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After a week and a half of having bees, I can see where the phrase “working bee” comes from! These little guys are prolific! The photos are a little difficult to interpret, as the windows on our Warre hive are highly reflective. But hopefully you can see enough to get the idea. A Warre hive uses ‘top bars’ instead of frames like a Langstroth hive. So what this means, is that instead of a rectangular frame complete with ‘foundation wax’ (a thin layer of wax which the bees build upon), the Warre has just timber bars across the top of the boxes, which have a a light layer of melted bees wax on them to get the bees started.

Anyway, the bees started just over a week ago with these top bars. Now, already, they’ve drawn the comb almost to the bottom of the first box! And something I wasn’t expecting, was the pure white comb they’re building. You know how bees wax is usually a yellow colour? This is pure white so far.

There’s a close up…maybe you can see some comb?

We’re yet to put in the Wintergreen soaked coaster to repel the hive beetles. Yesterday while peeping into the hive we saw one of the beetles being attacked by an angry bee!

And while the bees are going full steam with their comb, this is what we’ve been up to…Pictured above is the propagation house, which Rick has nearly finished. It’s been a much bigger job than he anticipated…but that happens frequently around here! You never know what will happen to draw out the process of finishing a job.

And this is the potting table in the propagation house. Rick designed and built this one too. He’s aiming for maximum efficiency, so designs everything so that whatever he needs will be within reach and easy to use.

Rick has also set up the watering system in the propagation house…after many set backs. He went and bought all our irrigation supplies from a local irrigation specialist, you know, to support the little guy and get better advice. But wow, they made more mistakes with the order than I thought possible. It was several thousand dollars worth of gear, and they really messed up the order, and one of the parts we were given was even second hand and dirty inside!

And then there’s the sewing. Rick’s been wanting me to get an industrial sewing machine for years. But I think it’s not worth it. So here I am, in the dark (because that’s when I had some spare time), and outside (because the 10 meter lengths of shade cloth don’t really fit comfortably inside to sew) sewing two lengths of shade cloth together with upholstery thread. This is for a cover for Mount Compost, up the paddock. Rick wants it to stay moist….moisture is life 🙂

After a bit more research, it turns out I should be using UV stabilised thread. So now that’s on order and looks like I’ll be back to the exterior sewing table next week!

So lots is happening here at Birdsong. I’ll try and write more next week.

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