‘She will have to go!’ said one of the arrogant workers, ‘It's the way of the bees. Someone will have to kill her!’
‘Isn’t that a bit drastic?’ said Cari, who had known the queen all of her life.
The arrogant worker turned and stared at Cari. ‘She is grumpy and ill tempered and if that carries on there will be a swarm. She has to go!’
Cari knew she had to warn the queen before it was too late.
Meanwhile, not very far away, a young princess was about to be born.
‘She will be our new queen,’ said the arrogant worker. ‘We will call her Myfanwy, queen of our home for waifs and strays.
It was warm in the hive so some of the workers fanned the comb where the princess lay and fed her drops of royal jelly so she would grow into a queen. Others went in search for the grumpy old queen, intent on killing her. But Cari had done her job well, she had warned the queen and a swarm of bees took her away to a safe place.
Shortly afterwards, Queen Myfwany was born. She was taken to the throne in a large chamber. The whole hive gasped at her beauty. But one gasped louder than all the others. His name was Lord Garnock the Drone. Queen Myfwany saw the Drone and instantly fell for his charms.
The young queen was told that she would have to be married as soon as possible. The hive could not survive without children. She asked to see Lord Garnock, but was told he lived in another hive.
‘A meeting will be arranged,’ said a worker and away he went.
It was Cari who took the young queen to meet the Drone. On the way there, navigating by the sun, Cari told Queen Myfanwy the sad truth.
‘You cannot go back to the hive unless you are carrying children,’ she said softly. ‘If you are not, they will certainly kill you.’
The young queen smiled at Cari. ‘They will not kill me,’ she said laughing, ‘I will marry the Drone and have his children.’
‘Oh but you don’t understand,’ Cari said desperately. ‘If you have the Drone’s children, then he will certainly die anyway. That is how it is with all Drones. It is the way of the bees.’
Queen Myfanwy rested on a flower. ‘I do not understand,’ she said sadly. ‘It seems I am doomed whatever I do.’
Before Cari could answer, Lord Garnock the Drone landed besides them. The queen’s heart raced with excitement. She hardly knew him but they were bound by a love too great to ignore.
They were married on the flower and soon the young queen was expecting her children.
‘I have never been so happy,’ said the queen to Cari. ‘I have everything a queen could wish for.’
Cari just lowered her head to hide her tears.
‘We must go back to the hive for the children to be born,’ said the queen. ‘Where is my husband?’
Cari touched the delicate wings of the young queen. ‘I’m afraid he is dead,’ she said sadly. ‘That is the harsh reality of being a Drone. It is the way of the bees.’
The queen flew in silence all the way back to the hive. Her children were born shortly afterwards. As the bee nurses tended to the young, Cari entered the chamber.
‘There is someone I would like you to meet,’ said Cari to the queen. ‘His name is Lord Melkin.’
‘But is it not too soon?’ said the queen.
‘It is the way of the bees,’ replied Cari, ‘the only way to survive!’
The Bee Boy's Song
Bees! Bees! Hark to your bees!
“Hide from your neigbours as much as you please,
But all that has happened, to us you must tell,
Or else we will give you no honey to sell!”
A maiden in her glory,
Upon her wedding-day,
Must tell her Bees the story,
Or else they’ll fly away.
Fly away — die away –
Dwindle down and leave you!
But if you don’t deceive your Bees,
Your Bees will not deceive you.
Marriage, birth or buryin’,
News across the seas,
All you’re sad or merry in,
You must tell the Bees.
Tell ‘em coming in an’ out,
Where the Fanners fan,
‘Cause the Bees are just about
As curious as a man!
Don’t you wait where the trees are,
When the lightnings play,
Nor don’t you hate where Bees are,
Or else they’ll pine away.
Pine away — dwine away –
Anything to leave you!
But if you never grieve your Bees,
Your Bees’ll never grieve you.
Even when no boat floats upon it and no fish can be seen, and even if the water is as smooth as a millpond, it still has the power to draw one to it.
The original name for the Pacific Ocean was ‘peaceful sea’ and although at times this isn’t the case, there is a certain aura of both peacefulness and power about it. It has the power to give and the power to take away.
Below this surface that we often stare at with little thought, are thousands of islands, volcanoes, valleys and the longest mountain range on Earth, known as The Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Indeed, another world full of mystery. Another world full of life we have yet to discover.
But we do know that the largest animal ever to have lived on this planet, lives beneath this water we love to stare at. The Blue whale, (Balaenoptera musculus) is around 30 metres in length and weighs 170 tonnes or more. Her voice is louder than a jet and her heart is about the size of a Volkswagen beetle, how amazing is that?
So it is no wonder we stare at this magnitude of water that covers 70% of our planet. The sheer size of it is enough to make anyone feel in awe of its vastness. From its gentle ripples to its tsunamis, this part of our planet will always be something to watch, to listen to, to be mindful of.
For me, standing at the water’s edge, drinking in the fresh salty air, allows me to think or to meditate and not think at all. If I’m sad, its endless murmur soothes and restores my soul.
‘We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch-we are going back from whence we came.’
John F Kennedy
Despite being a few days away from Autumn, the village has an air of lethargy about it. People seem to have hibernated earlier than normal and even the animals are rather quiet. However, activity at our home for waifs and strays remains the same, busy!
