Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Swaddling bee; baby bee; bee abortion

Until we decided to become bee keepers and invest in a garden beehive, the only contact I had had with bees was purely observation from a distance.

Insects are the most successful of all life forms. Insects of all types, have been on the Earth much longer than most other life forms. They have changed little over the years and they are immeasurably successful because they always place the entire group as a priority over their own life and wellbeing. When living in a group or colony they reside in some type of nest and they have one purpose and that is to breed.

Since having the beehive, I have been privileged to experience the wonderful richness of the life of the honey bee. Many of the things that I have seen in this secret world of bees I have found to be both intoxicating and magical.

During the Autumn, a worker bee (the nurse bees are the younger worker bees that are not let out of the hive – the female bees just after hatching are referred to as the nurse bees) flew just in front of me. She was carrying a package with her front four legs. She gently laid the package down on the path, then proceeded to slowly turn the little bundle left and then right. She did this a few times, then with one of her front legs she softly poked it. She turned it over then back. Eventually she flew away and left the little bundle on the path. Curiously I went over to it and found that it was a swaddling bee – a bee that had been pulled out of the brood chamber – probably it had died in the cell. I picked it up on a sheet of paper so that I wouldn’t damage it and checked it over under a microscope. It appeared to have no wings. I was amazed by the tenderness of the worker bee and the way that she appeared to double-check for signs of life or to see whether a mistake had been made but she had to eventually give in.

Life is both beautiful and cruel.

Swaddling bee

Swaddling bee (the baby bee formed in the brood chamber)

Swaddling bee close-up

Close-up of swaddling bee baby

Swaddling bee - under side

Swaddling bee – under side

Swaddling bee - legs in close-up

Swaddling bee – close-up of leg

Swaddling bee - first picture of swaddling bee

The first picture that I took of a swaddling bee within a couple of minutes from being abandoned

Swaddling bee - head

The head of a swaddling bee

Swaddling bee - close-up of flesh

Close-up of the swaddling bee flesh

Swaddling bee - close-up detail of the skin

Detail of the skin and hair forming on the swaddling bee

Swaddling bee

The swaddling bee – aborted from the brood chamber and carried some distance away by a worker or nurse bee

O’er the hills and far away ….

Tom, he was a piper’s son -
  he used to play when he was young;
the only tune that he could play -
  was “O’er the hills and far away.”      

*O’er the hills and a great way off             (*over)
  the wind shall blow my *top knot off.     (*bonnet)

Tom with his pipe made such a noise -
  that he pleased both the girls and boys.
They all stopped to hear him play -
  “O’er the hills and far away.”

O’er the hills and a great way off
  the wind shall blow my *top knot off.

O’er the hills and o’er the dales,
  through England to the coast of Wales;
We’ll follow the tune as we march today
  o’er the hills and far away.

O’er the hills and a great way off
  the wind shall blow my *top knot off.

Tom the Piper's son

Note: This is an old English nursery rhyme – Author unknown. There are several versions that are all sung to the same tune which originates from the early 1700’s.




The above music sheet and further information is available from Flutetunes.com which offers free flute sheet music.

My father taught himself to play the penny whistle when he was a young boy. As he grew older he also learnt how to play the mouth organ, concertina and piano. He was self taught and could play by ear which was a very magical experience for me.

This particular rhyme was one that I learnt to recite and also sing when I was very young. When I was eventually taught to read, I remember being very surprised and quite saddened that the rhyme didn’t, in fact, begin with: “Tommy was a piper’s son.” Perhaps Tommy had decided to leave and go ‘Over the hills and far away!’

Christmas animated gifs

Happy Christmas Everyone may the joy of the season bring health, happiness, joy, pleasure, understanding, tolerance and love to us all.

Here are some Christmas animated gifs to brighten up your days and nights ..

Christmas Tree Animated Gif photo ChristmasTreeAnimatedGif.gif
Christmas Tree Twinkle Animated Gif photo ChristmasTreeTwinkleAnimatedGif.gif
Christmas Evening Tree Twinkle Animated Gif photo ChristmasTreeEveningTwinkleAnimatedGif.gif
Christmas Ball Animated Gif photo ChristmasBallAnimatedGif.gif
Christmas Ball Twinkle Animated Gif photo ChristmasBallTwinkleAnimatedGif.gif
Christmas 'Happy' Ball Animated Gif photo HappyChristmasBallAnimatedGif.gif

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

May peace and contentment fill your heart and love be the food of your soul


Citric scald syndrome

Over the last few years we have been advised that there is nothing more essential to our health than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Fruit and vegetable consumption has increased because of this statement and yet in many instances good health has started to crumble. The problem may well be simple. We are all individual with different needs. Some people adapt well to consuming raw fruit and vegetables whilst others stutter and somehow always feel below par.

I have always struggled with salads and so simply stopped eating them. After all, I ate cooked vegetables and raw fruits so that was surely all right.

Fruit is a peculiar food item. It requires separate enzymes to digest it. The body often has difficulties making a good job of this process and the result is a mixture (depending on the fruit) of indigestion, bloating, wind, burping, acid reflux or other uncomfortable reactions that occur usually an hour-and-a-half or more after consumption.

Oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes or variations of citric fruits cause a separate issue. After consumption of foods containing citric acid some people experience a scalding or burning sensation of the soft tissues. This may be in the tissues of the nose lining, the throat, oesophagus, stomach, intestines, bladder, urethra and anus. It is more common when people have ingested a citrus fruit or drink over a period of two or more days. This is citric scald syndrome, it appears to be harmless but extremely uncomfortable to the person experiencing it. It heals when citrus fruit has been excluded from the diet for a few days. It does however return when these delicious fruits are resumed in the daily diet requiring a person to eat these particular fruits with caution.


Citric scald syndrome

Citric fruits causing Citric Scald Syndrome

Pet garden statue

Years ago the only statues available for the average family garden were gnomes. The name given to the little pixies that are said to protect the area of land where you plant and toil with love and joy, your garden, is gnome. GNOME means ‘guarding naturally over Mother Earth.’ Although no garden is really safe without their own special gnome it is also nice to have a few other garden statues to add your own special character to the little plot of soil where you spend so much time making it look so beautiful.

I have a couple of gnomes – nothing special but they watch over my work. Suddenly I felt it would be lovely to introduce a new statue. As yet that very special statue has not been found but whilst I’ve been looking I found what is often called a garden pet statue and I thought it looked so realistic that it would be a lovely small addition to the flower border. So here is a picture of it the ‘pet garden tortoise statue.’

Pet tortoise garden statue Pet statue tortoise

Tortoise statue  Tortoise and bees

Garden statue of a tortoise

Why we should all have a statue of a garden gnome – because of its wonderful meaning: it is a guardian of the garden as the word GNOME means ‘guarding naturally over Mother Earth.’