5 Eggs a day from our big hens, 4 Varieties of soft fruits ready for picking, 3 Healthy colonies of honey bees, 2 Recent schools visits, 1 Bee Keeping Assessment
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At last it’s summer and all systems are go!
The eggs are slightly down on the Spring rush as we have Ascot and Butternut broody as usual and another hen seems to be having an early moult, but we still have enough to supply 60 at a time to Edible Ealing as an extra to their local fruit and veg.
Today I collected 400g of raspberries along with redcurrants, strawberries and gooseberries. Other fruit are coming on well and I can see several bunches of grapes beginning to form on the vine.
I was thrilled to not only see healthy new larvae in all three colonies of honey bees, but have also spotted and marked the two new queens in the Beehaus who will hopefully build up strong colonies to give us a few jars of honey this year and a new generation of bees to see them through to next year. I’ve named them after flowers and, as they are both in the same hive, I’ve named them Lilly (in the left) and Rose (in the right). Lilly’s girls are already storing honey; they’ve been very busy!
It’s always a pleasure to welcome schools to Hen Corner and this week we had two visits from a local Primary school as their reception classes have been studying farms. We talked about the importance of farms for producing our food and how we could each try to grow something to eat at home. Several of the children told the group about growing strawberries in their gardens or potatoes on their allotments, I was a bit surprised by the boy who told me about his mango trees until he explained they were at in home in the Philippines!
Finally, I had my BBKA Basic Assesment this week. It’s a bit like a driving test for bee keepers. You meet an examiner and are asked to perform certain tasks with a bee hive that is not your own. They watch your every move, ask many questions, show you other ways of doing things (was I doing it wrong?) and take lots of notes. We started looking in one hive but then had to open another as their were problems with the first colony; a bit like starting your driving test in a car that subsequently breaks down. Fortunately, when it came to the bit when I was supposed to collect 30 live bees in a matchbox, he just asked me to tell him how I would do it rather than actually gathering the stripey stingers (phew!). Finally, after we closed the hives and finished the questions, I was asked to make a perfect brood frame. I wasn’t happy with one of the 11 nails, but Beekeeper Bill told me that it would pass. I don’t get the final result for a few weeks, so will be waiting for that brown envelope in the post…
Oh my, am I loving this book!
This reads with laugh out loud stories back to back as the James Herriot tales of years gone by. Simon the London estate agent who accidentally agreed to relocate to Exmoor and steadily collected an assortment of wonderful animals that delight at every turn. You couldn’t make it up, it’s a real inspiration for other Londoners who aspire to a bit more country life…
This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We were on pig feeding duty last week, 7.30am and again early evening; they were very pleased to see us
- The two cockerels at school, who had started crowing, have been swapped for two young hens who will lay lots of eggs
- This lovely sunshine has called for the sprinkler to be set on timer in the kitchen garden, come on melons!
Jobs for next week:
- Meet up with the general manager of Cultivate London to talk about bees at their sites
- Check that each bee hive has enough space to store honey
- Prepare for the tree surgeons who are coming to help us with our biggest trees
Join us on the Journey!