Saturday, 29 August 2015

New home for the bees and Plum Jam recipe

Hello All
And a big Derbyshire welcome to Debbie on the follower bar and Jane and Sophie on bloglovin
A couple of weeks ago we were planning to move a colony of bees to Hathersage, A village in the Peak District of Derbyshire.  Our plans didn't work out and then I mislaid their number so we aborted the move. Yesterday we finally managed it!
 The colony was for first time beekeepers S. and L, who I am sure will make excellent beekeepers. They live on a farm in the hills with views to die for. Where to site the hive had to be given quite a bit of thought as the farm is quite exposed and is can be effected by strong winds. However they looked pretty snug when we left. I took a couple of pictures of them and their surroundings, but for some reason the pics didn't turn out.
 Before we set off home we had a cup of tea and also tried some soft cheese that they are producing and will be marketing. And very very nice it was too, a bit like a tastier Brie  (we love Brie) They kindly gave us a half round to take home, which we resisted eating as we drove along. As we drove through Crich we popped into "The Loaf" bakery and bought a light rye loaf.
 Back home -out with the butter, a couple of freshly picked tomatoes,  the loaf, the cheese and we ate the lot!! Oh my it was a delicious, simple meal.

 A friend said that she had some plums picked for me. I was a little tied up so my granddaughter fetched them for me .. bags  and bags of yellow plums!!. So far I have stoned and open frozen the perfect ones, bagged a several pounds of smaller, less perfect ones for wine, stewed 4 pounds for a couple of crumbles and made some jam ( the chickens have had the really rubbish ones)

 I used a simple recipe for the jam, which is pretty foolproof. Here it is -
 To each 3 pound of plums add half a pint of water and cook until soft
Add 3 pounds of warmed sugar and cook until setting point reached.

That's it. I always remove the stones and I don't crack these and add them to the jam tied in muslin as it is such a faff and I am unhappy about using plum stones as they can be quite toxic.

   All for now

Friday, 21 August 2015

Saver of Suburbia

Just a quickie
I have been getting  random posts about who knows what.from "Suburbia"
I finally realised that someone has started to use The Saver of Suburbia blog.
 I have unfollowed this and hope that if she ever takes up blogging again we will be able to find her.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Talking of weedkiller

 Gosh It's been a while since I last posted. However people are still commenting on it, which I'm so pleased with.
In the field next to us one of the utility companies has been excavating a problem. This has been going on for some years now. In order to get at the problem they have shifted tons of earth into a huge bund next to our wall. This bund is actually three bunds making a large "C" shaped earthwork. Each year the weeds grow really high here and the butterflies visiting the flowers are lovely. A couple of years ago they sprayed without our knowledge and a large ash and a birch that we are growing at the boundry were damaged (initially we though we had ash dieback) The weeds died back and became quite a fire hazard next to our barn.
Last week David walked into the field to see a guy spraying the bund. He hot foots it over to the bloke and asks him what he is doing. The guy with the sprayer told him that someone from the village has complained about the weeds being unsightly and possibly seeding into their gardens, so they are spraying it with weedkiller. David is incandescent by now.. "What weedkiller?" He asks "Roundup" the guy says proudly. Despite David wanting to throttle the guy (goodness knows it wasn't his fault, he was only following orders) he politely asked him to stop, He informed the guy that it was our land that was next to the weeds and that we had been growing without any chemicals for twenty five years and that there were 14 hives of bees within feet of his spraying. All credit to the guy, he stopped immediately. A couple of days later a digger arrived, removed the top layer of soil alongside the weeds and then another bloke followed on with a strimmer to our wall. MUCH BETTER. !

Interestingly, before we knew that next door was being sprayed, I was hanging the washing out in the garden that houses the hives  and a few bees were "fizzing" around me. We live in harmony with the bees in this garden and this was unusual enough for me to mention it to David. We wonder if the two incidents were connected.
Here is our outside eating area, you can see the bund over the wall.
 Earlier this year I realised that we hadn't made too good a job of digging up all last year's potatoes, when a few leaves appeared . I decided to leave them as we were not going to do much with that garden this year. All I did with them is throw some grass cuttings around them. A couple of days ago I noticed that a couple of those plants were starting to die back so I dug two plants up. The first plant yielded 5.5 kg and the second 3.5kg. What a yield and there is more to come.
Here they are. They are Sarpo Miras and are a blight resistant variety that are superb for jackets and roasties.

