Friday, 31 March 2017

Some plums are in nlossom

A quick spot of weeding in the allotment yesterday.  It was nice to see that some of the plum trees are in Bloom but the apples have not even opened their leaves yet.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Overwintering hives and nucs

A mild winter so far. This week has seen the first snow flurries in Yorkshire and freezing temperatures. Checked the bees last Sunday and temperatures were 10 degrees celcius. Very warm indeed. Below is national hive over wintering on a double brood and a nuclei plus a wide shot of some of the hives

Double brood box - national hive

Paynes 6 frame poly nuc box

Wide shot of some of the hives in the apiary

Monday, 11 June 2012

11 degrees C and flying bees

It might be cool but they are flying, 11 degrees C and 8pm. It has been cool all day at South Kirkby but this colony is very active. Shame it is the feisty colony as well.

all the other colonies were quiet at the front and nothing flying in

I popped over to my Leeds apiary, that is near to a small ditch. It is maybe 5ft-6ft below the apiary. Today due to the very heavy rain fall last night it was nearly level with the apiary floor. It wont I hope get any higher as firstly their is a pump house near by that should not let it and secondly if it reaches the same height as the apiary floor there are miles of fields around that it would also flood, so getting any higher would be quiet difficult if it did , the hives would be ok.

This is a shot from about 8 days ago. You can see the ditch at the back. This is the nearest colony. The ditch is a lot fuller now. I must try and get a shot of the ditch full up.

Wakefield, England, has been cool all day around 13/14 degrees maybe. no rain but generally dull.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

It makes you sweat

It didn't work out well to start with

About three weeks ago, I found one swarm cell in this colony, so I performed an artificial swarm. The problem was I could not find the queen, which isn't great It was on 4 boxes to start with.

So I took the swarm cell and some brood and stores and left it on the original site (which is where the floor is in the picture) in 1 box and the other 3 boxes I moved to the left of the original position and turned it round 180 degrees and was confident the queen was in these three boxes

On the original site I also added another brood box because I "assumed" lots and lots off flying bees would go back there. A week later I went back to check on my success story to find that in the box on the original site there was hardly any bees never mind 2 boxes worth and all the flying bees had found there way back to the original queen that I didnt find in the box I moved.

Out of annoyance all I could think to do was merge all the boxes back together to make this monster you see below.  Doesn't it look so serene. It didn't stay that way.

National Hive made up of 5 brood boxes

Any how as I was going through I was very happy to see that there was an awful lot of bees in these 5 boxes. As you can see below. Note the flying bees in the background. There was lot of flying bees about

Apis Millifera in a National Brood box

This is a close up shot of one of the frames out of the box. I have a small metal grab that I can pinch them whilst in the box and lift them out. It is so so. I don't use it much but it is great for when I want to take pictures.

Single National hive frame and brood

I shortened the stack of 5 to 4. The bottom box on the right had the least in with about 3 frames not being used at this end. The second and third boxes were full of bees and the top box once I merged it with the fifth box that I took away had quite a lot of honey in it but still had spare frames in. Over all, a very strong colony with lots of potential. Although I will say a bit feisty and they do tend to follow which is not a good trait in bees at all. 

Open National hive - 5 boxes now down to 4

In the end it worked out well. The queen cell I had seen 3 weeks earlier I now believe to be a supercedure cell. Temporarily splitting the colony did not appear to harm it in any way. There was no more supercedure queen cells or swarm cells on this inspection. However if they only had one supercedure cell as appeared before then in this box of bees that could prove extremely hard to spot.

By the way I have other strong colonies in the apiary. The shot below is one after an inspection as they have a tendancy to pour out of the hive

Apis Millifera - The Western Honey Bee

I will say it is all good fun.

Weather at South Kirkby today was cool at around 15 degrees Celsius. It rained in the morning on and off but in the afternoon during this inspection it was bright, clear and reasonably warm. It took a couple of hours to to do some quick and detailed inspections across 7 boxes of bees at various strengths.

