of a hive.


   So I'm wondering if the relatively rare 2024 sun had excited them or were they thinking of swarming. It's quite early for a swarm, but not unknown.

   Half an hour later they swarmed onto the small greenhouse. They were in three lumps, so for a while i couldn't make out if I had a prime swarm and a couple of casts (small secondary swarms) or a large swarm that had split as it landed. I  already had a hive set up and ready for a swarm, but if there were more I had nothing ready to use. I spent the next couple of hours having a sprockle through my gear  to see if I could cobble something up. Anyhow, two hours gave them time to make their mind up and they gradually started to merge into one.

 I have been the main beekeeper for a few years now as David hasn't been able to do most of the physical actions needed and a couple of years ago had an allergic reaction. However, he and I have kept bees together for over fifty years now and always discuss each situation and how it is going to be approached.   So this year I am on my own. I am perfectly capable of getting organised and catching a swarm independently ( Mind you when they are high up a tree it helps to have someone to foot the ladder or hold a box for me to drop some bees in - it is usually my youngest daughter, though many have been dragged in to help here)

SO, big girl pants on and off I set. I decided to talk to myself as I got ready, which helped. 

I took a couple of short videos that I thought might be of interest to a couple of women friends who are about to start beekeeping. ( I have tried to load these on here, but failed) This swarm is to to be one woman's first colony ..  enjoy Rissa! They are lovely dark bees and very friendly.

 You may have noted that I am observing No Mow May, which can be difficult when your neighbours have such tidy gardens . However, this year I will not have to wait quite so long to mow as the dandelions are early this year and the lady smocks have been out some time too.

   My vegetable patches are about ready to plant. Here is the top patch. Much thanks to my friend Helene who loves to dig... How can I refuse?!

So there we are, There will be much to do with the bees as the year progresses, but I reckon I will be okay. The trick is  " talk to yourself". So I guess I will look and sound even more like a crazy old woman as the year goes on.

If you read all through these ramblings , many thanks. If not no one can blame you!

Love Gill x


  1. Thank you Gill.
    I found your post really interesting and an encouragement to everyone who is suddenly forced into independent living.
    I have missed reading your posts.
    The Peak District is my home territory though I no longer live there.
    Please “ramble” on.

    1. Thank you. The Peak District really is a lovely place isn't it?

  2. Wonderful post! I give myself a daily talking to since losing my husband 18 months ago. He was only 59 and we thought we had many years of retirement ahead of us. So now, although I do occasionally get what I call "decision fatigue" I muddle my way through issues and it usually works out ok! One of our plans was to keep bees - I've shelved that idea for the moment but never say never.

    1. I understand what you mean by "decision fatigue" and I'm only a few weeks in. It's the fiddling little things I find my self ruminating over.
      I do love my bees and can't imagine being without them. Though I would't want to go back to 13 hives !

  3. How lovely to see the sun and your bees, its been depressingly wet here today. Had a huge tip run today, practically on 1st term names with the men working there. We are planning to downsize and move to Derbyshire, looking at Belper as it has everything we need and is only 10 minutes from our daughter. We've sold STC and are now house hunting. Wish us luck. Hugs Gill Xx

    1. Ha Ha tip runs are my twice weekly activity at the moment ( husband was a hoarder)
      Belper is a lovely place to live with lots of community stuff going on. I'm only 4 miles away, in fact our postal address is Belper.
      Do hope your plans work out for you. fingers crossed

  4. Keep rambling! This is a good place to share struggles. But do be careful up the ladder!

    1. Don't mind the little step ladder, but the twelve rung one I wouldn't attempt on my own.
      You are right. I had forgotten what a good community this can be

  5. Gill, I've been v-e-r-r-r-y slow to get 'round my blog visit circuit, and am so, so sorry to hear about your husband. Such a heartbreaking loss. And a good decision on your part to stay put and work it out how to move forward slowly.

    I love the idea of "No Mow May." Mowing is such a waste of time and energy just to "look good!" I prefer the natural wild grown look myself (although I am considered a bit of a nut by our neighbors).

  6. The no mow May thing is acceptable in the field, but rather looked down on in the gardens! I have to say I can't really allow that many dandelions in my veg patch tho'

  7. Hello, thank you for the bees. They are settling in well I think.
    I'm so pleased you are finding the time to continue your blog. I do enjoy hearing what you are up to, and what to plant when!
    Take care
    Rissa x