Tuesday 11 October 2016

Bees and Books

It has been a strange bee season. Wet weather in June and July kept the bees from foraging. In our area the farmers now sow oilseed rape early in September, so that it flowers in April or early May, which means that the bee colonies have not built up enough strength to take advantage of it. Consequence, low yield.
I used MAQS against varroa early in the season and it worked well on a strong hive. But a weaker hive, later in the season, alarmed me because the queen stopped laying and I thought maybe she had not survived. It was too late to requeen, so I resigned myself to losing the colony. But last weekend I checked and there was lovely newly capped brood - a big regular slab of it. Much relief. I wonder if anyone else has found MAQS having this effect. I have misgivings about using it again.

On the book front - I've thought for a while that it's a pity no one reads Milton's Paradise Lost nowadays - no one, that is, except academics. So I had the idea of shortening it - keeping just the very best and most powerful bits, and joining them up with a commentary explaining what happens in the omitted sections. It will be called The Essential Paradise Lost and Faber and Faber will publish it in the spring - March, I think. My shortened version is novella length - a bit shorter, on word count, than Orwell's Animal Farm. I'm hoping it will be good enough to lure readers back to the complete poem.


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