Bee off with you!

For some time now Joe had been looking longingly at the empty space between the back of the house facing La Maroma and the two nicely maturing oak trees.  It needed a wall, he said, so a wall it got. Not high enough to shield us from the prevailing wind, but I certainly agreed with him that a low wall would finish off that area nicely.

Beginning of wallJB heavy stoneHe went at the task with his usual gusto – lots of foraging trips interspersed with intensive building – and within ten short days some sturdy foundations were in place, quickly topped by several substantial stone layers.  Some of the stones were monsters, one in particular pushed his body to its limits.

Finished wall front Finished wall back“A showpiece wall”, I declared, “… and you’ve done it with such an incredible mix of colours, textures, shapes and patterns”.

JB surveying completed wall 23 Mar 14He looked particularly pleased with himself, so I managed to catch this rare sight on camera for posterity, as he sat back in the chair and surveyed his handiwork.

He does have an annoying habit of making things look easy.

Finished JDF wall rear 23 Mar 14 (2)Oak catkins 12 Apr 14Even the two nearby encinas (oak trees) showed their appreciation by treating us to a bountiful display of catkins almost immediately afterwards.

Cabin 17 Mar 14We had to dash back to England for a couple of weeks.  Elderly parents; who’d have ’em?! But it was lovely to come home, great to be on the final leg of the drive from the airport, swinging round the last bend and catching first sight of our little wooden house waiting for us. Everything was so green!

However, on getting out of the car there was a very noticeable buzzing that we recognised immediately.  Oh god, the bees are swarming again! About five years ago, again on returning from the UK, we found the honey bees had made their home in our eaves.  That time, once we’d encouraged them to leave, Joe had to dismantle part of the side of the house from which he removed a half metre tall honeycomb. That was before our roof ladder was stolen – it would be tricky to do the same again without one now, we thought.

Bees in house 10 Apr 14 (1)They were swarming around the eaves in the same place as before.  We hurriedly got inside the house, crunch, crunch – hundreds of crispy bee corpses all over the floor that you couldn’t help walking on.  It was quite heartbreaking.  Dead, dying and buzzing bees littered every room except one: nothing we could do about it as they apparently die of dehydration indoors after a short period of time.  The cabin has masses of cracks and holes and the honeybees certainly rubbed it in!  We felt under siege for the rest of the afternoon and evening, catching more and more of the little chaps and putting them quickly outside.

Euphorbia 11 Apr 14Mum's iris 12 Apr 14Anyhow, after another day of fairly light bee activity, we have been largely left in peace, although every day we have a sort of bee tinnitus when we go outside as it is now a bumper time for them with all the native and cultivated flowers and grasses bursting into life.

Aloe flower 12 Apr 14Coral geranium 11 Apr 14First of grasses 12 Apr 14One hive can contain as much as 10,000 to 60,000 bees, so we can count ourselves very lucky indeed that the swarm simply dispersed without any serious casualties on either behalf.

Pink Butterfly Orchid 11 Apr 14 (8) Pink Butterfly Orchid 11 Apr 14 (3)I wrote in an earlier post that the wild boar had rotovated most of our land and I was worried that they’d targeted the pink butterfly orchids that had been slowly colonising.  Well, the good news is, they didn’t manage to harm the orchids, and here’s the living proof – we have more than ever before. Thank you jabali!

Decapitated smooth snake 11 Apr 14 - CopyThis little chap wasn’t so lucky, however.  As I walked around staring in wonderment at the orchids, I stumbled across the remains of what I think was a smooth snake.  His head had been bitten off, so this made him a little more difficult for me to identify!  Yuck!  I wonder who dunnit?

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1 Response to Bee off with you!

  1. jbfoggy says:

    Beautiful photos and gentle words. Sitting here in the UK again, they leave me with a very warm glow in my stomach at the thought of returning soon to the mountain paradise.

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