Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It`s swarming time again ...

I can`t believe it - both hives swarmed last week and here`s me thinking I had made a good job of checking for queen cells acouple of weeks ago. This is the nuc with the swarm from Miro, it was easy to capture, having landed in a small maple tree in the garden. A beekeeper friend asked if he could have it as he had lost a hive recently, I wish I had kept it now as I am going to be putting 2 hives out on a friends lifestyle block in the countryside as soon as I get the bees !!!

The bees from Matai landed on a high fence and were quite happy there, or so I thought ... Dashed off to get acouple of boxes from a friend, leaving the swarm happily buzzing away in the sunshine, got back 20 mins later and they had vanished, not a bee to be seen - I was cross with myself for not putting them into a cardboard box or the like until I got back - never trust homeless bees ...
A friend and I have brought quite abit of hive gear including a 4 frame extracter, electric uncapping knife, excluder and hive boxes, lids etc from a gentleman who has had to give up beekeeping after nearly 60 years as his eye sight is failing. I really felt for Bernard, he had a great collection of books also that he very kindly has given to me. I will post about them later - some really old books which I can`t wait to read.
I will be extracting this week hopefully as there are a number of frames full of capped honey already.

Bee Poems by Lia ..

This is my beautiful Granddaughter Lia, who turns 11 this Dec - a delightful child who is very interested in her Nana`s bees and all of nature - I love her to pieces ..
She penned these poems for me and I had to share them.

Bees live in hives
in each hive there are more then 50005.
Sometimes they are cute
and much small then a ute.

Little worker bees
I feel sorry for their poor knees,
working out their wings
flying and seeing all sorts of things.

You might have seen them before
flying in packs of 5 or more.
The Queen is so fat she wears a hat -
her crown ...

My honey label is `Ora` which is the Maori word for pure, here is her 2nd poem ..

Ora honey is so yummy
it feels warm in my tummy
Have it on toast
I always eat the most
Sweeten up your roast
with a little Ora honey

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New beginnings ...

New growth and the flowers on the Judus Tree ( Cercis siliquastrum), in the Hamilton Gardens this week. I love the way the light shines through the new heart-shaped foliage. This small tree flowers before the new leaves appear, heralding the change of season. The pea - like flowers appear on the stems, followed by flatterned pods. An exotic tree that is grown widely in New Zealand, sometimes used as street trees. The autumn colour is yellow, not that great really, but this multi-stemmed tree is popular here.

The Kowhai (Sophora tetraptera) are in full bloom everywhere at the moment - such a joyous sight ! It produces alot of nectar with the small waxeyes forever jostling for space on the twiggy branches. This NZ native tree used to grow along the river banks and for old Maori it was another signal to plant kumera or sweet potato. Here in the city, with the Waikato river running through the middle, we have begun planting these trees again, hopefully the birds will be drawn back with this food supply provided.
Zoom in and have a close look at the flowers, they are bright yellow with all the petals pointing forward, a yellow dye can be made from the petals.
All parts of the Kowhai were used by ancient Maori as medicine, infused bark was drunk for internal ailments, cuts, bruises and swellings. Boiled and crushed bark was used for sprains, broken limbs and cuts.

Isn`t this gorgeous ? There is something about new growth on a tree that really touches me deeply, I can`t explain why.. maybe its the sign of new life, the colour is always stunning, so fresh and vibrant - I am a sucker for leaves, no matter what time really, although spring and autumn would have to be my favourite times of the year. I could never live in a climate that did not have the definate 4 seasons - do I hear a Crowded House song coming on ?? This young Fig tree (Ficus carica) is growing happily in the sustainable garden here at the Hamilton Gardens http://www.hamiltongardens.co.nz/ and I couldn`t resist taking a photo - I mean, how beautiful is this ? My children always tease me about my photo albums and the lack of human pictures there are in them !!