Behold the gargantuan garlic harvest. These are mostly the Australian variety called "glenlarge" and they are HUGE - all 97 of them. I am especially proud because they are third generation duck herder. I bought the parent bunches from Garlic Farm Sales three seasons ago - always keeping the largest best keeping cloves for planting the next autumn and each year they just get bigger and bigger (and purpler and purpler). Even though they are a hard neck variety they keep very well. If you eat the smallest first, and then all the ones that threaten to sprout first, then you continually improve your stock. love it.
In other news, Mrs Thatcher has had a reprieve - her behaviour has improved considerably when the weather changed. Eric the Bee Yoda and EVERYONE at bee club thinks she should get the CHOP but I must admit I don't feel good about it one little bit. I kinda like having a stoppy queen around - she fits right in with all the other stoppy queens around here. I really don't know what to do.
I know that as a complete newby I lack confidence and experience and only have my gut and my very learned friends to go by - and frankly at the moment they are telling me completely different things.
I played bees yesterday and had a bit of a poke around in her hive. I think that soon there will be some honey to harvest - there are some frames that are almost fully filled and capped. The hive seems VERY FULL OF BEES - most of them gentle but some of the stroppy. Some of them got squished - I am so clumsy and sorry! As I sit here I can smell the sweet lovely aroma of ripening honey wafting in the window. They are HARD at it. They tolerate my stupid clumsiness (mostly). They work ALL NIGHT ventilating the hive.
We also opened up Queen Aprilia's hive - they are going great too.
And I found a new and amazing blog: Top Bar Bees
Most of my bee boxes are kinda quasi topbar frames - with only little starter strips of wax. mostly the bees have been GREAT at drawing out the comb perfectly however sometimes not so much. There is one box that is going to be the biggest mess to harvest. Anyhoo - because the honey and the comb is harvested in these frames - it makes harvesting simpler and much more low tech and cheaper - crush and drain. The Top Bar Bee fellow shows this perfectly.
AND, my neighbour is going to help me make a topbar hive all of my own. (In exchange for honey that is!) So that is VERY exciting.
Anyway - enough about bees.
Bad news, poor Amelia lost her nest of eggs before they hatched. I think while she was off the nest having a break a naughty chook dug up her nest. Poor darling - she has reassembled some sort of nest but most of the eggs got crushed. I will give her another couple of days and then clean the nest out. Sorry EM!!!