Saturday, 16 June 2007

Busy Bees

Oh. My. God. To say the least.

I am beyond exhausted.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you'll know about my disappointment at the cancellation of
Avalon Witchcamp. In the aftermath, a suggestion was made that an alternative event be put on in its place. Somehow - I guess I'm just a gal who can't say no - I have found myself in the thick of organising a Reclaiming Summer Gathering for disappointed Witchcampers and other interested parties. It has been exhausting just because there is so much to do before the Gathering manifests in early August. Plus there are complicated financial manoeuvres to ensure Avalon gets paid back its deposit on the venue so that disappointed Witchcampers can get reimbursed their deposits so they can pay to come to the Gathering. I think. My head is spinning just thinking about it. And of course we are trying to decide what workshops and activities to provide, what supplies we may need to cost in and how to get word out in time to ensure a good attendance.

On top of that I'm working on a fundraising project to help Avalon out with the balance of the debts they've incurred in planning camp for this year. I've been pasting together a 'Best Of' the British Reclaiming Newsletter (of which I'm editor) to sell to raise funds. It's been fiddly and time consuming, but I'm quite pleased with the results so far, and I already have three advance orders, even though it's not quite ready yet.

And for some reason I can't quite remember in the midst of all this - although I do know that it seemed a grand idea at the time - I've invited the members of the local Pagan Moot along to a Summer Solstice ritual and feast next Thursday evening, for which I have so far had absolutely no time to prepare.

Plus in the mundane world of Jobs That Must Be Done I'm in the middle of painting our kitchen, and trying to stay on top of a garden that - now we've had some rain - thinks it's some kind of temperate jungle.

And the phone hasn't stopped ringing all day (I think everyone who knows us has rung at least once).

By this evening I was really, really tired - and more than happy to sit down in front of the TV to watch Dr Who and consume veg & cashew nut stir fry and a bottle or two of lager. Ah!

Ah! That is, until I strolled down the hill to give the chickens their evening corn - and discovered bees swarming in one of the trees in the orchard. Then it was more like, 'Aaaaaaaggghhhh!!!!!'.

There were two possibilities - either they were our own bees, about to fly off and forsake us for pastures new, or they were a new swarm looking for a home. With a decent swarm of bees at the local auction fetching on average £130 this spring, either way we didn't want to lose them. Knowing that a swarm can take off and fly away at any moment, I dashed breathlessly back up the hill to alert T. We struggled into our protective gear and grabbed a spare hive and a box to shake the swarm into. Have you ever tried to run full pelt down a Welsh hillside in a beekeeping suit and veil whilst carrying a hive? I really don't recommend it. Especially after a large plate of stir fry and a couple of lagers.

It says in all the books that swarming bees are docile and don't sting (wrong!). It says that all you have to do is give the branch a firm shake and the whole mass will fall gently into the box from whence they can be transferred to their new home (wrong!). It makes it sound like a piece of cake. It isn't. These bees have obviously been reading different books.

But, at last they were (most of them) in their new hive. Tomorrow we will be able to have a proper check and establish if we've merely relocated our existing bees or if we're lucky enough, captured a new swarm. Right now I actually don't care much. At least I should sleep well!


Mike Farley said...

You have forgotten to tell us the most important bit - did you get to see Dr Who? Because if you didn't....oooh! You missed a belter!

Tori said...

Good for you for taking on this task-and what a huge one it is, but a labor of love.
Thanks for the update- and excellent photo of a poppy.

Be Well~

Moonroot said...

Thanks, guys!
Mike - We did see Dr Who (I went out to feed the chooks when it finished), although we missed the first bit because the satellite dish was throwing a wobbly. I think we caught up alright though, except for not getting the backstory about what the critters with the nasty big teeth were all about, why the edge of the universe & why Jack? But that all turned out to be a bit academic really when the twist was revealed at the end (though I guessed it! Yay me!). Trust your lovely wife was enjoying the scenery?

Faerose said...

oooo i loved your post – have you now got more bees – did they stay?

Your very brave taking on the Summer gathering…

Its funny, I also almost called you the other day – trying to decide if I wanted to stop by with my family and see everyone at the summer gathering for a day. Maybe.

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow! No such thing as a peaceful summer for you, Moonroot! Congrats on the new bees. I've seen so many of them flirting with all the blossoming flowers here on the Hill. They scare me, even though i know they're beneficent beings.

Good luck with the gathering - I would love to order a copy of the "best of" - will you email me to let me know how much I should send you? Also probably need your mailing address.

May the force be with you!!

Moonroot said...

The bees are still here, I'm hoping we can persuade them to make it a permanent move (they're a new swarm) :)

Faerose, I really hope you decide to come along - it's been ages since I've seen you. Either way, let's talk!
Reya, I'll drop you an email and we can sort out how to arrange getting a copy to you.

Tess said...

Hi, have just been taking a look round your site after you commented on mine. Not surprised you were beyond exhausted after I read this post!
I love the photograph at the top of your site - this may sound a bit strange but it reminds me of a rustic Mary Magdalene!! She's often pictured in orthodox iconography with an egg in her hand.
Hope you're recovering from the bees, and look forward to reading more from your Welsh hillside.

deborah oak said...

Happy Solstice, Susan! Hope this new hive settles in and eventually brings sweetness! Life in the country sounds far from sedate!!! And blessings on you for taking on the job of organizing a gathering at Earthspirit...i really wish I could be there!!

Anne Hill said...

Oh my goodness, I've hived a few swarms and it is NEVER as easy as they make it out to be. Congratulations on getting them hived. £130?! Amazing.
Best of luck with everything you've taken on this summer!