The Newsletter of the North Devon Branch of the
British Beekeepers Association
HAPPY NEW YEAR Beekeepers
Albert Cannon presents the Honey Show trophies to (left to right) Jack
Mummery, Kay Thomas and Tony Wright
at the 2004 AGM
Association Northern Branch Honey Show
St Johns Garden Centre,
Barnstaple 6th & 7th November 2004
Honey, wax and photography Mr. S.D.Ide
Cookery classes Mrs M. Kelland.
DBKA Northern Branch Trophy KAY THOMAS.
The Yeo Jenn Trophy JACK MUMMERY
The Croyde Cup W.F.VANSTONE
The Hustwayte Plate BERYL SMAILES
The Bernard Pritchard Trophy TONY WRIGHT
The Beryl Trophy KAY THOMAS
The Weaver Trophy KAY THOMAS
The Blue Ribbon TONY WRIGHT
Other winners were Peter Blackerby, Albert Cannon, Alan James, George Lake, Brian
Marchant, Jean Morris, Bernadette Smoczynska, Kevin Stach, Chris Tozer, Chris Utting and
Thanks must go to everyone involved and
WELL DONE to all of the contestants particularly the winners but also to everyone
who took part!! Start planning for next November
Greetings Northern Branch
members. I hope 2005 will be a very happy & prosperous year for you, and for our
association. There is much to look forward to, and with an expanding membership and many
new officers, much we can achieve. It is a hard era for honeybees and their keepers, times
are changing. If ever there was a need for clear thinking, for definition and acceptance
of our responsibilities, its now. I believe the new generation of beekeepers will be
well trained, purposeful, even inspired. Winter is a great time for making your plans for
the coming season, and also for making resolutions.
As we shape the year to come, we must keep
one eye always on the past. We have a great heritage in Northern Branch. Many of our
regular officers will carry on, but a big debt of gratitude is due to the retiring
officers, most of whom have given many years of unstinting service. I am thinking of
Albert Cannon, George Lake, Joy Hamilton, Jack Mummery marvelous people who have
kept us on track & up to date. Now we welcome Patrick Maxwell, Chris Tozer, Kevin
Stach, Judith Westcott, Tony Wright, Marnie Quy and Elizabeth Reynolds. All are gallantly
considering how they can fulfill their new jobs. So hold on tight dear friends, take all
the courses you can, come up with your ideas to our new Northern Lights editor, resolve to
be the best beekeeper possible, and just enjoy one anothers company.
The modest plan for
next year at your North Devon Apiary is simply to make it the best apiary in England. We
have the skills and energy, the talent and the wit. And lots more.
There are four autonomous sections in the
one united apiary two hives for the training of beginners, two hives for testing
and research, eight hives for commercial products such as nuclei and honey, propolis etc
and one hive for the joy of handling bees.
The Apiary regulars are figuring out how
- protect our hives from resistant Varroa and
the coming Small Hive Beetle;
- make our record keeping easy and consistent;
- improve the layout and the beauty of the
- make clear our different roles and
What I enjoy about the Tuesday afternoons
is seeing that we are an organism, not an organization. There is a motley bunch of people
spread across the grounds happily pruning apple trees or fixing gutters, laying hedges,
painting woodwork, entertaining painters with some dubious anecdotes, shredding foliage,
laying out foundations, making tea; no ones giving orders yet everyone is busy.
Thats what I call productiveness. Its special.
Weve had calls for help from un-handy
members. In the New Year Chris and Kevin and Tony will hold a few practical sessions down
at the Apiary showing how to repair hives, build Varroa floors, make up frames etc. This
is not a joke! All three of them together will certainly manage to help you get at least
one nail in straight.
Have a Happy New Year.
|Obituary - Dr
Janet Kear OBE
It is with deep
regret that I report the sad loss of Dr Janet Kear,OBE, who died of a brain tumour at
South Molton hospital on November 24th.
I met her through her husband John Turner
our erstwhile Apiarist and Ken and I were privileged to spend many hours in her company.
She has visited the apiary on our social occasions and talked of her beloved birds to our
If it wasnt for John telling us we
would never have known that she was an Honorary Professor, World Famous for her work with
Geese and Ducks, the author of several books and scientific papers. For thirteen years she
was the Director of Martin Mere Nature reserve in Lancashire, on her retirement she and
John moved to their tiny cottage in Kingsnympton. In the garden is a huge feeding tray
which attracts a myriad of birds and John has filled the surrounding woods with nest boxes
for them. We often heard her talk of the trials of driving to Liverpool where she was a
Trustee of their Museums and of one occasion having to make a decision between a dull
6"- 4"work by Picasso or an inspirational piece by some lesser known artist. She
frequently visited Jersey Zoo where she mentored two PhD students and traveled the world
in her role as Trustee or President of Everything Birdlike.
The official obituaries can tell of her
scientific life, I can only tell of the softly laughing, gentle lady who graced my home,
talked of everyday things, making pastry, cooking pheasants, or whether they should have
70 or 100 guests at their next garden party.
I cannot believe that such a beneficent
life has come to an end. My heart goes out to John in his grief.
- Maurice Dowson
to have to inform the members of the death of Maurice Dowson of Torrington. Maurice has
been a member of Northern Branch for many years and was a very knowledgeable and capable
beekeeper. He worked as a Seasonal Bee Inspector for MAFF. Over the last few years Maurice
kept hives in a bee shed in his garden in the centre of Torrington. It amused him
that the neighbours didnt even know they were there.
