Friday , Beach Photography day. – Taking some Easter down time :)
Over the next two weeks of the Easter Holidays, I am taking some Offline time, I just want to get the garden ready for the summer,read and walk and maybe visit a beach or two.
I just want to say thanks to everyone for all your great comments and likes here 🙂 🙂 over the months and I look forward to sharing much more of Ireland and reading your great posts when I get back online – have a great holiday period !!!
Friday Is Beach Photography day
Taking a Friday evening trip down to the beach’s along the Waterford coastline is something I love to do in the summer months and I am very much looking forward to doing so again this summer.
I hope to get lots more images to post and share here 🙂
Beach Photography , Friday
The Ice house , Woodstock Gardens , County Kilkenny
Woodstock Gardens, County Kilkenny – dates back to 1737.
The Gardens and the remains of the old house are one of county Kilkenny’s most popular locations, located above the River Nore and the small town of Inistioge.
The Ice house is most likely less known, as it is located on the banks of the river Nore on the very limits of the grounds, it is however one of the best preserved ICE houses you could wish to find.
The details on the information board nearby are a little unclear as to when this building was constructed but it is considered to be sometime in the 1800’s, it was used for visitors to the smaller river side lodge, named the “Red House”.
The ‘Red House’ was a hunting lodge that at the time could only be accessed via boat along the river, today however you can find this location via a half an hour walk from the town of Inistioge.
A General History of ice houses
The Romans were the first to build ice houses, though not very widely in the UK and Not at all in Ireland. Ice houses were usually built close to sources of winter ice, such as freshwater lakes. In the 17th century, grand country houses followed the fashion of having one built, and then ice houses fell from fashion until about the late 18th century.
Uses of ice houses
On country estates from about 1660, the ice was mainly used not to chill food, but for its own sake: for ice creams and increasingly popular desserts such as syllabubs.
Meat and fish did not need to be preserved on a large estate because they could simply be caught from estate lakes and ponds when needed. Ice was also used for medicinal purposes: to treat fever and inflammation. At one time, a common prescription for indigestion was being told to suck on ice.
now a ruin, was for generations the home to the Tighe family. In 1737, the twenty-six-year-old Sir William Fownes inherited the estate and commissioned an elegant mansion, completed in 1745. He hoped to establish himself with the gentry of the area and to impress the 2nd Viscount Duncannon, soon to become the first Earl of Bessborough, whose daughter Elisabeth he planned to marry. Over the next forty-five years, Woodstock was the background to a series of dramas that led to the deaths of William, Elisabeth and their son-in-law William Tighe.
Many gardens and walks were laid out between 1840 and 1900 by another William Tighe and his wife Lady Louisa Lennox. The gardens contain many exotic plants from Asia and South America, including the Monkey Puzzle tree and the Noble Fir tree which form two of the walks in the gardens, as well as specimens of the Coast Redwood.
In 1921, the property was occupied by the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries, which caused much local resentment, and then by troops of the Free State Army, who were withdrawn from the premises during the Irish Civil War, on 1 July 1922. The house, left unguarded, was burnt down the next day, and remains a derelict empty shell, overgrown with vegetation
Twilight on the Beach : A poem by : Mary Dow Brine
Twilight on the Beach.
By : Mary Dow Brine
The crimson glory of the setting sun
Hath lain a moment on the ocean’s breast,
Till twilight shadows, gathering one by one,
Bring us the tidings, day is gone to rest.
Far out upon the waters, like a veil,
The mists of evening rise and stretch away
Between the horizon and the distant sail,
And earth and sea are clothed in sombre gray.
The tide comes higher up the smooth, wide beach,
Singing the song it has for ages sung;
Recedes, and carries far beyond our reach
The freight my idle hands have seaward flung.
Over the white-capped waves the seagulls soar
With heavy-flapping wing and restless cry,
As darkness spreads its deeper mantle o’er
The changing shadows of the twilight sky.
No voice but mine to mingle with the sound
Of ocean’s melody- as one by one
The stars light up the vast concave around,
And live the glory that is never done.
Still higher creeps the tide with subtle power,
And still the waves advance with sullen roar;
But with the last faint gleam of twilight hour
I turn me homeward from the lonely shore.
