One of the most beautiful parts about living on a farm is watching the cycles of the seasons. Getting to know the patterns and the rhythms of time and weather and nature.
One of the most wonderful parts of our journey is knowing that as seasons come and go, we are watching and learning and becoming more and more comfortable with our role. We are getting better at recognising the signs, and having the right equipment, and knowing who the experts are when we need that extra little bit of help.
Last Sunday while we were walking through the oldest apple orchard examining the blossom, we discovered a swarm of bees in a Tagasaste tree.
One year ago the very same thing happened and I wrote this post;
Late last Wednesday evening, or very early Thursday morning, half of the bees belonging to one of our bottom orchard hives suddenly gorged themselves on honey and flew on out of their hive. We weren't around to see it happen, but according to everything I've read, 1000's of bees leaving the hive at once is quite an incredible sight to behold.Last year we were filled with adrenaline as we suited up and caught that swarm. Last year we referred to books, we googled and we followed every rule we read.
Once they had escaped the hive with their queen bee, the swarm quickly found a temporary resting place in a nearby tree.
When we drove past on our way to school on Thursday morning they were calmly waiting in a big bee cluster for their scouts to come back with news of a more suitable permanent hive. Leaving behind half their colony and a new queen to take over is the hive's way of managing their population.
This year we felt more ready. Bees swarm in springtime, we were right on track.
We started with a visit to Barry the bee man for some bee box bits.
Barry is one of those guys every community should be lucky enough to know. Barry has been bee keeping for 60 or 70 years and there wouldn't be much that he wouldn't know. Barry has bees all over Victoria, he mills his own bee boxes and makes his own power. And Barry is patient and didn't laugh or make faces when I asked him the silliest of beginner bee questions.
For many years we rented bees off Barry but then a few years ago we bought them and Barry has been generous with his time and information ever since.
Back home we measured and sawed and nailed and built a new bee box.
We placed the new box under the tree where the swarm was hanging.
And then Farmer Bren hit the the branch next to the bees and they dropped in a big lump with their queen into their new hive home.
Then we put their lid on and watched them do their thing for a while. And we talked quietly about colonies and anthropomorphisation and pollination and queens and seasons.
I couldn't help feeling a bit jealous of my girls' childhood. Of how early they are starting. Of how much they will know.
This newly hived swarm is now the sixth in our old apple orchard and with full blossom only about two weeks away, we are so very pleased to have housed them.
Happy new hive bees.
I hope your weekend is BEEEEEAUTIFUL!!