Tuesday 8 December 2009

Christmas Meal - Monday 7th December, 2009

[click on any image to see the full gory details!]

Just a quick post mainly to thank Beenie for arranging last nights YABeeP social gathering and meal 

Whilst not everyone could make it (in particular we hope you are feeling better John!) those that did attend had a really great time. The choice of venue was excellent - Peter & Sue's recommendation I understand - and we all enjoyed really first class cuisine. As always, the banter was first class yet, despite being a bee group, most of the chit chat I heard was more of a social nature, just as it should be.

Having seen the picture of herself brandishing a saw at Ray in a most aggressive manner in the Bumble workshop page, Beenie thought that we ought to have a caption competition for the photographs. It is in this spirit that I post some pictures from last night celebrations - please feel free to email any suggestions to her!

I plan to circulate a suggested schedule for meetings next year in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, 'er indoors and I wish all YABeeP members, associates and their bees a very

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Please feel free to edit or comment on this entry 

Sunday 6 December 2009

Bumbles & Solitary bees - Yet another fun workshop

Just a quick entry to acknowledge the really great YABeeP Bumble and Solitary bee home building workshop we held yesterday - Saturday 5th December 2009.

Ray had kindly offered us the use of his under cover workshop facilities (double garage!) so several of us assembled at his place in Cheddar on yet another sunny morn' – the sun seems to always shine on our workshops and meetings so we must be doing something right!

Marc Carlton, from the excellent Gardens for Wildlife website which gives bee-friendly, and other pollinating insect, gardening advice, had very kindly come 'over the water' to join us.

After coffee, Marc kicked off proceedings by giving us a short talk passing on his experience and expertise on solitary and bumble bees, plus giving us some tips on how to make our bee boxes more attractive to their intended lodgers. His experience with solitary bee homes means we should expect to see a changing environment of pollinating insects take up residence as they mature and further species move in to replace others already in residence. Indeed, Marc suggested that they will not only provide a focus for insects, but for other species as Great Tits, Woodpeckers, small mammals and others find them a healthy source of larvae proteins. Perhaps some chicken wire is called for for insect protection!

Following the talk the assembled crowd broke out into Ray's garage and split into small groups to make up the boxes according to plans we had secured. Piles of pallet wood had been brought by several members who clearly seemed to have honed the art of scavenging recycled materials. First prise here must surely go to Lou who had pre-cut her substantial stock into neatly bundled piles ready to start.

The box building parties beavered away in what seemed like a friendly a spirit of competition, taking the occasional pause to chat amongst themselves, pick Marc's brain, exchange insults, or just socialise – some were even noted not to be working at all but just sitting around 'supervising' !!! Proceedings were then brought to a sudden halt when Annette, Ray's partner, appeared armed with more hot drinks and a healthy pile of home-made bacon sarnies.

Not that we were in competition but Lou and Simon did seem to be first at assembling a new box – though I rather expect that they must have cheated as they were suspiciously quiet in their labour!!! I lost count of the number of boxes that were made on the day but suffice it to say that the group now have should be in a strong position to increase our stocks of pollinating insects this coming season.

It was yet another enjoyable morning for all – I really can't understand why, when we come together to work hard, we end up having such fun!

Thanks go to all for coming along and making it such an enjoyable success, but especially we need to thank the following:
  • Marc for coming over from Chepstow to teach us despite the Transport Gods conspiring against him with the closure of the Severn Tunnel and the disruption to bus timetables;
  • Simon & Lou for so gallantly solving Mar's last minute transport problem;
  • Ray and Annette for opening up their home to us and providing the drinks and sarnies;
  • John for masterminding the organisation of the day and bullying me to send out emails, etc. on his behalf;
  • all of those who brought along the mountain of building materials, tools and supplies
  • and others for bringing the biscuits to keep us all going between meals!

Now I must rest to gain strength for Monday's Christmas get-together – does it never end!!!!

© Robin Morris - YABeeP