Just a few weeks ago I discovered five hoglets (baby hedgehogs) wondering aimlessly in our garden. Their mum was nowhere in sight. A neighbour had a huge fire just a few days before, so we can only imagine the worse. We took the wee babies to the small animal hospital in the woods, where they flourished and were recently released down by the pond. It was amazing to see how much weight they had gained. For many nights we stayed up to see if they returned to the garden and sure enough, they did. Making snorting sounds as they scurried around the pond and in the allotment. We feel blessed and privileged to share our home with these incredible creatures.
Not all is well at our home for waifs and strays. The foxing hour is no longer just that. They prowl for hours around our hedges and fences, usually doing a spot of blackberry picking. We can always tell if they’ve been eating berries by the colour of their faeces. My kind and unassuming husband and I lay awake for what seems hours, listening with bated breath to their twenty-eight different communicating calls to each other. Despite doing the best we can to protect our hens, the fox is as wily as they say but they are just wild animals trying to survive like anyone else. A sad fact is these animals, related to dogs, could live for nine or ten years but usually die before the age of two and most cubs die before they reach adulthood. Did you know, that around 10,000 fox cubs are killed each year because of cub hunting? However, this doesn’t stop us worrying about our girls!
Over at the far end of the graden, the allotment has flourished. We’ve been harvesting fruit and vegetables for many weeks now and giving surplus veggie boxes to family and friends. But we still have a lot to learn as so much of what we grew was lost, due to white/black fly and cabbage whites. I have never ever seen so many caterpillars! As I could never kill a living thing, I relent and let the crawly creatures munch away. However, I must add, I took many of them up onto the moor and set them free. It was a bit tricky making a trap for the flies, but it worked and, in the end, just the cucumbers in the greenhouse were slaughtered!
Down by the pond, things are flourishing without our help and it’s beginning to look just as we hoped, wild and interesting. Lily pads have proved a haven for much of the wildlife above and below their shiny green leaves. A friend asked if he could go pond dipping yesterday as he needed a snail for his fish tank. After a few minutes, he not only found what he was looking for, but lots of young newts too. So, we sat on the bench with a cup of sweet tea and celebrated our pond success!
Back at the chicken coop, another two hens have gone broody. If they think we’re going to have more chicks, they can think again!
All in all, life at our home for waifs and strays is ticking along. There’s a lot more going on of course, but I will talk to you about it another day.
Thank you for stopping by. Until next time, take care and remember it’s later than you think!
It was almost too difficult to walk along the beach this morning, due to the storms washing up thousands (not hundreds) of barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo). It was eerie and sad at the same time, seeing the three mile sandy beach turned into a mass grave for these gentle giants.
Like huge, alien mushrooms, each with eight frilly looking arms, they came to rest at the water’s edge. Their bodies, the size of dustpan lids, are 95% water and they survive without a brain, blood or a heart. And yet, even after death and although, mostly harmless to humans, one can still get a slight sting if you brush against their jelly form.
I wonder what will become of them now. Another storm or high tide will wash them back out to sea I guess, from whence they came.
Cleaning the garden is much more favourable then cleaning the house! But just like the house, I have a habit of changing things around. The garden never seems to look the same one year to the next and quite often, my kind and unassuming husband (a creature of habit) gets quite exasperated with my ‘uplifting’ projects. But I cannot help myself! I see things quite differently, one season to the next. So it’s out with a spade, a fork and a pair of wellies. Oh, and a sketch pad too!
Making a map of the garden is something I have always enjoyed doing. It’s a bit like art work! However, just like a sat nav, my paths around the garden don’t always lead to anywhere in particular. But I do try to make the journey interesting by adding plants that make me smile or herbs that, when I brush past them, release a smell that can only be described as delightful!
Today, I looked at the compost bins and decided they ought to be moved to an area of the garden where they can’t be seen. However, when I turned to walk back up the garden path, I saw my kind and unassuming husband watching me. He was smiling and shaking his head so I guess I will have to work harder on that one.
For those of you who would like an update on our home for waifs and strays, here a few. Remember the baby chicks we had? Do you remember also, Lolo who turned up on our doorstep one Christmas morning,We didn't want a dog but could never imagine life without her now. Well, she fostered the orphaned chicks, totally of her own accord! They are fully grown now and chase each other around the garden like excited children. Lolo still keeps a watchful eye over them. And just the other evening a very young duck found its way into our garden. He had bed and breakfast with us, before being re homed in a beautiful garden built especially for ducks with a pond and an island. A very happy ending!
All seems quiet in our log store, where last week there was evidence of a polecat or ferret. I guess it’s moved on for the time being, I sigh with relief! And do you remember Miss Broody Pants? Well she is still sitting on an empty nest, wishing and hoping for more young ones. We keep lifting her off and feeding her, but at the first opportunity, she scurries back.
The frogs and toads are back in the pond and my kind and unassuming husband and I sit in the evening listening to all their chatter. It's incredible! Soon the garden will be a hive of activity.
Our allotment is crying out for us to make a start and the greenhouses need cleaning. So much work but we can't wait for the rain to stop so digging can commence!
So as you can see, life at our home is busy as usual but never too busy that I can't sit by the pond with a cup of sweet tea and just think! Even in the rain!