Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Springwatch is boring

As a rule, I’m not a risk taker. Ok, so I’ve jumped out of a plane a couple of times, jacked in good job & thrown away a great income, and taken up beekeeping even though I’m afraid of buzzy, flying, stingy things. But as a rule, I’m not a risk taker. It goes hand in hand with being a pessimist.

So as soon as I heard that Wales was suffering it’s driest start to the year since the “severe drought” of 1976 (I must have slept through that, or been too busy discovering the joys of Fisher Price to notice), I flipped into obsessive compulsive water conservation mode. No water can be wasted – if I’m waiting for the shower water to warm up I place a washing up bowl in the shower, the potato washing water goes on the roses, the egg water goes on the herbs, and mud from pig snout snuffling of my legs at feeding time is washed off in the stream.

Two new water butts, bought on the cheap from Ceredigion County Council, now form our new water catchment system to harvest rainwater from Cwt Mochyn’s roof. Best of all is Dave’s patented, hi-tech, stream water siphoning system.


Watering the polytunnel, vet plot and fruit patch now involves multiple trips to and fro with laden watering cans, but it’s good exercise with added weightlifting. I reckon I’ll be in top form and ready to represent my country come the 2012 Olympics.

In an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to get a borehole drilled as a back up to the spring. Hayden, the water diviner, came today to test the site for a source of water. He wandered around, Dave in tow, waving his hazel sticks. When the sticks hit upon a potential drilling spot his sticks jerked about “as though he was wrestling a boa constrictor”, or at least that’s how Dave described it. Obviously Dave had to have “a go” with the sticks. He felt a gentle jerking but nothing special. Obviously water divining boa constrictor style requires more skill and practice than 30 seconds of random twig waving. The good news is that Hayden’s success with the sticks means that we get the thumbs up and boring can begin.

Meanwhile, the latest news from Beewatch is that the drowning was not fatal. The bees are flying. I found the queen bee today, and even spotted some larvae, small and white and glistening, curled up at the bottom of the cells. Those should be sealed up by the workers within a few days and before too long a fresh batch of worker bees will hatch.


From left to right, that’s Betty, Belinda, Becky ….. Don’t worry, I’m not really so mad as to name all my bees. I do feel strangely maternal about them though. My distress at the drowning incident was quite genuine, especially since my motivation in starting beekeeping was to do my bit for this beleaguered species. In my relief at finding the queen alive and well I almost forgot to be scared!

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