Beehive bonus jobs

I finished all the beehive parts requested by Monica, yesterday, apart from some minor fettling. For example, I don’t have enough galvanised iron sheet to cover one of the lids so that’ll have to be completed later. Still, Monica is in awe of the amount of apiary kit she now has in store. Hopefully, she’s ready for anything the bees want to get up to this year. I particularly like the two half-width nucleus hives. These are for use in catching small swarms, over-wintering weak swarms or just separating off a small swarm to protect the apiary’s viability.

Chris turned up at 11ish and was suitably impressed at the woodwork. He brought fresh bread so we could offer Karin’s crew ham sandwiches when they arrived from their hike at lunchtime. Paul and Gwenda, her guests, were fairly hard work to keep talking. Karin gave me the rolling eyes as she left so I think they’re an effort for her, too. Maybe Ralph used to keep the conversation flowing. These folk used to live in the first house at the Gate End from 1980—92 and are now living beside Loch Lomond. I doubt we’ll see them again.

The last two bonus jobs for Monica’s bee-keeping are a tote, to carry around a few frames with her tools, and a couple of bases to sit hive parts upon when transporting them with honey or bees inside. I designed them last evening; today, I’ll try to build them. The tote needs to be lightweight and manageable which is an interesting challenge after building so many chunky boxes.

The workshop fire is packed with sawdust and shavings so at least I’ll be warm out there when the forecast rain starts, later.

Some geezer turned up at the gate with an aerial photo of the farm from 1967. Lots of interesting differences: no trees in the fields apart from the big sycamore and silver birch; all of the pigsty walls in place; the yard covered in weeds and no flag garden; the house garden put down to vegetables; the stone trough in the middle of the yard and much more. Ralph’s Land Rover is parked right against the back door; I wonder what he was up to?

Seeing how the main garden used to be useful rather than decorative gave Monica the idea of moving the functions we planned for the flag garden—herbs, mainly—back there which would leave the flag garden for other uses. I have suggested that we pave it over and build a bike shed against the long wall. This would give us another seating area, bike storage for ourselves and bunkhouse guests and an extra emergency parking bay. A broad raised bed along the drive, inside the gate, would separate and define the area and allow some plants to soften the yard. Secretly, I hope to also build ramparts on top of the bike shed to allow easier observation over the wall. This shed would be the model for others all along the long wall which would shelter car bonnets, support solar panels and provide storage. We still have to work out where all of Karin’s plants from the pigsty would go; we were planning to move them to the flag garden.

Later: the tote has been a challenge to work out but it’s coming together slowly. There are strict size requirements; it has to be robust but lightweight; and I’d like it to look good, too. Rather than work everything out on paper, I’ve cut the pieces from the inside out: from the size critical components to those that support them. So far, only one error that will show in the finished product, though not badly. More tomorrow.

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