Turning over a new leaf


Autumn is a season of consolidation and resolution in many traditions. For me, it is a time to reflect on the year that has passed, to consolidate losses and gains, and to make room for something new. I have a lot of energy in autumn and prefer autumn cleaning to spring cleaning and autumnal resolutions to new year resolutions.

The thing that inspires me about autumn is that ‘back to school’ feeling, which I never lost, and the opportunity to give birth to new ideas and to learn, study and gather information. It is about resetting the clock and planting seeds for the future.

Taking time-out is a big priority going forward. After a busy year, I’ve learned it’s OK not to do everything all the time and that taking time-out to catch-up is much more productive. That’s a lesson I’m putting into action on my blog by posting fortnightly and spending the week inbetween to read the blogs I follow, or go for a walk with my camera, or blend my aromatherapy oils.

Another leaf I’m turning over is to be more prepared. Having a sudden proliferation of bees took me by surprise in spring. Next season I’m going to be ready. That starts with consolidating this year’s bees.

This afternoon at the apiary I cleaned up. I scraped wax off crownboards, cleared roofs of old paper and debris, rearranged hive boxes, filled feeders with sugar syrup, wiped varroa boards and stuffed leaves into entrances to prevent robbing.


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Our tidied autumn bees from far left: Queen Myrtle’s hive on a double brood and one super, with heavy stores; Queen Chili’s hive on one brood, light on stores; and Queen Chamomile’s hive on double brood, modest stores. The bees have done better than last year but will still need feeding, insulation and generally ‘keeping’ over winter.

The bees consolidated, I then took time-out to stroll around the apiary and take pictures of mushrooms, or are they toadstalls?

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By the time I returned to the apiary table, the crowd was getting restless… and hungry. ‘I hope that’s cake you’ve got in that bag,’ said John Chapple. I was sorry to disappoint him. Elsa had made tea and I enjoyed time spent just sitting and listening to everyone chatter, before coming home to write this post.

Happy autumn everyone!

Next post: 5 October ‘Street lights’

Upcoming posts in 2013:
26 October 2013
9 November 2013
23 November 2013
7 December 2013
21 December 2013


16 thoughts on “Turning over a new leaf

    • Hey that’s why we’re hive partners! 🙂 Thanks for visiting Hanwell bees. I’m not at apiary next weekend as John’s moving to mine, but will visit Friday to top up feed. It’s only apiguard and mouse guards that need finishing up now, then insulating the brood boxes and roofs for winter 🙂

      • Gave the Hanwell bees some syrup this morning and when I returned in the evening they’d nearly finished it all! I’ll have to make some more up for the hungry ladies. I can do the feed on Saturday if that’s easier. If the weather’s good enough I might try and move the supers underneath, just from the point of view of doing the oxalic acid treatments more easily.

  1. We’re a hemisphere and a world away here in Australia! It’s spring here and it’s all happening. We’ve already had a swarm and spotted swarm cell in another hive with larvae in it. That one we broke. We’ve split 16 of our 23 hives (or an experienced apiarist did it for us) to stop any more swarming. We’ll be requeening them all in another couple of weeks and not thinking of harvesting honey until well after that even though at least 2 of the hives have double supers (our supers are the same size as brood boxes) packed with honey (the splits got some of that). These bees aren’t really for honey production, they’re meant to be maintaining some good genetic lines (hence the requeening) and, as a lowly care taker beekeeper, I just do as I’m told. We’ll still get more honey than we can begin to use up and give away so I’m not too worried. But I am worried about a couple of very weak hives. The apiarist tells me they’ll be fine once they get a new queen – I sure hope so. Every time I start to fret about my bees I think of you and others struggling with real winters and lack of stores and varroa and I realise my worries pale in comparison.

    Your bees look like they’re going to do well over winter. Now comes the long wait until that first spring inspection….

    • How funny to think you’re starting the beekeeping season as ours finishes. Full circle. Like you, I’m happy to be a caretaker of bees although yours sound like they’re going to need a lot of keeping! Busy bees are a good start to the season – enjoy it! Meanwhile Ealing beekeepers can put their feet up and enjoy tea and cake for a few months 🙂

  2. Happy Equinox, EST. And smart title / subject matter combo. And impressive ‘post’ schedule – but how can you be so sure? Can’t work out if those are moon-dates or the like. Anyway, a promise of things to come, and a hint of winter ahead. Enjoy your autumn. RH

    • Thanks RH. Autumn seems more transitional than any other season and it inspires. I’d like to say the post dates are moon dates although I’m not so clever, simply time I’ve ‘phased out’ of my diary to sit and write a post 🙂 Enjoy the eternal summer of Abaco! EST

  3. Pingback: Getting our hives in order | Adventuresinbeeland's Blog

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