An Evening walk above – Clonmel , County Tipperary , (Image Gallery)
I just love taking a evening walk at this time of year, the evenings are staying lighter but we still get the chance to be out when the sun is very low in the sky, ready to set.
These recent images, show just how perfect I feel our local landscape looks in the early springtime evenings, with deep colours.
I love making the most of the Sun in my images, as it sinks behind the forest trees.
Evening walk , March 2015
Monday Poems : “Monday Mornings” By : Emily Helen Culver
By : Emily Helen Culver
breathing in and out
looking forward, ready to shout
the day might have started
but my brain just won’t function
it’s funny how they demand my attention
yelling out my name
won’t win you this game
keep on playing it
while I lay down and sleep a bit
the weekend hangover
Monday Poems : Donkey of Brown
Well What a weekend we had here in Ireland SUN on SUN , just perfect 🙂 🙂
Its hard to believe its Monday already, my post and included Poem this Morning is just a reminder that while your getting your week going , don’t forget to take the odd moment to slow down and take a look at the world around you, it’s Spring-time so take just a few moments and check out what’s really happening in the world – your meeting / phone call or email can wait for a while 🙂 🙂
Donkey of brown
By : Patricia Higgins
Please let me know
Why is it that you go so slow?
He turned round gently and to me said
I have some sense in my little brown head.
By hurrying so as you go by
You miss the beauty in earth and sky.
So I took his advice and looked around,
And I saw diamonds in dew drops on the ground.
Daises that dance in the sun’s golden ray,
Things I missed as I hurried each day.
Gold in the buttercups, clouds in the blue,
What the donkey had said was perfectly true.
Saturday Morning on the Mountain : Slievenamon . Co, Tipperary
Its the weekend, so its a great time to get outside, Relax, walk or just sit and take in the landscape around you 🙂
From yesterday the Spring Equinox, the days are getting longer all the way until the 21st of June, the long evening will soon be here 🙂 🙂
Celebrating the Spring Equinox 2015, with its Pagan traditions
The Spring equinox 2015 celebrating
Today marks the arrival of spring, the date of the vernal equinox, or spring equinox as it is known in the northern hemisphere. Spring equinox. During an equinox, the Earth’s North and South poles are not tilted toward or away from the sun. (Ref :Wikipedia)
This means the sun will rise exactly in the east and travel through the sky for 12 hours before setting in the exactly west.An equinox happens twice a year around March 20 and September 22 when the Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the sun.
For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that is taking people into their winter.
In English there is open access to Stonehenge tomorrow. Access will be from 05:45am until 08:30am.
Druids and Pagans like to gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Spring Equinox, to see the sunrise above the stones.
The Pagans consider this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility. This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility). Her name is also where we get the female hormone, oestrogen.
From Eostre also come the names “Easter” and “Esther” the Queen of the Jews, heroine of the annual celebration of Purim which was held on March 15. At Easter, Christians rejoice over the resurrection of Jesus after his death, mimicking the rebirth of nature in spring after the long death of winter.
It is also a time to cleanse your immune system with natural remedies. In Wiltshire and other parts of rural Britain it used to be tradition to drink dandelion and burdock cordials as the herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after a harsh winter.
The Equinox of the sun : Gallery
Three Poems , all with the Title “Morning star”
By : Connor Sean McMurrick Crow
A kingdom in ancient history,
long before man was thought to exist,
stood in Hyperborean heartland.
Ruled in peace by a woman of antediluvian
beauty and her King-Groom.
Leviathan, a queen of rare black hair and eyes of velt,
rose every morning to greet the sunrise.
On this particular day, she woke Archon.
With a trailing gown of violet, she led him
by hand through perfumed gardens of
Sunna broke over the hedges and
burnt the mist from frail orchids,
and all that was left of that kingdom
of runic beauty were two lovers entwined in stone.
By : Scott Madden
Dec 22, 2014
The Morning Star
Have you seen the morning star?
It keeps it’s vigil in the East,
A prophet of the dawn.
It rises when the night is at its coldest,
The warmest light in the vast blackness.
It rises when the night is at its darkest,
The brightest light in the black vastness.
Have you seen the morning star?
By : Justinian
Feb 2, 2010
The sun wakes and stretches its rays over the horizon.
Embraced is my heart and my smile shines on.
In my dreams,
you I did miss.
