Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Bee Inspection

Yesterday, Monday the bee inspector checked all my hives (about 50) every frame was gone through all suspect cappings checked. One was suspect (had a ropey consistency when pulled from the cell) and was tested for American Foul Brood using a new testing kit similar to a pregnancy test.
The larvae is macerated in a jar of ball bearings four drops placed in the kit the wait for 2 minutes. One line is clear (control) two lines is infected. That's the longest 2 minutes of the day. If positive hives will be killed and the hive parts burned or sterilized. After two minutes only one line so we are in the clear.
I got some good advice about losses in my Bromyard apiary we seem to have an infection of Nosema, which kills the adult bees in the spring. I have lost 17 out of 20 colonies in that site. But next year I will be better prepared.
Nosema is a strange organism with characteristics of both a bacteria and a fungi. There are two strains, N.apis which ahas been around for many years and the new kid on the block N. cerana which seems to be responsible for many colony deaths in the USA and Spain. It is normally treated with Fumidil B, but I expect I am too late for this year. We live and learn.
The main thing is that I have a clean bill of health on the brood disease front.

Saturday Sunday

Saturday the second and final market of the week, again at Shrewsbury Indoor Market Hall. Similar pattern to Friday. Up and picking vegetables: lettuce, spinach, spring greens, rhubarb and salad packs.
Millie has an eye infection so we have to attempt to hold her down to apply the twice daily drops, she looks a lot better now.

The markets are holding up well at the moment with both Friday and Saturday meeting targets.

Sunday church in the morning followed by checking out some new grazing for our small flock of sheep. Otherwise a quiet day apart from feeding chickens collecting eggs and checking watering in the tunnels.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday, market day

Up at 6.00am, harvesting lettuce, spring greens and rhubarb, Then off to the market and carry the produce from parking spot to market about 1mile. Seriously underestimated the weight of rhubarb. Spent the day on the stall not a bad days takings, then delivered three peoples shopping on the way home.

The other half picked up 25 day old chicks from Cyril Basons', they will be placed under a broody hen when it gets dark. Then had to take Millie to the vets with conjunctivitis, she came back with green eyes

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Thursday Sheep bees market

First thing John came round our part time help and he started planting the last of the onions, that job all finished now except that there is a serious patch of Couch Grass invading the allium beds which will have to be hand pulled. Millie helped move some sheep who had escaped into the wrong field.
After organising a visit to check Mum in laws new chair I picked the spinach for Fridays market and set off to pick up the vegetables to supplement our own on the market. On route Millie and I checked the sheep we have in Hereford and took the opportunity to do a little training.
Next stop was to check the third of my apiary sites which had taken a big hit,loosing 75% of the colonies. Six now are left two of which are Nucleus hives still needing feeding. I sorted out all the now spare boxes and stacked them out of the way and checked through the remnant colonies. They seem in reasonable nick and will be checked for brood disease next Monday.
Then off to pick are additional produce from our wholesaler and back home to add our home produced stuff. The market is the next stop where I set up the stall ready for Friday morning. Then back where my day ends after putting chickens away and seperating a broody hen ready to take the chicks we are due to collect tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Sheep's back end after dagging, nice and clean to avoid catching too much muck and attracting flies
We also check and trim feet while the sheep is on its back, we only trim now if absolutely necessary as the latest advice is routine trimming can cause more problems than it solves by breaking down natural barriers within the foot allowing infection to enter.
A bunch of happily trimmed sheep waiting to be freed back out to graze

Wednesday,First graft and accounts not done

Spent yet another Wednesday not completing my VAT and year end accounts, will have to wait till next week I guess.

I did get the first graft for queen cells done this season. This cold season is slowing every down the bees are slow as are the field vegetables but the poly tunnel crops are OK, we have already cleared one of them ready for the spring planting of fine beans. We have also planted runner beans but have had to heavily protect them against the frost predicted for the next few year.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Tuesday, vegetables, bees and care farming

We have part time help on Tuesdays so they have been clearing tunnels and incorporating compost in readiness for planting our fine beans, we are also sowing Beetroot, 3 types of Kale and Sorrel, all in modules for planting as transplants.

In addition to a short church meeting I had a visit from the Bee Inspector, a government appointed inspector checking for brood diseases specifically American and European Foul Brood. So far all clear but the bigger test will be on Monday when he will be checking the much larger number of Herefordshire colonies.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Monday, Bee day

First thing I sorted out the orders for next week at the market, cancellations and additions according to how well sales are doing.Sales are generally holding up well, I have given up all the farmers markets now due to the falling income. So concentrating as I am on Shrewsbury it's important to get the offer right.
So after a short training session with Millie I checked the two main sites in Hereford about 40 colonies, they seemed well though well behind in development.
Bee Inspector rang tonight, wants to check all my colonies he will check The local hives tomorrow and the Hereford hives on Monday, this means going through every hive and every frame shacking all bees looking for brood disease. Lets hope al is well.