Is it even summer?

Where oh where has the sunshine gone? Judging from how wet and rainy June and July have been I suspect we have had our “summer” in May. Today was overcast and I walked down to the allotment to check on Pop and to go a few jobs.

When I got into the greenhouse, Pop looked bright and alert. She had managed to clear most of the food from the bowl and the lack of food on the floor made me more confident that she had eaten lots. Half the way had gone too which is great. She is still quite wobbly and can’t stand fully but her toes are now increasingly out and she is re-learning where her feet are. I took her out of the nest box and spent a few minutes making her comfy in the run on the patio.

Steve popped by and asked for help with the bees. I knew if I left my bee kit at home, I would need it. Typical. I ran home, snatched it up and dashed back. Today Steve was taking two supers from one of the hives. Each frame needs to be checked and cleared of bees before being stored in the shed on Phil’s plot – I think of it as the One Stop Bee Shop. By the time I got back and had my bee jacket on, Steve had brought both supers to the Bee Shed. Using a special soft brush, he swept each frame clear of bees and I put them into an empty super frame with a crown board on top to stop any bees getting back into the honey frames. It was quite a quick job and we decided as we were already suited up, we might as well do a quick check on the other hives.

Starting with Hive 1, we were looking for eggs to make sure the Queen was doing her job. No eggs and no Queen. But there was a capped Queen cell on one of the frames. Moving onto Hives 2 and 3, we found lots of eggs and even spotted the beautiful orange Queen in Hive 3 before we closed it up. Unfortunately, Hive 4 had no eggs and there was no sign of the Queen either. At the bottom of one frame there were two Queen cells which had hatched. The Queens from these cells will have flown off to be mated and should come back in the next couple of weeks. We decided to give Hives 5 & 6 a miss and moved onto Hive 7 on Phil’s plot which was working well.

Next I had a quick check of the pond and found the water level had dropped. I filled a couple of watering cans and got the water back to where it should be. The pump swung back into action just as the rain started. I dashed across to the patio and put Pop back into the greenhouse. Cliff came across to see her and checked on her. We decided that as long as she is eating and drinking well and seems happy, things aren’t too bad. If she continues to eat and drink like she has been since being on her own, she may regain her legs.

Down in the main coop, everyone was busy clucking at me for treats. I threw out some porridge oats and handfed them some black sunflower seeds. The three Rhode Island Red chicks are beginning to mix a bit more although they are definitely bottom of the pecking order. Leia and her chicks were very hungry when I topped up their food. Honestly, you would think I never fed them with the display they put on!

By now the rain was set in and I decided beating a hasty retreat back home to dry off.


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