When I awake,
your lips I shall kiss.
50 + Landscape images of Ireland : Happy St Patricks Day !
Happy St Patricks day everyone 🙂 🙂
Below I have posted lots of images from the last few years, all Landscape images of this great Island of Ireland !
St Particks day 2015, an Irish Landscape Gallery
The Old stone bridge, a Poem by, Tony Mitton
The old stone bridge
By, Tony Mitton
The old stone bridge
is where folk stood to talk,
watching the water go under,
hearing its fluent music
gather their words
to carry notions, ruminations, gossip
away in a silver wrapping
of rippled sound.
Sometimes, too, the women would come,
down the stone steps to the brookside
to launder the linen, the clothes.
And again, all the soil,
the sweat and the swear of life,
would be washed in that water,
rolled in that bundle
of tinkling, tumbling sound,
to be carried down,
out of sight and of mind,
rinsed by the workings of water.
Monday Morning Poems – Dark Wood, Dark Water, by – Sylvia Plath
Dark Wood, Dark Water
By : Sylvia Plath
This wood burns a dark
Incense. Pale moss drips
In elbow-scarves, beards
From the archaic
Bones of the great trees.
Blue mists move over
A lake thick with fish.
Snails scroll the border
Of the glazed water
With coils of ram’s-horn.
Out in the open
Down there the late year
Hammers her rare and
Old pewter roots twist
Up from the jet-backed
Mirror of water
And while the air’s clear
Hourglass sifts a
Drift of goldpieces
Bright waterlights are
Sliding their quoits one
After the other
Down boles of the fir.
Its the weekend, so why not find a local lane and take a slow relaxing walk ……..
Have a great weekend , what ever you do 🙂
Last night as I was sleeping, Poem by : Antonio Machado
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous dreams
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous dreams
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous dreams
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.
Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous dreams
that it was life I had
here inside my heart.
When the fishing boats go out , Poem and Images, By L. M. Montgomery
WHEN THE FISHING BOATS GO OUT
By L. M. Montgomery
WHEN the lucent skies of morning flush with dawning rose once more,
And waves of golden glory break adown the sunrise shore,
And o’er the arch of heaven pied films of vapor float.
There’s joyance and there’s freedom when the fishing boats go out.
The wind is blowing freshly up from far, uncharted caves,
And sending sparkling kisses o’er the brows of virgin waves,
While routed dawn-mists shiver–oh, far and fast they flee,
Pierced by the shafts of sunrise athwart the merry sea!
Behind us, fair, light-smitten hills in dappled splendor lie,
Before us the wide ocean runs to meet the limpid sky–
Our hearts are full of poignant life, and care has fled afar
As sweeps the white-winged fishing fleet across the harbor bar.
The sea is calling to us in a blithesome voice and free,
There’s keenest rapture on its breast and boundless liberty!
Each man is master of his craft, its gleaming sails out-blown,
And far behind him on the shore a home he calls his own.
Salt is the breath of ocean slopes and fresher blows the breeze,
And swifter still each bounding keel cuts through the combing seas,
Athwart our masts the shadows of the dipping sea-gulls float,
And all the water-world’s alive when the fishing boats go out.
Visiting an empty Church , Kilcash parish church, Co. Tipperary
I so very rarely visit a church when a service is being held these days, Weddings and Funerals apart.
When I am out walking however, I will often wander into a local church, just for a look around. I am not so sure about the christian story anymore, I was as a child and into my teens but moved away the more I got into the great outdoors and into the nature that surrounds us.
Personally What I find is OK about visiting an empty church is that I have time to think about the spiritual massage they attempt to bring , the very fact however that there is no priest at the alter, well preaching! at you, just gives you a little more space to think for yourself about your own beliefs. These days my own beliefs lay more outside the church as to me if there is a God then he is to be found in nature and not inside the walls of a church.
Its not that I have anything against a church mass or service, its more that I find being outside is more spiritual than being inside a church walls, to me like many, I feel that if there is a god ( such as the church depicts ) then he is as likely if not more to be found in the life that can be found in the forests and the fields as sitting down and listening to a priest.
I feel that if he is to be found then its along a path of discovery in the world of nature that surrounds all of us.
