Tag Archives: bees

Strimming in the apiary in 25°C with confused bees is no fun

#Letter365 No139 goes in the box
A sunny posting for No139

It never really cooled down enough to make a visit to one of our apiaries bearable – especially since the strimmer needs some spares on the head and you have to wedge a piece of wood behind the accelerator cable to get it to rev high enough. It was hot and sweaty work and the bees don’t like the vibration and were disoriented by the change in aspect. So I got stung by bees and nettles.

Of course all this has nothing to do with today’s #Letter365 artwork. In fact it is pretty much the antithesis in action and object. This piece is clean, cool and was no sweat. It was principally cerebral in the making with a small amount of skilled physical work, whereas the strimming required little brainpower and more physical effort (the sort of effort my chiropractor warns me to only do small amounts of at any one time). The art is quiet and contemplative in comparison to strimming. The artwork has a lower environmental impact than the strimming only because of its size: if scaled up I think the chemicals and materials of the artwork and it’s production and delivery, might outweigh the damage caused by the small amount of fuel used, especially since I use Aspen environmentally-friendly fuel made from trees that doesn’t smoke and is free of many of the chemicals in petroleum-based fuels.

Back of #Letter365 No139
Back of No139

Oh and the summertime heatwave music is slipping on to the envelope. Here’s one that is mentioned

If you were expecting a less boring picture, sorry

#Letter365 No61 goes in the box.
No61 goes in the box.

I know, after 2 whole months, a sixth of this journey you would think I could do better, but frankly I am so busy with preparations for Dorset Art Weeks (just 17 days 14 hours 22 minutes and 35 seconds till opening as I write this) and trying to get stuff sorted for the launch of selling options for the project posting a letter has a low priority for my creative energy. On the other hand what’s inside is pretty damn good!

You will note that I am back to ordinary stamps for a number of reasons, one of which is that apart from one that i stuck on a misprinted envelope and one ghastly one I am saving, I have run out of commemorative stamps.

I got stung in the face by a bee today for no reason: unusual, but I did drastic things with them yesterday so who knows.

Rainy night posting for No60

#Letter365 No60 gets posted in the rain and dark
Late evening posting in the rain again: No60 goes in the box

We spent quite a while working with the bees in the garden, we had to do a pretty severe manipulation called a shook swarm which I hate doing, but helps keep the varroa mite levels lower. I find it emotionally draining to sacrifice brood and still find it hard to justify even though bad infestations of varroa can cause the demise of a colony. Usually the colony quickly recovers and often may become exceptionally strong and productive.

Anyway that was one of the reasons that I didn’t start my #Letter365 piece till late afternoon and then finished if off after dinner and some entertainment.

No46 goes in the box, not the hive

#Letter365 No46 gets posted
No46 gets posted

I was tempted to start trying to make the post box images a bit arty, but when it came down to it there’s only so much you can do with a post box and I was very hungry and looking forward to Cottage Pie for dinner. So this is what you get!

As it says on the envelope we have been busy with bees today. We had a look at two colonies at one of our out apiaries. One was one we had been worried about as they were badly raided by wasps last autumn, but they have bounced back well and are really strong and gentle. The other one is enormous. We left a lot of honey on it over winter as it was a big colony (it’s always been big!) but we has to give then some more room for honey already. I could barely lift the last box full of honey back on the hive as it is about my height! There is probably about 80lbs of honey on there already and the season is only just starting really. The bees are working the dandelions now, so the new comb they are building is stained a wonderful sunshine yellow.

The first month completed

#Letter365 No31 goes in the box on a drear and drizzly day
No31 goes in the box on a drear and drizzly day

Well the first month has been completed and I still have lots of things to sort out for the project from this website to sponsorship and printing to events. This week the From Page To Screen festival has eaten up a fair bit of time – 7 films in 5 days – and I have some basic stuff to put in place for Dorset Art Weeks and my son and daughter-in-law are visiting for a few days and there’s the garden to sort when/if it stops raining and then the bees will be swarming and…and…and…it’s good to be busy!

But whatever else may be happening, the work I am doing for this project is happening well – it’s mostly flowing easily and also teasing me into unfamiliar areas and causing me to experiment in my other work. So all is well.