Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Bee Story Continues and The Baby Bulldozer

Men love toys, big ones, small ones just as long as they have wheels and move, slow, fast you name it they love it. This happens to include a baby bullie to move the topsoil and level the garden off before the lawn seed is sown. The builder had done the big moving of tonnes of soil but Dave needed to level off to allow a fine seed to be sown. He did very well, no digging into the soil, no stalling, no wheelies just a nice tidy job. Even used it to pick up and move the $800 worth of bark to cover the front of the property. Yes $800 and sadly it is not quite enough.
We have planted some very tiny akeakes that I have pulled from the side of the verges as I am out walking. They are so tiny that they are not visible, only the stakes mark the spot, but from tiny acorns mighty oaks grow. And they were free.
The next photo only shows one side of the house frontage and three quarters of the bark.
We used the little bullie to move the bark, then I spread, god it challenges unused muscles in the upper arms and surprisingly the thighs. Need to get back on the bike and get fit, walking just doesn't do it.

We did all this saturday morning before the heat set in, it was a very hot morning so we knew it was only going to get hotter. Plus it was the Wairarapa Balloon festival weekend. We had already been down to Henley Lake at 7.30am to see them lift off and do the dash and splash so we had had an early start and decided to make the most of the day.
Later that day I spent some time finishing a block on my patchwork quilt, ready for class Monday, I am behind the other 5 students so feeling guilty.
Saturday late afternoon we fitted Dave's beautifully built bee excluder to get the bees out of my honey. He found the design on the internet and made it for me. A chance to use some of his large collection of electric tools. Old CD's do have an after life.

On our way to the bee club I spotted one of many fruit trees
 laden with fruit on the side of the road. I made Dave stop the car so I could pick a bag full, the crispest fruit and not a bug or blemish on them. You all know how I love to forage.
The flavour of this variety is so clean, I cooked them down for apple pulp for our muesli and they went mushy in minutes yet were so crisp to eat fresh. I plan to return to the site and take one of the many seedlings for my orchard.

Saturday night we went to the Balloon festival night glow. Our first time to a balloon festival and it was wonderful. $5 each or $15 for a family, it was packed with families picnicing and enjoying the musical entertainment until dark and the action started. The balloons were inflated and secured to vehicles then set their burners to go in synchronised fashion to music of many styles. The large yellow balloon photographed at the morning splash and dash is from the US and called Sunny Boy, it is seriously huge.

 Sunday night and Dave getting rapidly unwell from what turned out to be camphylerbacter, we decided to take the honey off the hive. Suited up, smoker lit the newbies got underway. Actually it was so straight forward as the bee excluder worked like a treat. Dave lifted off the honey box, I stuck the mite strips into the lower box and stuck the lid back on. We brushed off the few bees that remained in the honey and straight into the kitchen. I had already set up my bucket with muslin, everything scrupiously sanitised and tools laid out ready to scrape the honey off the frames. It was such a hot day that the honey was very warm and runny and scraping was a breeze. We then hung the bucket with muslin, honey and wax into the wardrobe that houses the hot water cylinder and solar panel system. A very warm cupboard, within 1 and 1/2 hours we had 7 litres of honey dripped through. The colour is golden and I wish this blog had a smell tool, it is the most fragrant aroma coming from that bucket.

I am hoping to read one of the many books I have borrowed from the library on bees and related bee subjects to learn how to turn the large amount of wax into something useful, maybe candles.

I was also hoping to have the honey in jars by Monday night but Dave has got a real nasty bug and all tasks unrelated to looking after him have gone on hold.
And today the kitchen sink has blocked up, called out the plumber at 5.00pm to find out that this new high tech sink has a filter system that does not allow anything other than liquids to be poured down it. Tea leaves do not qualify and pots full of leaf were extracted from the pipes that go back to November. Someone should have told me, or we should have bought a simple old fashioned sink that managed to dispose of everything.

I have been watching River Cottage Road Trip between writing this and he has just made rosehip syrup, on my daily walk down the hill from home there is a lake. On this lake edge there are a number of wild roses with the same hips he used. Yes, I will have to pick a kilo of hips and try his recipe, he said it was like a caribbean cocktail. Might enhance the nightly gin.

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