Inside Kilcash Parish Church
Irish Landscapes, Freedom of the Hills, Poem by : Douglas Fraser – 1968
Freedom of the Hills
By: Douglas Fraser – 1968
Mine is the freedom of the tranquil hills
When vagrant breezes bend the sinewy grass,
While sunshine on the widespread landscape spills
And light as down the fleet cloud-shadowed pass.
Mine, still, that freedom when the storm-clouds race,
Cracking their whips against defiant crags
And mists swirl boiling up from inky space
To vanish on the instant, torn to rags.
When winter grips the mountains in a vice,
Silently stifling with its pall of snow,
Checking the streams, draping the rocks in ice,
Still to their mantled summits I would go.
Sun-drenched, I sense the message they impart;
Storm-lashed, I hear it sing through every vein;
Among the snows it whispers to my heart
“Here is your freedom. Taste – and come again.”
Pagan Monday : The Spiral and Nature
The Spiral In the Natural Pagan world
If you have taken many nature photographs or sketched and/or painted outside, you may have noticed just how often you come across one of natures repeating patterns, the Spiral.
From Lichen on rocks to the way the bark grows on some trees, water spinning in a rock pool and the form that galaxy’s take in the night sky.
The last image below was taken at the Local Pagan location of Knickroe, County Kilkenny where most of the stones are marked with the spiral pattern. In this image you can just about make out the form of the Triple Spiral, Possibly representing the : ( “three realms” – Land, Sea and Sky ). Clearly our Pagan ancestors noticed the spiral and give it a significant place in their lives. Today the spiral takes a leading place in Modern Re constructionist Paganism being used in Art and artifacts.
Believed by many people to be an ancient symbol of pre-Celtic and Celtic beliefs, the triple spiral appears in various forms in pre-Celtic and Celtic art, with the earliest examples having been carved on pre-Celtic stone monuments, and later examples found in the Celtic Christian illuminated manuscripts of Insular art. The triple spiral was possibly the precursor to the later triskele design found in the manuscripts.
Christian Celtic symbolism
What the symbol meant to the pagans who built Newgrange and other monuments is unknown; but, as Christianity came into the forefront in Ireland before the 5th century, AD, the triskele took on new meaning, Kidnapped somewhat as a symbol of the Trinity (i.e., Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and, therefore, also a symbol of eternity. Its popularity continues today as a decorative symbol of faith for Christians of Celtic descent around the world.
The triple spiral
The triple spiral is one of the main symbols of Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, often standing for the “three realms” – Land, Sea and Sky, or for one of a number of deities who are described in the lore as “threefold” or triadic. The god Manannán is probably most often the one symbolized by the triskele, though some also use it for the goddess Brighid. Some Celtic-inspired Wiccans also use the triple spiral symbol, most often to represent the concept of the triple goddess.
According to Uriel’s Machine by Knight and Lomas (2003), the triple spiral may represent the nine-month period of human pregnancy, since the sun takes a fourth of a year to go from the celestial equator (an equinox) to extreme north or south declination (a solstice), and vice versa. During each three-month period, the sun’s path across the sky appears to form a closely wound quasi-helical shape, which can be likened to a spiral, so that three spirals could represent nine months, providing an explanation for a link between fertility and the triple-spiral symbol.
Its the first full weekend of March, so why not go out for a Spring time walk …….
Its the first full weekend of March, so why not go out for a walk and see what Spring time changes you can find ….
Have a great weekend what every you do !!!!
Irish Landscape Photography – The River Suir at Mooncoin , County Kilkenny
Fishing on the River suir
A walk along the river Suir, at Mooncoin, County Kilkenny is one of the best river walks in the south east of Ireland.
The river is used by many local people during the year but the fisher men are probably it’s most common visitors, the River is renowned for its game angling, holding both salmon (Salmo salar) and brown trout (Salmo trutta).
I have taken many photographs of the fishermen here over the years, alone with their boats, used for their fishing. These boats ( all made locally ) are used more like punts as they have a completely flat bottom and are moved along the river using a pole.
Allihies copper mines, Copper Mine a Poem By : Madhu Kailas
The Copper mines located at the small town of Allihies , west cork Ireland are amongst some of the most worked and preserved in this part of Europe , their history is as follows :
Copper mining started in Allihies in 1812 when John Puxley, a local landlord, identified the large quartz promontory at Dooneen as copper bearing from its bright Malachite staining.
