Bee organised

It’s New year, around 8 degrees in the garden and some bees are flying. It is always a worry as anything lower than 12 is a bit cold for them so they can stiffen up and not get back home if they fly any distance. Also flying means using energy which means using their food stores – honey and pollen they have saved up to get them through Winter. Have they got enough to get them through until February? We may need to top them up with sugar fondant. We did so in November but need to keep an eye on it. Most of those venturing outside are taking advantage of a milder temperature to just pop out for a ‘cleansing’ flight – to go to the toilet – so as to not mess up the hive. Bees are very clean, tidy and health conscious. Housekeeping and ridding their home of any debris is a priority.

I suppose this goes for us also – when we have an airbnb booking! We now have a very well organised routine cleaning flight around the house. We have learned a few tips after our very first booking was a bit of a nightmare. 

Having finally taken the plunge and put our room availability up on the website at midnight one night two years ago we imagined we would have no bookings for at least a month which would allow us to do some leisurely finishing touches.

Not so. A text alert came through a couple of hours later – at 2am. The message read ‘ Hi, would love to stay ….. for three nights….from tonight. Will be arriving at midday – look forward to meeting you! .’

The Queen bee in our hive would have been proud of the way we worked madly to get the room and house ready for our first guests’ arrival. We tried not to look too exhausted and out of breath as we opened the front door when they arrived.

A huge plus for us and our guests are the surrounding parks. Today I walked through the pleasure gardens and did a circuit of the rose gardens in Roath Park. First stop was to admire the stunning sculptural contorted hazel opposite the conservatory.

In Spring the Bees will gather pollen from the catkins of the corkscrew hazel also officially known as ‘ Harry Lauder’s walking stick’ . Born in Edinburgh in 1870, Sir Harry Lauder was a music hall singer and comedian who performed Scottish themed songs in Scottish traditional costume, with a twisted hazel walking stick! 

(University of Glasgow Library)

Corkscrew Hazel in Winter, Roath Park
Black Walnut in Winter, Roath Pleasure Gardens
The walnut tree is a favourite of Terry Davies’. Bees like it too. You can tell the difference between the common walnut and the black walnut by its’ leaves – the single leaf on the end is usually missing on the end of the black walnut. I found this nut beneath the black walnut tree in Bute park on the Winter tree trail led by Malcolm and Terry in November.

Walnut in shell

 Apparently the nut is very difficult to get out of its’ shell but when you do it can be used as hair dye! – you boil them for 20 minutes or so – but the blackened water will stain everything it touches – it’ll never come out of clothes and will take ages to come off the skin. 

I use walnuts in my energy bites. I have adapted the recipe from Deliciously Ella – 

I doubled it today as wanted to distribute to family – grind 300g worth of nuts (i use walnuts and pecans) and stoned medjool dates and put in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of dessicated coconut, 6 teaspoons of orange juice ( freshly squeezed) 2 teaspoons of chia seeds and 8 tablespoons of cacao powder. Mix it all up.

Then blend the dried mix with 6 tablespoons of coconut oil. I do it bit by bit in a small processor, adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to 4 tablespoons of dried mix and whizzing it up. Transfer it all back into the bowl and roll up approx 100 little balls. Put into the fridge to harden. Either eat straight from the fridge or freeze them and pop in your mouth to melt slowly when you need a chocolatey burst of energy.


Walnuts and pecans
Medjool dates
Cacao powder
Fresh orange juice
Coconut oil
4 tablespoons dried mix whizzed with 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Energy balls