Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sunny Days.......

The Primrose ( Primula vulgaris) has to be one of my favourite spring flowers. When we moved into this house, fourteen years ago, there were no wild flowers in the grounds. Now we have Primies, violets( blue ones and white) stitchwort ( greater and lesser), yellow pimpernell, native bluebell, native daffodil, wild roses, kingcups, and three types of native orchids. Most of them have arrived by themselves. ( Probably from long-dormant seeds, or just over-mowed, while retaining a rootstock.) I introduced the roses, and the native daffodils.
All of these are enjoyed every morning, at the moment, as I walk the dogs. This glorious weather has to be relished while it lasts.

I finished this lovely fitted neck-warmer some time ago, ( 6th January), but could not find buttons to suit, or fit. I finally found some beads in a craft shop in Honiton. The pattern is called Puderosa ( it means modest), by Lia Moya. The yarn is Bigwigs Angora, knitted on 3.5mm needles. It took less than one 25g ball. It is lovely to handle, and wonderful to wear.

A repeat of the Swirling Gauntlets... this pair for, and modelled by, Nick. They are to go with the Peerie Flooers hat.

As the weather has been so fine, we have taken the opportunity to do the Spring Clean of the Beehives. We went into the Winter with six colonies, all of which had been treated for Varroa. The autumn feeding had been done, and we were confident that we had done all we possibly could to see the bees safely through the winter.

Imagine our horror, then, to find that we had lost three colonies! We have never lost a colony overwinter ( or at all ) before. We did continue, and complete the spring clean. But with heavy hearts. I wrote up the bee diary, and we spent a good deal of time discussing what could have gone wrong.

Looking back over last year, we had re-queened those three colonies. One had been a very strong colony, which were very bad tempered, and a real trial to handle. It is quite likely that they did not like having their own Queen removed, and killed the new one. The other two...well, we are still wondering. They did not starve, though. All had plenty of stores.

The other three colonies are doing very well. All have an active Queen, and lots of brood. The workers are out, collecting pollen as soon as the day is warm enough. ( see above, worker collecting pollen from Hazel catkins).