Saturday, 9 June 2012


Swarm Number 2, resident in Lynn's willow, has changed shape. It has moved from dangly ball shape (no sniggering at the back there, please) to heart shaped 'look at us we look like a piece of free-form comb' shape.

This means one of two things - firstly, that the swarm is not dead and has, thanks to a bit of spare honey and comb placed beneath the tree, been reinvigorated and is very much alive and at 'em, or secondly, that the swarm IS dead and we are watching zombie bees at work.

Lynn is thrilled. She does a daily bee inspection, and is very keen for them to be alive and doing their bee thing in her garden. I am anxious that they don't start building comb in the tree, al fresco, and then the whole thing drops on her head because the willow can't take the strain. Heather's partner , Joe, is very keen to shin up the tree and get the bees down and put them in the spare hive. Andy, quite rightly, is keen to point out that the spare hive isn't spare and is waiting to be filled with the third swarm bees that are currently residing in the nuc box at Little MMM. And that, instead of shelling out on what will be Hive 5, we should sell the nuc bees for some cold hard cash.

Which will, in turn, pay for a renovated hen coup at the bottom of the garden where newbie hens will go(hurrah!). We have decided to get a proper builder in to make the new hen coup, because last night I drew some rather fanciful plans, and Andy looked a bit faint when I said I was hoiking out the Black and Decker to have a go at a bit of drilling and sawing and banging myself and then the words, 'A proper job' were mentioned this morning, and I immediately got onto one of those 'find a proper tradesman' websites which I have used before and think are marvellous!

I've already been doing some hen research. I quite like the idea of bantams because they are small, and surely can't cause as much havoc as big chickens. I've been looking at different breeds too - sebrights because they are so pretty and perky looking, welsummers because they look so smart, and my current favourite, Buff Orpingtons because they are a Kent bird ( like me) and they wear enormous and highly entertaining trousers (also like me, well, sometimes).

I wouldn't mind more Light Sussex like Mrs Pumphrey, or Gingernut rangers like Mrs Miggins and Mrs Bennett. Absolutely no Marans, though, as they, like Mrs Slocombe, are barking mad and have issues, and no H and N Brown Nicks either, because if Mrs Poo was typical of the breed, then they are just plain vicious.

'Oh, but they're like humans, aren't they,' said Andy. 'All with different personalities.'
'Chickens with personalities?' I said. 'Are you mad? That's crazy talk!'

Whatever next?!

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