Thursday, 14 June 2007
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
A new position for the hives has been agreed in a beautiful spot just off the main lawn. Paul, (who does a wonderful job managing the 78 acres of grounds along with maintenance man John) has very kindly mown a perfectly shaped swathe from the briar and shrubbery where the hives will sit perfectly. The photo shows Paul & Alan with Alan's Jeep that he has owned for 25 years talking some serious bee business!
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
I'm so so sad to say that I lost my dear dad a few days ago after a short illness. As this blog is dedicated to him I felt it only right that I post a couple of pics and a few words in his honour. My dad was a sweet and humble man whose gentle and kind demeanor touched all those who knew him well or in passing. Through his work as a Doctor he was able help countless people through the pain of illness to recovery. My dad was a man full of warmth and empathy that belied his inner steely resolve, which he used fully to make it easier for everyone who was fond of him to cope with his increasing weakness of body. His keen interest in natural history was infectious and love of sport a source of great pleasure to him. He will be missed hugely by all who knew him especially his loving and large family who are all so eternally grateful to have had him in our lives.
Saturday, 28 April 2007
Just a picture as evidence that the renovations of our hives are still on-going! With so much equipment it's a real marathon but as long as we have 2 or 3 full hives in order by the time our nuclei arrive we shall work our way through the rest at a more leisurely pace. Incidentally it's the 'bluebell walk' at Lytham Hall tomorrow (29th April) so for a lovely walk round the grounds pop down in the afternoon and enjoy a spectacular sight.
I also grabbed a snap of this Mosaic puffball (so called due to it's patchwork skin appearance) , a few of which seems to appear regularly in Spring and Autumn just off the track that leads to the emergency exit. I have to admit this particular puffball is no longer there as it ended up in an omlette I had for lunch last week, but at least we have a picture!
Thursday, 5 April 2007
I have taken advantage of the recent good weather to start the renovation of the apiary hives which we decided would be my task. We have ordered 4 nuclei of bees from each of which we intend to nurture strong colonies and hopefully harvest some honey in the near future. I am flat out getting 4 hives completely over-hauled so the new bees (which incidentally will be certified disease free) will have a thoroughly fresh start and hopefully no sign of varroa mites. Alan's job at present is preparing frames and fitting them with wax foundation, photos of which will be posted asap.
Alan has amassed a large collection of hives and associated equipment pertaining to bees, largely manufactured by his own hand. The time has come now to restore it to it's former glory and get the apiary buzzing as loudly as it ever has in the 18 years Alan has kept bees at Lytham Hall.
Inside the bee sheds preperations are in full swing. I managed to find and then heave into place this shelving which I think has been used for shoe torage in the past. It's perfect for storing all the little bits and pieces you need to get on top of those numerous apiary jobs.
Everything from smokers to mouse excluders, veils, hive tools, straps, matches and kid leather gloves and all is conveniently stored at the higher levels so we can save Alan's back from coming to harm!
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
The deadly parasitic Varroa mite that lives on bees and has decimated UK bee stocks since 1991 has struck again, this time at our own apiary. The last remaining hive succumbed a couple of days ago, particularly disappointing as we had identified the colonies' queen recently and had high hopes the colony would survive.
Sunday, 25 March 2007
Lytham Hall Apiary has seen better days. Local historian and Head Beekeeper Mr Alan Ashton has had both hip and knee replacement surgery in the last 12 months and has not spent as much time as he would like at the apiary. Although Alan is now firmly on the mend, a combination of inclement weather and the deadly Varroa mite have weakened bee stocks enormously.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
The Apiary is in the grounds of the wonderful Lytham Hall which is without doubt the finest Georgian building in Lancashire. The hall is open to the public several days a year and is particularly famed for it's 'snowdrop' walks in early Spring.