DECEMBER

I had intended to make a start assembling my new nuc’s.last week but the weather and other events had intervened to stop this happening. When my friend Charles was alive, I used to work in the garage at the meadow when it was raining or the weather was too cold to work outside. Unfortunately, for the moment at least, that is no longer possible which has rather limited my activities to the few days that it hasn’t rained. I had however managed to get all of the wood cut to size and yesterday, decided to bring the whole operation indoors. With my Workmate set up in the middle of the kitchen floor I set to work and a couple of hours later, saw the first one completed.

nuc 869

FIRST ROOF NEARLY FINISHED, SECOND SET TO GO

nuc 866

FIRST NUC MORE OR LESS  FINISHED, ONLY ANOTHER SIX TO GO!

All seven nuc’s.more or less finished, just a bit of titivation required. I’m really pleased with the results and can’t wait to get next year’s queen rearing up and running. An added bonus is that there are enough off-cuts of ply left over to make a number of dummy and escape boards, so as I said previously, good value and well worth the effort.

finished nuc's 004

THE FINISHED ARTICLE, CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THEM FULL OF BEES

The six remaining colonies are all looking good and, weather permitting, will each receive a block of candy later this week. Hopefully, that will be that for 2015. As always, there is plenty to keep me occupied until the new season starts. The new nuc’s. and all of the empty boxes will get a coat of Cuprinol and as always, there are frames to boil up and re-wax. I have my ekes and frames to assemble to convert the remaining hives to 14×12″ which in turn will free up the frames to populate my nuc’s.

With the disasters which have dogged us this year now firmly behind me I really am looking forward to the next. I have already ear-marked the colony which is to be the nursery for my queen rearing and I shall be keeping a close eye on them. As I write, I’m pleased to report, the other five are all looking good. A bit more activity than I would have liked to see for the time of year because, which obviously means that they are using the stores designed to last them until Spring. I regularly heft the hives and at the moment they all seem to have sufficient stores, never the less, I shall be keeping a careful eye on them.

I mentioned the activity around the apiary and how unusual it is for the time of year. Just to illustrate, yesterday, the 18th, at about four o’clock, I found myself at the meadow and decided to have a wander down for a quick look at the bees. Even though it was almost dark and there was a hint of drizzle in the air, there were bees coming and going from at least half of the hives. The other hives may well have been the same but from where I was standing and in the half light, it was difficult to see. It’s not only the bees that are being fooled by this unusual weather, there are daffodils in bloom not a million miles away and a neighbour tells me there are snowdrops in flower in her garden. All mighty strange!

Sitting here, reading back over this month’s paragraph, I’m reminded just how easy it is to get wrapped up in our own lives, to feel sorry for ourselves when things don’t go entirely to plan. OK, so I’ve lost a few bees and this season’s expected honey crop didn’t materialise, and I’ve done my share of moaning, but, sitting here watching the Breakfast News of those poor people in Cumbria, who are being flooded for the third time, and this time, just two days before Christmas. Thinking back to last year when it was a lot closer to home, on our own Somerset levels, and of the poor unfortunates in some of the third world countries for whom this sort of hardship is a way of life, somehow, brings the whole thing into prospective. Time to count my blessings I think.

I wan’t to thank you for following my inept stumbling’s through our world of bee-keeping, for yet another year, and to thank those of you who have contacted me. If my Blog has done nothing other than re-assure you that making silly mistakes and often over-looking the obvious, comes “with the job”, it will, if nothing else, illustrate just how forgiving the honeybee is. I can imagine, if bees had eyebrows, how they would collectively raise them and roll their eyes when they see me approach. I’m sure I hear them occasionally  whisper,” Oh no, not ‘im again”, but then, as I said, they are forgiving if nothing else.

I look forward to being with you again in the new year and hope you have the Happiest of Christmas’s and that next year fulfils all of your hopes and dreams.

Best wishes, Geoff.