Saturday, 17 March 2012

Sunsets and Busy Bees

It's been incredibly dry here in Central Portugal- we haven't had any 'proper' rain here for months. We have had some amazing skies however- and despite the lack of rain, all the fruit trees are blossoming and the spring narcissus are flowering- so it's a really beautiful time of year here. The birds are busy and we often sit and listen to the blackbirds in the evenings. I even saw a song thrush here recently- which is quite a rare site as, unfortunately, they are legally hunted from November to February.

The other thing that has caught my eye recently is alot of activity around the beehives. I thought I'd go and have a chat to one of the beekeepers who have hives on the edge of our land, and who's beeswax we have rendered down to use in our natural soaps.
The beekeeper I spoke to told me it's a very busy time for them at the moment- the bees and the beekeepers, that is! He told me that he, and his fellow beekeepers, are taking it in shifts currently to go round and check each others hives, to give the bees pure water and to watch out for any bees swarming. I didn't understand everything totally, but he did tell me that the adult bees bring the young ones out now to show them how to dance! Sure I didn't get that bit quite right but it did sound very sweet!

He also told me they too are worried about the sicknesses that bees are suffering from currently and to make sure that they are well looked after.  I told him I always try to consider the bees when I'm planting new areas of the garden- and proudly told him about my lavender hedge which they seem to love. He nodded and smiled and told me that Rosemary is much better!
Talking of things the bees seem to like, the Mimosa is in full bloom, and fills the valley with its scent. I've noticed the bees seem to love not only the fragrant apricot blossom, but also the plain old pussy willow which is growing like a weed up in the woods.
Anyway- I'm certainly no expert- but I just always try to find out a little bit more about the ingredients that we use in our soap- and the chat with one of our local beekeepers was really interesting.       
If you'd like some more accurate information on beekeeping- these sites are really informative and helpful:

(P.S!! talking of honey- check out the special on this lovely honey and oatmeal soap


  1. we have bees and I make soap with the honey but THOSE hives are much prettier than ours. you've given me some great ideas.

  2. thanks Donna! they are sweet aren't they in all the mixed pastel colours! Shelley PuroSoaps

  3. That first photo is beautiful.


  4. Those hives look like deluxe hotels for bees! We have a rosemary hedge in our garden in San Diego an it's always full of very happy bees.

    I'll never forget being in Portugal for Easter a few years ago - it was incredibly beautiful (and we had soooooo much fun)!