Branch Great Logo Competition
has been suggested that Northern Branch should have its own logo, which I think is a
splendid idea. It would help our identity, and it would be useful on many occasions of
communication, e.g. with our proposed website. A logo should be simple and clearly
recognizable, saying what it represents at a single glance. It could also be
witty, artistic or amusing but in monochrome only please! Have a look round at other
logos, design your entry and send it to Marnie Quy (address etc at end of newsletter)
without delay. GO FOR IT!
|Book Review: The
Shamanic Way of the Bee
(Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices
of the Bee Masters)
by Simon Buxton £16.99
We keep our
bees for honey or we keep our bees for the love of bees. Underneath our stated aim is one
that cannot be pinned down for either love or honey. Whether we are able to express it, or
recognise it we have a human longing for union, for oneness, for being in harmony with all
that is. A colony of bees exemplifies that harmony. When we
quietly hold a brood frame in our hands on a balmy summer afternoon, when the sound of
humming rises from a well contented colony, then we sense that harmony, and in the deepest
core of being we rejoice and for a moment we are at one with existence.
Shamanism builds a bridge between this
world and the other hidden universe; between everyday mundane reality and another
underlying truth. The Shamanic Way of the Bee tells the story of Mr Buxtons
visits into other worlds and his training on the Path of Pollen. After months
of working with a Bee Master he is ready for Initiation.
He is seated with the Master and a glass of
mead. The Master takes five bees and stings him in five places on his throat and temples
and his crown. He enters into an alternative reality. He becomes aware of sunlight
streaming through the entrance of the hive. He feels an overwhelming fear. He is an
outsider, an alien in the hive and all the members will, for sure, attack him, sting him
to death and eject his body. As time passes and no one attacks him his fear abates. Later
he feels hungry and takes food from the racks of honey and pollen. He realises that no one
will attack him. He realises he is a drone. He becomes fully at home and integrated in the
hive. His memory of being human fades and fades. A virgin queen emerges from a cell and
now he understands that his work, his exclusive reason for being alive, is to fertilise
this Queen. When she leaves the hive he is with her and in the rising drama of her nuptial
flight he races after her and mates with her. In one final ecstatic moment he fertilises
her and leaves the body of the drone. The author spent three weeks in and out of this
separate reality, living on honey and pollen and water.
Through such an experience and through
other learning devices, the author is gradually introduced to an ancient secret knowledge
that has existed quietly in Britain and the continent over many thousands of years. The
learning is not mental but experiential.
Shamanism is a practical system of both
healing and spiritual development that is here being made public for the first time: - as
is happening presently in many other esoteric traditions.
This book may not be everyones cup of
tea, - for example both experienced beekeepers and those experienced in the esoteric
may find it light on information but for me it was a long awaited and refreshing
drink outside the usual library of beekeepings didactic books.
BALLENTYNE'S is a
delicatessen shop in Butchers Row, Barnstaple which specialises in local produce.
They are looking for a supply of local honey.
are now due!
subscriptions are now due. Please send payment together with a Gift Aid form to Kevin
Stach ASAP. Make sure that you are adequately insured for the total number of hives you
expect to have during the year. If any member is not happy about the accuracy of their
name & address in the DBKA yearbook the corrections should be sent to Mike Canham,
Branch Secretary before the end of January.
By popular request Glyn Davies will be at The Castle Centre, Castle Street on Monday 17th
January 2005 at 7.30 p.m. Glyn is currently the
BBKA President and the DBKA Spray Liaison Officer and will be giving a talk entitled 'A
Beekeeping Revolution'. We hope to hold a draw and welcome any donations of draw
Ho Ho Ho! The annual
game of "Killer Skittles" made for a very enjoyable evening at the Plough
Inn on Thursday 16th December. It was good to see so many friends gathered in the
bar, before we all trouped out, up the stairs at the back, into the alley.
Kay Thomas and Dennis Richards kept the
scores - amongst a certain degree of ribaldry. Tony Wright set 'em up at the other
end, and from start to finish the amazing unpredictable twist and turns of the
results kept us on the edge of our seats. Some made a quick exit, some hung on in there
till almost the end. Skill had something to do with it I suppose, but not a lot.
Dennis won the gentlemen's prize, modesty forbids me to say who won the
ladies' prize, but I did go home with a bottle of wine.
After all that frantic excitement we got
down to the serious eating. Loads of hot and cold food had been laid out, far more
than we could eat, all of it delicious. So congratulations to Carole the cook and to
all who turned up and took part. All good clean fun and nobody got stung.
for January: Which fictional
detective retired to become a beekeeper? Answer next month or if you want to know
before then call or email but youll have to guess first!!
thanks to Joy for all her hard work on the newsletter last year. I am
your new editor but I am a relatively new beekeeper (less than a year) so please feel free
to point out any glaring errors or omissions hopefully there wont be any! And
Im also asking for your help. We have over a hundred members of Northern Branch but
very few contribute to the newsletter. Dont be shy if there is something you
have found interesting, the chances are that the rest of us will as well. Hive
observations, bee book reviews, anything you like. And if you have bee questions or
problems then let me know I wouldnt presume myself but Ill find someone
to give you an answer or we could even have an open debate! Thanks to everyone who
contributed to this months newsletter and to Judith Westcott for the photos of some
of the Honey Show trophy winners at the AGM.
|Edited by Marnie Quy.
All contributions welcome, copy by 19th of month for publication in following