It’s been a while since I shared an update of what we’ve been up to at home but I discovered something exciting in the garden this evening that’s prompted this post…
We have bees!!!
A neighbouring beekeeper (John) heard recently that we were interested in keeping bees so he dropped a beehive up “just in case”. Apparently bees like to swarm at this time of year and as it’s quite expensive to buy a ‘nuke’ of bees, a swarm that finds you is a lucky bonus.
As it was such a beautiful evening I headed outside with the camera just before tea to take a few snapshots and stopped in my tracks as I suddenly noticed a group of bees surrounding the hive. We don’t yet have any beekeeping kit so I didn’t venture too close but they are definitely honeybees. John has advised that we stay respectfully away from them for the moment and he’ll call by and check them over the weekend. Although we attended a beekeeping morning last year our knowledge is scant so John’s offered to teach us as much as he can about how to keep them. Fingers crossed they’re here to stay and not just visiting… I’ll keep you posted!
A swarm of bees in May Is worth a load of hay.
A swarm of bees in June Is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm of bees in July Is not worth a fly.
Elsewhere in the garden there is a lot going on. The flowers are starting to bloom in the front garden and although quite wild (I haven’t weeded much) it’s looking quite pretty.
A very bold fox has visited during the day time and took our last remaining duck 🙁 and the little black hen which leaves us for now with the big rooster, a little brown hen and a very broody white hen in the main run.
We’ve separated the other hen who had three chicks that are growing quickly and are keeping them safely enclosed and safe from our cheeky young cats and hopefully the fox too.
A couple of weeks ago Alfie arrived from Oldfarm with a couple of young boars that we’re fattening up for the freezer.
Although we struggled a bit with sending Rashers and Sausages off to the slaughterhouse last year, the taste and flavour of home reared pigs is second to none and knowing they had a happy life and not one squashed into an intensively reared unit means it will be difficult for us to ever buy commercially reared pork again.
In the veg patch growth is delayed but happening at last. I was late getting started but everything is coming on nicely now that we have some heat during the days, the odd downpour and a stretch in the evenings.
Outside the mangetout are managing to survive the slug attacks, unlike the kale seedlings that are struggling which means I’m constantly sowing more to replace them.
The broad beans are surrounded by poached egg flower (limnanthes) in an attempt to attract hoverflies that will eat the black bean aphid which is sure to appear as the plant’s soft tips develop. We may curse the wet weather when it arrives but the growth it encourages is worth it (in small doses.) The Sarpo Mira potatoes are coming along nicely, as are the onions and inside the polytunnel everything is flying up. We’re now enjoying picking the strawberries every morning for breakfast and the grapes are starting to form.
I still have a couple of beds empty that I’ll need to plant over the coming weeks if we’re to fill them. I’m hoping to get more kale out there as well as runner beans and in the polytunnel I’m scratching around looking for space to transplant the peppers and cherry tomatoes.
How’s your garden growing? Are you enjoying sitting outside and feeling the sunshine caress your skin?
Wonderful news about the bees and your garden looks lovely. We have planted very little this year but I may push my look and plant a few more seeds this weekend… just in case. My beloved lavender is starting to bloom so I am already planning what new things I will have with it this year and my herb garden is very happy, so too are our tummies 😉
I’d love a lavender path Naomi! I’ve a few lavender seedlings coming up but wish I’d sown more. I’d like to try making lavender biscuits and cupcakes, pillows and bath salts… There, getting carried away again. Looking forward to seeing what you’re up to 🙂
Great to see the bees arriving. Exciting times ahead for you Dee. Your garden looks amazing. Pinks and purples my favourite Summer colours. My poor forgotten garden is overgrown but beginning to sort it out now 🙂 Veggies beginning to show a bit of life, fruit trees bending with this years crop of apples, pears, plums, cherries, and baskets and tubs beginning to fill out nicely. All in all a busy Summer ahead.
It’s great to see it all perk up with the bit of sun and rain isn’t it Mary. You’re lucky to have so many fruit trees, something we struggle with at our elevation. I’m good at the pinks and purples but need to work at providing more autumn and winter colour, something I always forget about until the winter!
Garden looks fantastic Dee. Enjoy the silver spoon 🙂
Thanks Trevor 🙂 It’s come a long way from a semi derelict house with a bit of a field on the side. You’ll have to come visit one day. Our neighbour called up earlier and has confirmed that we do, indeed, have a small swarm in the hive. Feeling very excited and can’t wait to get a veil and gloves and look closer at it. He’s advised we wait about three weeks to see if the Queen’s in full egg laying production so will have a better idea then 🙂
Fab photos Dee – wish my garden looked as good and great to have pigs again. Our lambs will be off to the butcher soon, just have to book them in and work out how to get them there!
Just to mention though, while I know that most of the pig meat we buy in the supermarket isn’t free range, I’m not sure that many are squashed in nowadays. While commercial farmers have to keep an eye on their margins to ensure they earn a living, most of the big guys now have state of the art facilities and maximise their margins with efficiency rather than squashing them in. All farmers have to ensure that there is sufficient feed, light, air, ventilation (we do too) when finishing animals indoors as apart from being cruel (which we obviously don’t want to be) the animals just wouldn’t thrive if they were being bullied due to lack of space at the feed station etc.
I agree though, it is nice to KNOW that the meat you are eating had a good life 🙂
Having a swarm move in is a wonderful way to start with bees, congratulations! I find bees are the best gardeners companion, they have me completely bee-sotted!
Best of luck with them,
Thanks Kim, delighted here! Fingers crossed they’re a healthy hive and we’re now looking forward to the new journey 🙂
Congratulations on getting your first hive. We have quite a few of them here. I thing that bees are very complementary for gardens, good for the surrounding environment and checking a bee hive is very relaxing. So, I hope that you’ll get your bee suit soon 🙂
Thanks Karine, very excited and they’re still here. Looking forward to learning more 🙂
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What a beautiful piece of paradise you got there!
We haven’t tired of it since the day we moved here 🙂