Saturday, 18 February 2017

A buzz about the place

15th February 2017

Yesterday Sue was worried that she had lost one of her bee colonies. Apparently if you put your ear up to the hive you can hear them buzzing, even when they are huddled together in a tight cluster to keep warm.
But today as the sun warmed the air there was a contented buzzing on the smallholding. You didn't have to put your ear up to the hive to hear it, for the bees were out and sounding happy.
Even better news. Both hives were out.
It's good for them to get out and get some fresh air and it is their first chance in the year to clean out the hive. But there is not much food around at this time of year. A few snowdrops and aconites, maybe a few hazel catkins and a couple of mahonias in flower, but it is lean pickings. This is the time of year when bees can starve, for it is a simple equation of energy in/energy out.

The bees weren't the only busy ones today. We were cleaning the stables in readiness for a change around when we get to the end of the month and some of the poultry can hopefully go out.

I trimmed the wildlife hedges right back. They need to be done when they are still dormant and before the birds are nesting. For a while the sparrows and dunnocks may need to find somewhere else to roost, but many of the hedgerow trees are budding up, their leaves about to unfurl and create a perfect place for feeding and nesting.

One sad sign of the times today. There was a female greenfinch at the feeders. Why is this sad? Because it is of note. Greenfinches are the latest of our farmland birds to be suffering a plummet in their numbers. Hopefully a male will appear and we will be treated to their delightfully wheezy song.

Finally, I got my car back! There had been bad news earlier in the day, The alternator had been replaced but no diesel was coming through the system. This was at the back of my mind all day, which is why I busied myself trying not to think about it. But all was ok in the end. It seems that the alternator failing had quite an effect on the electrics of the car.

My mechanic even got a hug!

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