The Allihies Mines
Initial mining began with a tunnel or adit driven into the quartz lode from the pebble beach below. In 1821 two shafts were sunk . Flooding was a continuous problem and in 1823 the engine house was erected to house a steam engine brought over from Cornwall to pump water from the depths. The remains of this building with the base of the chimney can be seen across the road. There is also evidence of a steam powered stamp engine to the left of the chimney and dressing floors in front of the engine house. The high dam further inland is the remaining evidence of a water reservoir which stored the water that was pumped out from the bottom of the mine. It was used for the steam engines and needed to separate the copper from rock. All the rubble on the cliff at the sea side of the road is the crushed useless quartz rock left over after the copper ore was extracted.
This is one of six productive mines in the Allihies area and its operation continued until 1838 when it closed due to failing ore.
John Puxley died in 1860 and in 1868 his son Henry Puxley sold the mines to the new Berehaven Mining Company who reopened the mine and installed a new 22 inch steam engine in 1872. Little ore was produced though in this period and the mine was finally abandoned in 1878.
By : Madhu Kailas
a large reservoir of emptiness.
Deep down where only
the moon can touch
dregs of an empty cup,
static turquoise fluid
of residual copper blood.
crawl like dwarf ants.
Along grooves etched by mortal hands.
Gnaw at rocks,
startled out of deep sleep
to be stripped.
An ancient cave painting
tumbles out of extinction
delineated by squished insect blood
on ochre flats.
Dead insects scrabble out of rocks
on the landscape of our civilisation.
When will I see the Bog Cotton again ?
Each year that comes and goes in the Irish bog-land landscape, for me is marked by the summer Bog Cotton. This amazing grass covers many of Ireland boggy wet lands , on the mountain sides and the low lands of midlands through out the country. Only for the fact that much of the Countries bogs are farmed for peat ( leaving the landscape scraped and scared, with no plant life left ! ) then their would be huge areas in the summer months all covered with white Cotton blowing in the wind.
When Will I see the Bog Cotton again ?
Well Starting from this May and June I hope, and I will be getting lots more pictures and just taking time to appreciate the views it brings !!!
Bee-Keeping with a mountain view, Slievenamon, Co. Tipperary
Bee Keeping with a view of SLievenamon, Co. Tipperary
Irish Landscapes : Nigel Borrington
Bee Keeping in Ireland is often a personal activity, with many hives being kept on family farms and Gardens, even sometimes with the permission of the forestry services.
I often come across a set of Hives while out walking in our local woodland. In the images here , taken last weekend the hives are located on the some hills facing to the north, the great mountain of Slievenamon just across the river Suir.
Very soon these Hives will be active again and I will return to get so more images.
The Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations have a great web site and help on getting going with keeping bee’s, this must be a great activity and very needed with modern farming methods having massively reduced Bee numbers. I have included the text from this site on “How to become a beekeeper” below the following two images, if you would like to read it.
Beginning with Bees , The urge to keep bees: How do I start?
The beginner should first of all find out if he/she is in any way allergic to bee stings and if so not to attempt acquiring bees or taking up beekeeping without seeking medical advice.
When the urge to keep bees first hits you, the impulse is to go out and buy a hive straight away, and learn by doing in isolation – this is not the best approach. The best first step is to join your local branch of the Beekeepers’ Association, preferably in the Autumn.
You can then attend their classes for beginners and programme of winter lectures which are held frequently and cover all aspects of beekeeping. There are 45 such Associations scattered throughout the country.
Other benefits of membership include the use of a library – video and book, plenty of friendly advice and you are kept up to date with developments within the craft. You can also use the Association extractor, can avail of sugar at concessionary prices and benefit from the low cost of FIBKA Public Liability Insurance. The latter is an absolute must as accidents can happen.
It is worthwhile if only for your own piece of mind. Whilst a subscription to “An Beachaire” may be optional, a good book is essential and the FIBKA’s “Bees, Hives and Honey” or Ted Hooper’s “Guide to Bees and Honey” are standard references for beginners and experienced alike.
Some Associations also provide a mentoring facility whereby the beginner is assigned to an experienced beekeeper within his or her local area for the purpose of giving advice for the first couple of years. This is an excellent idea as having someone close at hand or at the end of a telephone is a useful asset.
