Updating website August 2021.
After ten very interesting and quite exciting years, I have taken up semi "retirement" by stepping down from several committees including vice chairmandship of the Cornwall Crafts Association. It was great fun, especialy meeting Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall during our 40th Anniversary celebrations. I shall continue to make pottery for a few years yet, I still find contentment in closing the door on the world and working quietly in my studio. But it is my bees, our woodland and garden that are my greatest pleasures nowadays
I started to learn to fly in 2019 in a microlite C42 and I was - just about - mastering the landing process when Covid 19 put a stop to all that as well as travelling, certainly for the time being.
I am still a novice bee-keeper, I suspect that one is never an expert beekeeper from what I hear from others, it is a forever learning process. I now have four occupied hives, two are my original Horizontal Top Bar Hives and two are in "tree hives". These are hives built by my husband Rob to an experimental design inspired by Tom Seeley in the USA and by other supporters of the Natural Beekeeping movement. These were hauled up 4 meters into our older Monterey Pines and strapped on with Cargo straps. We put them up in April this year and in June they were both occupied by passing swarms. In past years I "caught" a swarm in a bait box on a pole which, I transfered to a hive here or gave to a friend. So currently I have four hives preparing for winter but the colonies in the tree hives are left to themselves, absolutely no interferance by humans. The other two I shall watch but leave mostly alone, checking only that they have enough "stores" (Honey) for the winter and, if not, I shall help out with syrup or fondant but I prefer not to as they seem stronger and less prone to disease when they get to eat their own natural produce.
My method of beekeeping is learned from Phil Chandler (see 'biobees' and 'natural bee keeping' on-line) and from Fydor Lazukin (see 'beekeeping with a smile' also on-line). The intention is to leave the bees to live their lives with as little interference as possible, leaving them all their honey for their over-wintering stores. I simply provide housing because today there are few natural cavities for them to inhabit.
Image of bees arriving at bait box and transfer to Horizontal Top Bar Hive, below