Sunday, November 15, 2009

no vampires here

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!!!


Em said...

Aww poor ducky :( I see a roast chook dinner in someones future :P

And those garlic are very impressive! I really need to start growing my own. I bought some bulbs at coles the other week and didnt realise till I got home that they were grown in china. Blah! Straight in the bin!

When is the best time to plant garlic and onions down here?

WeekendFarmer said...

oh...!! Thats sad. Poor Amelia.

yup..roasted chook with homegrown garlic : )

Jacqui said...

oh :( poor Amelia. They're so dedicated...makes me sad.

Can I just say how impressed I am with your garlic harvest!! I got one plait and it was like I invented them myself!! Will take your advice though and save the biggens for next year and plant more. Your house is DEFINITELY more vampire proof than mine!

Hmm, bees. We have been tempted for some time now so it's good to read this vicariously and see how things are going (hope you don't mind!). I'm all for stoppy queens but does it make the hive a bit unpredictable or volatile? I have no idea, just wondering 'cause I'm a scardy pants.

Just quietly, between you and me, there's folk here talking about roast chicken. Just thought you should know so you can block the girls ears.

Hee hee - verification is me...?! :)

The Duck Herder said...

yes, poor Amelia but WASH YOUR MOUTHS OUT! There will be no roast Anne Claire on the menu any time soon (too stringy i am sure)Em, I think Mr BVVF successfully hatch out some of Amelia and Esmond's eggs a fortnight ago so you may be able to get some from them?

Thanks for the garlic fuzzies lovely Jacqui - I love the glenlarge variety because it is well, LARGE! Check out the garlic farm sales website - who would have thought there were so many varieties.....

And I say GO THE BEES! Its like having a farm in a box. Perhaps find out where the nearest bee club is and start gong - I am sure someone would help you get started and come and help out when ever you needed.....? In the mean time, you may watch my stupid clumsy fumblings with gay abandon ;-)