If you wish to keep bees, and irrespective of all the protective measures that you might take, you will receive the occasional sting. Everyone will show some reaction to bee stings, such as the initial pain, and later a slight swelling of the affected area, later followed by some itching.
The effects can be reduced by applying an antihistamine cream or even taking tablets such as Piriton, but generally the body will quickly become accustomed to the occasional sting and will display few adverse effects.
There are many forms of protective clothing on the market which range from veils right through to full bee suits. And the prices are commensurate with the degree of cover. A full bee suit is the ideal acquisition but the prices are fairly steep and it may not be even to your taste.
A smock, together with the type of trousers worn by nurses or painters, may be more suitable.
Be wary of veils which slip over the head and are attached by straps or loops under the armpits; bees invariably find a way to gain access to your neck and face. The safest way to wear that sort of veil is in conjunction with a zip up overall.
Any protective clothing should be light in colour, nothing dark. Nylon should be avoided as it generates static, which is annoying to bees. Woolly clothing should also be shunned, as they get tangled up in it.
When handling bees, beginners should also use gloves. With full gauntlets they are costly but should last several years. I use rubber gloves which are less clumsy – “Nitrile” or “Marigold” brands.
The ultimate objective is to obtain a strain of bee that is not overly defensive, become proficient in handling them, and so dispense with gloves altogether.
Ankles are prime targets for bees and calf length rubber boots should be worn.
The monthly beekeeping journal carries advertisements from firms selling all types of beekeeping equipment. The first two essential items you need to acquire are a smoker and a hive tool.
Smokers come in two standard sizes, the diameters of the fireboxes being 8cms and 10cms. The smaller version is quite adequate for up to ten hives.
When servicing the smoker, ensure that the legs of the fire grate are not restricting the air entry hole at the base of the firebox and also check that this hole is directly in line with the air exit hole from the bellows.
As for fuel, I use dried grass which provides a constant supply of cool smoke. What you don’t want is a type of fuel which burns too quickly and turns your smoker into a flame thrower which scorches the bee’s wings. This aggravates the bees and they will not delay in letting you know of their displeasure.
There are many types of hives available on the Irish market. However, in selecting a hive type it is important to determine that the component parts for the brood chambers and supers are readily available.
The most common type of hives used in Ireland which would measure up to these requirements are the National, the Smith Hive and the Modified Commercial Hive. The approximate comb areas of the various frames are: National and Smith Deep – 5000 worker cells Commercial Deep – 7000 worker cells.
The two most popular hives are the National and the Commercial. Although the latter have larger frames, the outer dimensions of component boxes are the same, to within a quarter of an inch, so that supers, queen excluders, crown boards, floors and roofs are all compatible.
My first choice would be the National hive because it has the following advantages:
The frames are easier to handle as they have longer lugs (38mm) than the Commercial (16mm).
The National brood box and Super are also easier to handle as the design has a built in handle at both sides.
The capacity of the National brood box and super is smaller than that of the Commercial which means it is lighter to lift when examining the hive and taking off the crop of honey.
The most important advantage is the higher honey yield from the National compared to the Commercial as the National brood box is too small to accommodate brood and much stores, therefore most of the honey is stored in the supers where it can be easily taken off for extraction. This is especially true in a bad year with poor weather conditions during the Summer. The Commercial is best suited to localities where the honey crop is above average.
In addition to the brood box, varroa screen floor, crown board, queen excluder and roof you should make provision for three supers per hive.
It is usually best to treat exterior surfaces with a good preservative, like Cuprinol – green or Fencelife and taking care to air well for a week or more. Normal paint stops the wood ‘breathing’ and can lead to moisture lifting the paint in bubbles.
Obtaining your first colony : A Nucleus
By the Spring you will have a good background of knowledge to help you decide on what to buy and how to start up.
It is essential that you start with a healthy and productive stock of bees. You should contact a reputable beekeeper in your region for assistance in obtaining your first colony.
While it is also possible to start by obtaining a swarm, this is an unreliable method and you have no assurance of the health status of the resulting colony.
You may be tempted to buy a strong colony in the hope of a quick return of honey this Summer, but sometimes the difficulty of handling a large stock as a beginner can put a newcomer off for life.
