Long hive update; not forgetting food

It has been a while since I last posted. The garden is in full swing and harvesting the soft fruit (blackberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries) has been my priority. it has truly been a bounty this year ad we haven’t even started on the apples and plums.

Squashes and courgettes are also getting underway and the garlic needs digging up, so you get my point, food comes first.

Having said that, the bees have also been busy. We have completed the first extraction of the year and the bees in the long hive are doing well.

Here is one of the long hive frames, as seen during a recent beekeeping experience day. They are pulling out the comb to fit the V shaped hive and have built up 6 frames already. I’ll try to post some more detailed pictures soon, but that’s it for now.


Blacksmith experience day

I recently held a blacksmith experience day for my youngest ever pupil.

It was a part of his school work experience programme.

He made a sculpture incorporating a number of core blacksmithing techniques, and a special addition of his own, a worm.

It was a first for me, a forged worm. I think we were both pleased with how it all came out.

His Design Technology teacher was reportedly also impressed with his work for the day.

Alongside the forge work, he also took the opportunity to ask lots of questions about becoming a blacksmith and took away lots of information about courses and qualifications.

He was a pleasure to teach.








Long Hive swarm collection

Following on from my earlier post about the making of our long hive, it now has inhabitants. 

I collected a swarm the other day. It was a fairly simple collection, hanging at head height in a tree. I knocked them into my skep and then waited whilst the stragglers and scout bees made their way back to the colony.


There will always be a few left behind, but, providing you are prepared to be patient and you have the queen in the skep, the others will follow.


Here you can see them  in the skep and then after being knocked into the hive.


They quickly took to their new home and within a few hours had begun to draw out the small bits of wax foundation into comb.



With any luck they will have time this year to pull the comb out sufficiently to give them space to put honey for their winter store. This will set them up for a strong 2018, when we might get some cut comb honey from them.

Blacksmithing project: compost bag holder

I was recently asked to help a friend out with a frame to both hold a compost bag and to give a frame to lean on whilst digging into the bag.

The result is here.

Nothing too complicated, a large diameter ring for the base, 3 vertical rods and a smaller diameter ring at the top. This gives it extra stability.

It’s the second one I have made, this one from 12mm steel to give it extra strength when leant on.

Nunti Bo


Further to the Nunti I made, I was also asked to make another Nunti Bo, this time for Juan in Spain.

I made one a few months ago for Garry.

It is made from a Japanese Redwood Bo (shaft) with a forged steel end, finished simply with beeswax polish from our own bees.

This is apparently based on a fisherman’s spear and now used in Okinawan martial arts.

I am no martial arts expert, but I understand that it is composed of a Bo (the wooden shaft) with a Manji Sai mounted on one end.