Thursday, October 29, 2009

Its all about the bees......oh and ducks too.

Queen Atalia

Its hard to get good photos, but if you look closely you can see the newly drawn out comb on these frames. Rather than full sheets of foundation, I give the girls thin little strips of "starter" wax along the tops of the frames, and hope/coax them to build out the whole frame themselves.
This probably definitely impacts on productivity, but I don't care. It means that the comb is all fresh and edible and doesn't contain chemicals or bad things that might be found in commercial wax foundation. And it is so beautiful and white. So far, despite the many warnings I have received, they seem to be building the comb out exactly in line with the frames. Good girls!

I checked them the other day and they were BURSTING at the seams. They had filled a WHOLE BOX of EMPTY FRAMES with comb AND HONEY in just a couple of weeks. Here they are starting to build comb in the roof - until I kicked them out and gave them another box of empty frames to play with.

As for the NEW HIVE - she has been named Queen Aprilia. They are going GOOD. I will try and get some photos of the new girls tomorrow if it isn't cloudy.

And in other news, Amelia and Esmond are in the family way. Amelia has been sitting for almost a week now. Here is her nest. 11 eggs.

And here is Amelia today having a well earned break from sitting and a quick porridge snack.

that is all.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

there's a new Queen in town........

Cool change this afternoon. Rain even. Once it was dark Eric and I popped out to pick up the swarm. They are now safely down at the community garden under my White Nectarine tree.

The whole transporting the box thing went very well. The most obvious indicator of success being the distinct lack of bees escaping into the car while we were driving along.

So what is your name Your Majesty? Who are you? Will we be friends?

Does anyone have any suggestions?

What we know so far:
  • large swarm
  • quiet
  • friendly
  • no stings!
  • tough enough to survive my rather vigorous shaking into the box with no reprisals
that is all.

Swarm Collectors Apprentice

Eric the Bee Guru phoned me last night to see if I would like to come and collect a swarm from a backyard down the road. Well OF COURSE I did.

So, armed with all the gear we went off this morning. The swarm was in a bush about 3 feet off the ground. We put a box under the bush, up on a chair and then I took a deep breath and gave the branch a jolt and they all fell into the box. We put the lid mostly on, and will go back tonight to pick them up when all the scouts have come back.

There would have been photos but I was so excited I forgot the camera. The nice man whose backyard we were removing the bees from had the video camera out, but I felt a bit silly asking for some photos for my blog.

I can't believe how easy that was!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lacuna Sabbath

Early Moorpaark Apricots coming along nicely methinks.

Kiwi Gold seedling - second year in ground - doing very nicely this year. These guys leaf up MUCH ealier than the Haywards. I wonder if this will cause any problems with pollination. Assuming they ever flower of course. And assuming there is a girly one that flowers. Given that we need both a BOY and a GIRL, perhaps Murphy's Law doesnt apply, and we will serrendipitously end up with boys and girls.......Are you a boy or a girl?

The Princess Castle in spring.

Due to popular demand and a requirement to be in Cooma on Friday, the Lacuna Sabbath has been bought forward to Wednesday.


  • Try and make level area for new shed.
  • Prepare holes for pine nut seedlings at community garden
  • Water onions and brassicas at community garden plot
  • Prepare plot for tomato seedlings
  • Have a nanna nap
  • Crochet another outrageous flower for Carolyn's teacosy.
  • Finish weeding front yard
That'l do I reckon.

The Big Fella on redback control in the glass house. Amelia looking in.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

more doing, less chit chat!

one million onion seedlings going great guns. (whatever does that mean?)

Told you I'd be back.

An unexpected gift arrived yesterday from my beautiful friend Pingring. THANKYOU PINGRING! A copy of the book "Animal Vegetable Miracle" which I have already started dipping into. I like the authors writing voice - especially in the narrative sections. Thank you for the gift and thankyou for thinking about me my love.

The other week I was invited to attend a dialogue on food security. I think I was invited because of my work in waste and composting, rather than the fact that we grow lots of our food and buy most of the rest from local folks. It was an interesting day. I have been mulling over the whole thing for a while now. It seems the day was attended by two types of folks - those who are JUST DOING IT - living the change they want to see, growing the services and options and markets and produce and activities that are part of a sustainable, vibrant, healthy future. These were the farmers, the graziers, the gardeners, the businesses using and selling local food. These were the drivers of local food production, nutrient dense food and the ESTABLISHERS of farmers markets. They were also people with their own veggies gardens, no mater how large or small, the lovers of trees, the members of community gardens and the organic growers.

The other half seemed to be folks that just wanted to WHINGE and WHINE and make speeches about the PROBLEMS and what EVERYONE ELSE should be doing. These people blame the big supermarkets, the government, the public, the poor people that make bad food choices - pretty much EVERYBODY except themselves. They were mostly academics (god bless them) and my assessment is that they REALLY need to get out more - perhaps just into their own backyard - with a packet of parsley seeds, or even seedlings.........

I think it would be sad to live in such a problem saturated world. Sad to feel so powerless (and perhaps arrogant and lazy) that problems and solutions are located OUT THERE SOMEWHERE.

But don't worry, I was on my best behaviour - mostly. I resisted asking people directly about their own eating and growing habits or exploring what part they played in either the problem or the solution. I was a little bit thrilled to see that one of my waxing lyrical quotes of the day made it into the draft report.

"Everyone has a tradition not too far beneath the surface linking them with food production. it is simple and easy to encourage people back to those roots. People are yearning for that connection. "

I think this one popped out because the whingers were whinging (or the problem identifiers were identifying that) Australia is made up of convicts and immigrants and therefore, there is no connection with local food production or any food production for that matter. piffle I say. Every country and every culture has a tradition of vibrant, fresh, beautiful healthy food. Even dreary old England. I suspect one doesn't even have to go back much further than their Nanna to find it either.

Anyway. I am determined not to despair about people that happily wait for the GOVERNMENT to fix things. hilarious. I do try to point out that governments are FOLLOWERS not leaders, and we would be very well served to remember that. And that we may perhaps DIE waiting for a public policy SOLUTION to climate change and local food security. Meanwhile, you just gotta get on with it. Why not LIVE as though it was normal to take a certain amount of responsibility for your own food security and fossil fuel addition? The worst that could happen is that you get to enjoy beautiful fresh veggies packed full of flavor, nutrients and antioxidants.

On a happy note, one outcome of the day, that folks agreed that could all commit to was to plant JUST ONE THING. Just one thing. That's how it all starts folks - just one thing.

meanwhile, I'm off the the garden to do some weeding.
rant over.

Proof that even an early spring ONCian garden can be generous cornucopia - spring garden soup of freshly picked leek, parsnip, turnip, beetroot, carrot, broccoli, bay leaves and the last of the stored garlic.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

hello there

That whole linear concept of time thingy - take your eye off it for a second and all of a sudden weeks and weeks have gone by! Lets see..its been quite cold and very windy and a little damp.

Stupid things.... 5 days of continuous yoga and meditation whilst on a retreat (not the stupid bit) First morning home, cleverly tore the tendons that join muscles to my pelvis while guessed it - YOGA!

Tomatos in soil blocks waiting for the Melbourne cup!

Clucky Winky.

Actinidia Arguta "Issai" hardy Kiwi. Tiny flowers. Some fruit this year?

Kangaroo Apple - in flower. Bush food - but tricky to prepare without poisoning one's self.

Brassicas in toilet rolls.

Promise the next will be sooner xxxxx