It is far better to arrange with a local beekeeper to buy a four-frame nucleus with a young queen, taking delivery at the end of May or early in June. This is also the time when outdoor open hive demonstrations are organised by your Association where you can learn how to handle and control a stock of bees.
You can now expand this newly acquired nucleus by regular feeding with sugar syrup into a full hive of eleven frames by July. They will be very quiet and easy to handle and as they grow in strength you will gain in experience, confidence and the necessary manual skills of beekeeping.
There will be no swarming problems to cope with in your first year and with autumn feeding the stock will cope with the coldest winter
By the following Spring you will be well placed to increase to two stocks by making an artificial swarm from your own hive in May.
If you have built or acquired a couple of empty hives over the Winter you will also be ready to take or buy in swarms sometime in May or June, and by July you will have at least three good stocks and the experience necessary to manage them.
You should also have a crop of honey and an opportunity to learn the techniques involved in taking it off, extracting, bottling and preparing it for sale.
It will still only be fifteen months since you first owned bees but you have come a long way, and it might be wise to stay with just two or three hives for another year. It is much better to make your mistakes on two or three hives than on twenty. Possibly three hives are all you intend to have anyway.
In either case, make a four frame nucleus from your strongest stock some time in the Summer and see it through the Winter to sell to another beginner, to increase you own stocks or as a reserve in case anything goes wrong.
The Honey Crop
Honey yield is greatly influenced by seasonality. However a beekeeper who attends to the basic principles of management should be able to achieve an average of 20kg per hive per annum.
The yields obtained at the Teagasc Beekeeping Research Station at Clonroche, County Wexford confirm this view. The yield from 75 colonies managed commercially at Clonroche has been 25 kg per colony per annum. This has been achieved by working to a planned programme of management and disease control.
The beginner should be familiar with the varroa control measures as outlined in the FIBKA Guidelines on Varroa Destructor – Integrated Control Programme . The varroa mite is a major threat to the survival of all our bee colonies
Where can I keep my bees?
The newcomer to the craft of beekeeping must decide where to site his or her apiary. Even a small garden is adequate for the keeping of a few hives. Bees fly anything up to three miles to forage so you have no need to worry about that. Even the largest beehive will measure about two feet square and that is all that is needed for each hive, but don’t forget to add a little space to stand along side it to work the colony.
You might like your honeybees but it is unlikely that your neighbour will display the same enthusiasm. Bees have no need to disturb others, whether human or animals, it is just a case of ensuring that their flight paths to and from the hive do not coincide with neighbours working in their gardens. Hives standing in full sun should be avoided, try to provide some midday shade.
Some say that entrances should face south-east to catch the early morning sun. The best layout is to have a hive facing each of the four cardinal points of the compass-one facing north, one facing south etc. This does help to prevent bees drifting from their own hive into another.
Some beekeepers have an out-apiary away from their home and your local Association will have a demonstration apiary for the members to use.
How much time do I need to devote to the bees?
We usually regard the period from October to March as the ‘off-season’ so far as opening up hives, lifting out frames and manipulations generally are concerned, but a limited inspection on a mild day in March can be justified on the grounds that we can only help our bees if we know what help they need. Just three questions have to be answered at this time of year.
Have they a laying queen? In some cases the answer may be obvious; for example if the bees are flying freely around midday and taking in massive loads of pollen, then all is well with the queen.
Have they enough food? If the hive still feels really heavy when hefted, they have enough food. Possibly about 1 hive in 3 will either feel light, or show little flying activity with not much pollen going in, and in these cases some action is required.
What is the natural varroa mite mortality per day? If this figure exceeds seven mites per day then control is necessary using one of the approved treatments. Check the updated F.I.B.K.A. policy on varroa for details. You have to continue with your colony inspections right through the Summer. So the time you need to devote to your bees could be as little as 15 minutes per hive every 10-14 days during the season from April to September. Usually the problem is that new beekeepers are unable to leave the bees alone for the first season.
March 13, 2015 | Categories: Comment, Gallery, Landscape, Nature and Wildlife | Tags: Bee Hives, Bee Keeping, beekeeping, bees, Co. Tipperary, Federation of Irish Beekeepers, hives, Irish Landscapes, Nigel Borrington, Slievenamon | 2 Comments