Monday, 22 February 2010


I started looking into making a skep for myself in order to collect bee swarms. That led me into various basket making sites using straw as the 'fabric' for the basket. One of those sites mentioned that a reasonable basket could be made from coils of almost anything - like rope for instance.

I have some short lengths of rope or, more precisely, sash cording left over from when I repaired some sash windows so I thought - why not give it a try. So I did and the results were pretty good - there's room for improvement but it's not too bad for a first attempt. (By the way the ball is a shiny dirt ball that I made during last summer and is about the size of a cricket ball).

All I need now is some rope. Why is it so difficult to get hold of something as simple as rope and not have to part with substantial wads of cash? That got me wondering if I could actually make the rope, I had read about rope making some time ago. Again a quick trawl through the web and a host of sites about rope making surface with explanations of what is needed and how to do it. I built the two components required to make rope from some wood lying about in my shed (actually it's a garage kept surprisingly tidy - no room for a car but essentially very tidy - just don't listen to anything that my wife may say about that). The bit that twists the cording was the most complicated to fabricate; but even that was very simple. The bit that is used to control the actual making of the rope was a tad light for the task and had a tendancy to spin when the individual cords had been wound up as specified in the notes that I had found, this explains, at least partially, why the commercial versions were cast iron.

I made up two lengths of about 11 metres each - one with just 3 cords and the other with three sets of 4 cords. Neither took very long to make (about half an hour) and the results were fairly respectable looking rope. Next thing to do is try and make a skep from them ... I'll be back...

Monday, 4 January 2010


It's cold (minus 4) ... and I am worried about my bees. Will they survive?

I've only been keeping bees for two years - never thought that I wouid be concerned about insects - but there you go.

Last year I lagged the hive - but that resulted in it staying damp - so this year I have build a roof that keeps the rain off - but doesn't provide any protection from the cold...