Saturday and the farmer decides it is time to start clearing up the hedgerows for Winter. The blackberrry briars reach right out into the fields at this time of the year - and the sheep, already wearing their Winter coats, easily get hooked up in them. As it is time for Tess and me to walk round the fields anyway, we decide to go with the farmer after lunch.
Walking down the pasture he informs me that he thinks the bees' nest is empty. In Cow House field hedge-bottom there has been a nest of wild bees all Summer. The nest is a thing of beauty and I would dearly like to bring it back home to have a close look at it. And the farmer happens to have his favourite cutting tool with him anyway - so off we go to have a closer look.
Several very dozy wild bees are crawling around on the outside of the nest. The cold has obviously got to them, but where there are two or three there might just possibly be two or three hundred in the warmer inside of the nest, so we decide to have a good look at it but not interfere.
You can see the photographs above - the nest is built in what must have been a hole - maybe even a rabbit hole - in the hedge bottom. The farmer breaks a bit of the nest off and holds it in his hand for me to photograph. Each layer is paper thin. We leave it behind for another day.
Tess is not even mildly interested in the nest but goodness me, she is very aggressive towards a plastic bag in a heap of dead grass, which the farmer has raked out of the hedge bottom. Her hackles rise, she growls, she barks and will not go anywhere near it.
But, of course, as usual for the rest of the walk she has only one thing on her mind - rabbits!
Amazing bees nest pix! We had a huge hornets nest attached to the eaves of our house. We had it fumigated as the hornets were getting too vigorous and angry. But I wish I had taken a picture of it. It looked like a huge hand thrown beige clay pot. I have enjoyed your recent posts of drives through your neck of the woods. Makes me quite homesick for the English countryside.
We once had a similar marvellous construction in our roof space, but I wasn't sure whether it was wasps or bees that made it. I remember it eventually made it's way onto a junior school's nature table, once it was deserted...
hello weaver - bees nests are incredible works of art aren't they?! i remember bringing a small one in the house a few years back only to discover that in my excitement i hadn't checked to see if the occupants were alright with the move. it was quickly returned to nature. have a lovely day in the dale. steven
Bees' and wasps' nests are fascinating aren't they? There was an enormous and inhabited wasps' nest hanging from a tree in the garden of our holiday cottage one year - we gave it a wide berth but enjoyed looking at it from a safe distance. I'm amazed by the speed in which brambles can establish themselves. Their roots are almost impossible to get rid of unless you pull them out while the plant is young. We get free gifts of them from the birds and, like the ash and field maple saplings, they grow away nicely hidden among other shrubs before we have noticed them.
We occasionally see rabbits on our walks, and Edward simply cannot believe it. It's quite a feat holding on to his lead. But, much like Tess and her plastic bag, he once went nuts over a bronze bust we have by the fireplace. Mind you, it has been here longer than he has, but apparently he had never noticed it before. I had to pick it up before he was convinced it wasn't a devilish intruder. So much fun, dogs.
Thanks for sharing the views from your walk. It is amazing how some insects and animals can make such clever nests without tools or hands.
Aloha, Country Mouse
I enjoy so much getting out and about with you and your lovely little dog -- who was very right to be upset at the plastic bag -- and your wonderful man. Various wasps and bees here make intricate and lovely nests of "paper", but I've not seen anything quite like yours. Best to wait until a very hard frost to collect the nest. We made the mistake once of collecting a hornet nest a bit too early!
Good move not bringing that bees' nest back into the warm house. You could have had an unexpectedly lively and interesting (possibly painful) adventure. Some things are best viewed in situ!
Aren't dogs great? You never know what quirks they'll exhibit, but I suspect you're going to have to show Tess a few more plastic bags.
Wonderful shots of the bee's nest!
And ah. Border Terriers and rabbits. Tell me about it ....
What a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I think it's a good thing you left that nest where it was - or we might be reading a post of a very different tone!
I had not realized that hedgerows need so much attention even when briars do not have a world conquering tendency as they do here, where, like Napoleon's squadrons, they blithely march across hill and dale regardless of obstacles.
I love the intricate construction of the wild bee's nest, what a treasure!
What a fascinating find, but perhaps best to leave it in situ until the depths of winter when it will likely be properly "empty"! How refreshing to see your husband leaving tidying the hedges until the right time of year. One of our neighbours did his first "tidy" at the end of June . . . Words fail me - our hedges might be untidy but they do have - live - birds in . . .
What a wonderful bees' nest, the textures and colour shadings are fascinating. We have a colony of wild bees in one of the brick gateposts on our front fence. These don't sting, but we can't get to the honey without destroying the post!! I have just read your previous post and would like to add an extra plea - if any of your readers has a friend dying, please do go to visit them. When my father was dying of cancer he was very lonely because so many of his friends did not want to see him in his emaciated state, but wanted "to remember him as he was" To me true friendship means visiting till the end, or when the patient no longer wants to see anyone. Cheers, Robin
Thanks for the comments Jane.
Jinksy - yes - the school nature table is a good repository for all things found in a natural habitat. I hear they are coming back into fashion (like all things educational - what goes around, comes around).
Steven - once I saw one or two dozy bees around I felt it was best to leave well alone.
Yes I agree Heather - those brambles sneak into the flower garden, rooting at the back of the bed, between impenetrable leaves etc. and you don't see them until they are well established or you scratch your hand on one when weeding.
Pamela - I laughed at Edward's barking at the bronze bust. We find that Tess even barks if David leaves the tractor in the yard in a slightly different place.
Thanks for the comments Leenie and Cloudia.
L L and Scribe - timely advice from you both thank-you. I don't want larva hatching into bees in the warmth of the house - so perhaps it is best to leave it in situ - if we get a hoar frost (I hope) then who knows what beauty Jack Frost will wreak on the nest.
Titus - Border terriers and rabbits go together like peaches and cream.
Pondside - thank you for the comment.
Arija and Bovey Belle - yes you are quite right about the energy of briars.
We only cut and trim our hedgerows between October and March because in the summer we have a huge variety of birds nesting in both the hedges and the hedge bottoms - also curlew and lapwing out in the field.
Yes - Robin Mac - I do so agree with you. Some people cannot face looking at illness - they consider themselves rather than the person dying. I have had that experience too, where someone said they would not come and see my late husband as it would just remind them of their father dying.
Thank you for your kind comments on my blog when I was ill...very much appreciated!
A lovely post. Makes one long for the rural scene.
I had to laugh at Tess and the plastic bag - she was probably protecting you!
Good thing the bees were lazy. Most interesting.
That bees' nest has got me thinking.... How can I translate that into fabric and texture.... Something to ponder a bit more I think. But then your posts always set me to pondering!
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