Bee Boles and Blarney

Gate to walled garden at Dromoland

Last week I hopped over the Irish Sea for a short stay in the ancestral homeland. I had volunteered to be Mike and Lesley Palmer’s driver for a few days. Mike had finished his bee talks in Cork and was spending some time in County Clare before moving up to Northern Ireland to continue his…

Local Knowledge: Weather

Wind Gust Chart from Dark Sky

What a difference a few weeks makes, weather-wise, in this crazy country I live in. As I munched my way through two slices of malted grain toast with butter and orange marmalade, I looked out this morning on incessant rain. A few weeks ago we were basking in record-breaking temperatures and blue skies, but now…

Hot February Bad for Bees?

plum tree blossom

Hotter than Athens A couple of days ago we had a Winter heatwave in the UK courtesy of air being brought up from much further South. On 26 February the Evening Standard reported, “UK February temperature record broken for second day running.” Where I keep my bees, the temperature reached 19 degrees Celsius (66 deg…

Interview with Walrus

Steve Donohoe 2019

Just in case any readers want to know what little ole me thinks, I have answered some of my interview questions: Q: Is there any family history of beekeeping? A: Not that I know of Q: How did you get started? A: I went to evening classes run by the Cheshire Beekeeping Association. The tutor…

Walrus becomes Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter (c) Disney

Now and then something comes along which makes one’s life take off in unexpected directions. I was always a bookworm as a child, a sponge for theoretical knowledge, an academic. I hated woodwork and metalwork lessons at school and dropped them as soon as I could so that I was able to focus on science…

Let’s Keep Some Perspective

Hazel Catkins

Losing sleep about bees Beekeepers, especially those new to the noble art, get anxious about a multitude of factors surrounding the keeping of their bees. I know this by looking at posts on beekeeping forums and letters in the bee press. Also, I remember how I used to worry endlessly about so many things in my first few…

Bees, Bubbles and Business

Until three years ago most of my working life had been about finance in one form or another. I started as a trainee accountant in the City of London, way back in the ’80s, and I have worked in both large and small companies doing exciting things like financial analysis, financial planning, pricing, budgets, process…

Visit to French Hill Apiaries

Mike Palmer and his truck

I noticed that Vermont beekeeper Mike Palmer has now got a website, so here are some notes from my visit to meet him 18 months ago: The Journey to America I stayed with Mike and Lesley Palmer for a few days in July 2017. My daughter ClĂ­ona, who is also my beekeeping assistant, was happy…

Bees need a holiday too!

Montana Scenery

Last October I was in Northern California to interview Ray Olivarez of Olivarez Honey Bees. It took a fair bit of arranging to get a date which worked for Ray but eventually we settled on Tuesday 23rd October at his place in Orland. A walrus far from home… My flight from the UK landed at…