bio diversity

new hedge, old trees….

Its been a while, I should have written to you sooner, I apologise for the lapse, you know how it is, things happen, life gets in the way….. but I’m here now and so much to tell you.

The biggest news is the new garden. We moved here in November last year and then the weather closed in behind us, which is something I should be prepared for. After all, the last 2 winters have done this to me. Anyway, around 1/2 acre of traditional garden, around the house. surrounded by hedging, well, loosely described as hedging, predominately deciduous trees, cut to form a hedge.

When we arrived in November it had just been cut down to around 2 metres height and was very sad looking, we could see straight through it. I couldn’t believe it would become the hedge that it is today! (Proud parent talking there)

There are some fruit trees; apple, cherry and one sad old, plum tree. I’ve been told its a damson tree…… fingers crossed we can revive it over the coming year because the abundance of damsons from – Damson cottage has led to my parents addiction: my home made Damson gin…..

The house faces north so the back door is facing straight out to the south and across countryside. There is one arable field behind us which has just been harvested of its peas. Beyond is a most glorious view; an ancient green field site that contained a monastery. the undulating grassland has cattle grazing, and further beyond is the woodland. The view makes the place so special.

The summer is here now, and what a contrast. Baking heat has parched the garden, we don’t have our collection water tanks in place and we’re on a water meter….
Life would be dull without a challenge or two wouldn’t it?

winter wonderland

the view across the countryside and beyond is truly wonderful

Bee keeping for beginners ….

In February I started a 6 week course with my local bee keeping club, Louth Bee Keeping Association which is a part of the national charity; the British Bee Keeping Association(BBKA) I bought the kit (including the suit) waited a while, and then a few weeks ago in that brief warm spell was given a swarm to home in my lovely new hive…….. now with some trepidation I am embarking on my first season attempting to keep bees. I can’t call myself a bee keeper yet, it wouldn’t be right, not when I consider the wealth of knowledge and experience my fellow Louth Bee Keeping Association members demonstrate.
No, I would class myself more as the complete beginner, making all the classic mistakes.

Two lovely chaps; Chairman George and Secretary Ian from the club arrived at around 9.30pm with a box wrapped in a sheet, the box held the swarm. Although this is not the best time of day to introduce a swarm to a hive, sometimes needs must and this was one of those times. Bee suits on, we headed down the garden and “introduced” the bees into the hive (we emptied the box into the top of the hive and put on the roof) this was when I made the “classic beginners mistake” #1

Trying very hard not to panic I stated in a loud voice “I have a bee in my veil!” “I have a bee in my veil!” sensing that I may become a mad, hysterical woman, Ian replied, “just swot it Lorraine”, I’m thinking “OMG! what and make it mad enough to sting?” thankfully, I was brushed down of bees and able to remove my veil and the offending beast escaped, me unstung. I then had time to contemplate my embarassment at reacting as I did. This set the way for what has not yet been a text book beginners experience of bee keeping……

Its a show, Honey!

– Louth Beekeepers Association Annual Honey Show. With such a lovely name, you know it’s going to be good. I wasn’t disappointed. One of the highlights was to see the 4 types of honey entered and the scrutiny that goes into judging. The different classes to enter are granulated, creamed, liquid and heather honey.  Each entry has to be 2 identical jars, filled to an exact level and fulfilling the precise standards required. I have a lot to learn if I am to make it next year.

As well as the exhibits, there was lots of talk about swarming bees, keepers suddenly expanding their apiary from one to 3 hives, the difficulties faced over the season and optimism for the coming year.

The evening was rounded off beautifully. I won a jar of creamed honey in the raffle and was given a jar of runny honey by a neighbour who travels with me in our car share.