Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hello, spring is definitely here and this dwarf eucalyptus tree on the boundary of our neighbour's property is flowering beautifully.  The bees love it.

More work has been done on the canopy for the studio.  A little more to do and then it will be finished.  A balustrade is being built too.

And just because I've been thinking about our Europe holiday from 2012 a lot recently, here are two photos taken in Provence.  Such wonderful memories.

We've enjoyed a wonderful day of sunshine and warmth today.  I hope the weather is treating you well wherever you are.

Anne xx

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Home grown beetroot

Beautiful home grown beetroot picked and washed.

Baked in the oven after being tossed in olive oil, seasoned with salt and flavoured with home grown thyme.

Ready to eat after removing the skins.  Served with cauliflower au gratin, home grown carrots, potato wedges and green beans.

Deliciously sweet.

Anne xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Another project

So hubby is hard at work on another project, this time a small but complex (in my opinion), addition to the studio.  He is making an awning to go over the doorway to stop rain coming in under the door.  He made the curved pieces of the awning himself which I think is very clever.  What this man of mine can turn his hand to is remarkable.  The awning is still being built and timber yet to be painted but the photos below will give you an idea of what it will look like.  The roof section will be covered with Laserlite, a polycarbonate clear roofing sheet so as not to impede the light coming in through the glass door.

Sunday saw me having another good clean up in the garden, snipping, pruning and weeding.  It was the perfect opportunity to divide up a few potted plants that had got rather big.  One was this little cacti which I divided and re-potted into this little ceramic pot that use to be my Grandma's.  I put some new wire on it so it could be hung in the garden room.  I think it's rather cute and I know my Grandma would be pleased her little pot is being used again.  Grandma was a wonderful gardener, she would have had one of the best gardens in the little town where she lived after my Papa passed away.

This photo was taken out at my Papa and Grandma's little farm.  Papa and Grandma with my siblings.  I'm the baby, perhaps the red hair gives it away. 

In our neighbour's garden and hanging over our fence just a little is this magnificent magnolia tree which has delighted us this year with many beautiful blooms.

Aren't the blooms amazing?!  
Bee update.  We have been advised by the bee supplier to continue feeding our bees sugar syrup for a little bit longer.  The sugar syrup is made up of two parts sugar to one part water and heated until the sugar is dissolved.  Easy.  I made up a batch this afternoon and hubby put it up at the hive this evening.  I'm sure they will be pleased to see breakfast tomorrow morning.  
Anne  xx

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Opening the bee hive

Today hubby and I opened our new bee hive for the first time to check the health of the hive and the amount of space for the hive to grow.  The weather was perfect, warm and still.  After suiting up we used the smoker to calm the bees and then the lid was lifted.

The bee keeper.

It was an amazing sight and I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to see these amazing creatures at work.

Plenty of room for growth.


The nursery.  You can see the larvae in the cells in these two photos.  Isn't it amazing?!

I was so happy with how this photo turned out.  The detail is so good.

So after having a good look at the hive, seeing that all was well, noting where the honey was and that for the moment there is room for growth, we put the lid back on.  We probably took a little longer than we should have due to our inexperience as we noted some of the bees were getting a little upset.  A little more smoke was required and they quietened again.  All during the time we were working with the hive, the bees were very happy and didn't bother us at all.  There was no sign of aggression and they were happily going about there business which made it much easier for me to take these photos.  

I hope you've enjoyed seeing our bees up close and personal as much as we did.

Anne  xx

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Lessons not learned yet

This past week I've been struggling to get over a lurgy that hubby unfortunately passed onto me.  I can't complain as I haven't been sick since we were in Europe over two years ago, the odd day feeling a bit off but nothing to leave me lying around feeling sorry for myself.  So last Saturday I was feeling pretty rubbish and thought if I got out into the garden to prune and tidy up, it would take my mind of my woes.  I got quite a bit accomplished but paid for it on Sunday which wasn't a particularly good day.

Super excited to see this rock rose in flower as bees are attracted to the nectar.

  Monday and Tuesday were written off with me just doing the basics and of course going to pick up the bees, I mean how hard is it to sit in a car!  There was a slight improvement on how I was feeling  Wednesday and Thursday I thought I was right to go.  I worked about four hours solid in the garden weeding, composting, planting vegetable seeds and some flowers seedlings.  So how did I feel Friday, rubbish again.  You would think I'd learn not to over do it but no, I've not learned that lesson yet.  On a positive note, I've now got dwarf beans, climbing beans and zucchini seeds planted direct into the garden bed.  I was pleased to discover the beetroot seeds I planted a week ago direct into a garden bed have germinated as have some lettuce and broccoli seeds planted into punnets.

Using a fish tank no longer in use as a glass house for germinating the lettuce and broccoli seeds.  Also house capsicum and chilli seedlings until it warms up a little.

Lettuce seeds in the front, broccoli third punnet up.  It's the first time I've grown seeds so am very excited that these have germinated.
My experiment in vegetable growing so far has been a bit of a mixed bag with the carrots growing in funny shapes (not enough thinning out), broccoli that mostly got eaten by slugs, covered in some kind of mold and also eaten we think by possums.  The cauliflowers grew heads only to about the size of a 50 cent coin, cabbages didn't form hearts and are now going to seed, (two varieties sugar loaf and savoy) and parsnip with odd shapes.  Two punnets of snow peas were planted in close succession as something ate the first punnet.  Two plants remain and the few very small pods that have developed have now got holes in them.  The leeks are still growing, the spring onions are just about ready to pick although there aren't too many, the red onions are struggling, there is beetroot that is ready to be picked but I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  I thought I might roast some or grate raw for a salad.  If I'm really lucky I might have enough to make a relish.

Carrots trying to grow.

Beetroot also trying to grow in the foreground.  I like putting some of the veges amongst the flowers and you can see a foxglove, forget-me-not and perlargonium.
Beetroot ready to harvest.

Savoy cabbage trying to heart.  I think the main reason they have struggled is due to limited sun.  What can you do when you live with lots of shade, not much.
 So yet to go into the garden is corn, pumpkin (don't know how I'll find the room for them) more lettuce, snow peas (from seed this time), more carrots, the purple variety.  I figure if I keep trying, something is bound to work.  I have planted some tomatoes already, a grosse lisse and some bush tomato varieties.  Marigolds have been planted amongst them in an effort to ward off the bugs.

The beetroot seeds I sowed just over a week ago have started to germinate in the garden bed, another first.

Now for some non vegetable gardening photos.  The garden in spring is a delight with bluebells (a favourite with the bees), forget-me-not, azaleas and ajuga.

I potted up some petunias and lobelia for colour on the back deck which is sitting pretty beside lavender already flowering in another pot.

More plants for the garden, many which were bought specifically with bees in mind.

Speaking of bees, we are very happy to see that they are coming back to the hive mostly laden with pollen so the scouts have done their work and let workers know where the food is.  You can see the pollen on the legs of some of the bees, the yellow globs.

We should be able to take away the sugar syrup which has been feeding them until such time as they were able to find their food sources.  Tomorrow all being well, hubby will be lifting the lid to see what state the hive is in, how much food they have and how big the colony is.  So we will be kitted up with the smoker out.  Should be fun and hopefully I can get some photos to share.

Anne xx