Once I had finished, I took my veil off and it indeed does make you sweat

Sunday, 3 June 2012


This year is the second year my Red Haven peach tree has had peaches on it, It is around 4years old. however it appears to be the first year that they have stopped on the tree.

Last year I had 3 small peaches appear but they fell off before they really started to grow.

These are three close ups of small peaches. It is raining an awful lot here today so they are dripping with water. A good thing as we have had some quite good weather this last few weeks and this rain will water everything

small Red Haven Peach

small Red Haven Peach with a droplet of water

 I have noticed on the peach that the bark has great colour and texture

Red Haven Peach tree bark

There are one or two old branches that have been cut back previous years that really could have done with cutting back even further.

Red Haven Peach tree stem

There are loads of small peaches on here. I will have to remove a considerable amount of them before they reach any size other wise non of them will get very big. If I pick 5 or 6 of the best ones, they will hopefully make a nice peach size, otherwise if I leave them all on, none will amount to anything at all

Red Haven Peach tree

Weather today in Wakefield, England is cool and wet. It has been raining all day

Sunday, 27 May 2012

First post in twelve months

First post in 12 months. How time flies.

This is the allotment as of yesterday

beetroot in the foreground going to seed, parsnip at the back, going to seed, an apple tree just to the left

the allotment
at the back of the parsnips are some golden gourmet shallots (down the left of the shot), garlic and some leeks left over from last winter. In the background is a gooseberry bush, well two actually.

This is bottom of the allotment (where the shot was taken of the flowering parsnips, two chairs weighted down and ground that needs clearing. At the back are hawthorn trees, I layered the ones directly behind the chairs in winter as that was just bare soil.

This is common mullen (I am told) Verbascum thapsus. It started growing and I thought it looked nice, so I left it. It apparently can make flower spits 6ft tall in its second year, bring it on.

Verbascum Thapsis

After a very cold and wet April start of May, this was the grape vine in the greenhouse, wilting with the heat!!!

the vine

This is the Victoria plum tree. Last year it was in a pot and produced about 20plus great tasting plums. This winter  it went in the ground and I am hoping for lots more plums

At the base of the plum tree from left to right is strawberries (yellow flower in the middle if a poppy), poached eggs plants and then chives

This is a colony at the bottom of my garden. A rather strange tale in that I picked up the swarm a few weeks ago, I then thought they all died but later were resurrected and now a thriving small colony. I might post a full account later on.

This was yesterday morning, me and Duncan were moving some bees (well this is one of four colonies we moved)

the bees in a box

Weather yesterday in Wakefield, England was very hot and sunny (20 degrees C plus)

Monday, 2 May 2011

The vine is showing some shoots

The grape vine that was in a bucket last year and gave me 3 (I think) bunches of grapes has been sunk in the ground at last. I dug it in during the Winter time whilst it was dormant and very cold. I also split it in two as there were two main stalks coming out of the bucket. Both plants are doing fine now and growing.

This is main vine, shaped in to a V shape so I can have a stem down either side of the greenhouse attached to a wire. During Winter before being split I removed 90% of last years growth back to the main stems.

When I planted it in the ground it got lots of bone, blood and fish meal thrown in and mixed up. The only down side to my greenhouse is that it is in to much shade. no choice about that sadly.

This is a shot of the second vine in a tub. I will find a home for this plant. The variety has no name as the original plant was grown from a seed by my Uncle Peter in the early 1970's. It does produce nice grapes though

Check out my full endeavours with this vine on my wiki

This is my second vine. The variety is "Boskoop Glory" and was developed in the Dutch town of  Boskoop in the early 1900's. This variety is black and recommended for growing outside in the UK. It stands at about may be 4ft tall at the moment as the other 4 ft got removed due to mould growing on it. Seems to have done the trick as it is showing strong shoots.

Check out my wiki entry here on my endeavours so far at growing Boskoop Glory

The long term plan is to grow it along a strong wire towards the house and have it growing along the front of the house on more support wires. Well that's the plan.

the weather is Wakefield today has been warm and sunny