Off to Cornwall tomorrow for a spot of sea fishing. as usual the family will move in to oversee the animals and greenhouses.

Thanks for joining in with the discussion about food intolerance.

Thought you might like to see Coda, our granddaughter's dog with a small stick that he has found. He hopes that we will throw it for him!

Back soon

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Food Intolerance

 Hello All                                                                                                                                                     What's going on?
I've written a little on this subject before, but it has impacted our lives again recently.
 I have several friends/ relatives and also follow several bloggers who are suffering with intolerences /allergies, IBS, Coeliac Disease  etc. The numbers of people living with these issues seem to be increasing.
We aren't talking about something exotic, we are talking foods such as milk and wheat. These seem to be the main culprits and these are STAPLES. These are foods that have sustained  mankind for Milllenia. These are foods that are for some the main ingredient of their meals, foods that can be grown locally in some form or another all over the world.
The impact on lives is dramatic, from "I'm feeling a bit bloated and I'm going to look at what I eat to see if something is disagreeing with me" to, within weeks - " I ate something with a milligramm of wheat in it and I've been on the loo all night/ doubled up in cramps/hospitalised" . This is a scary situation!
It seems to be the same with Asthma. We have a sign outside our house saying that we have honey for sale. Over the last year we have sold just about all we have and mostly to people with asthma and/or excema who hope that local pure (i.e. nothing has been done to it) honey will help them. This rarely happened before, people bought our honey just because they liked honey!

So what's to do? I hope that the medical profession is doing more than handing out prescriptions for gluten-free bread, for example. I hope that they (and the farming community) are pressuring for assessments of the make-up of the wheat we grow or the milk we produce.
 The only people responding to what I believe to be a "crisis" are the Supermarkets, who are doing very nicely thank you, with the rows and rows of Free-From foods, some of which wind me up as much as "Diabetic Jam"!
Rant over, but concern still here. What do you think? Do you think the "Government" should be doing more to research the reasons for this situation?

On a lighter note I have been working on the cucumber glut. It's not a vegetable that you can eat with every meal is it?! So this week I have made Cucumber and Tomato Relish and Bread and Butter Pickles.

" Happening upon happiness "(great handle!) was saying how she sometimes has an inferiority complex when seeing how others get on and/or achieve. Just to make her feel better here is one of my cucumber plants!

Back Soon

Friday, 31 July 2015

Poorly laptop

Hello All
I'm sorry that I have not answered your comments. I have only just got my laptop back from laptop hospital. Hopefully all is well now. I have been bereft and really missed you all. I will be on catch-up for several days, reading my favourite blogs and a few new ones on the way. You know how that goes don't you? you visit blog A and see a comment by a follower B and click on their face and suddenly you have been all over the world and several hours have disappeared.

Anyway here I am and I must welcome Janice Foehring on Bloglovin and Lilacgumtree and Matt Jarvis on the Follower bar. Matt is a neighbour of mine, so I bet you will get the the inside story now and then from him!!

  I am in some haste tonight, we have been really busy in the gardens and with the bees, having had two more swarms this week. This is the end of July for heaven's sake! Mind you there is a strong honey flow which does seem a little late. We have been unable to collect the second swarm and it is still high up in a tree. We put out a bait hive to encourage it to house itself, with no luck as they are still stuck up there for the second (cold) night. I'll let you know how they get on.
We have a busy weekend in front of us. Tomorrow we off to the World Hen Racing Championships which are held at the pub where our grandson works. It is also our youngest granddaughter's birthday weekend, so we will be over there for tea. We also have to move some bees to Hathersage were they are to have a new home with some first-time beekeepers.

 Tomorrow morning I have a bucketful of redcurrants to process into wine, a bucketful of honey to  jar for sale and some lumps of wax to melt and pour into ounce bar moulds(?) for an order. I do love this time of year. It is what we work all year for!
 Must go now, my hot milk calls.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Pension Pot.

                                                                                                                                                                      Hello Everyone!
Especially new followers Carol, NannyAnny and Undomestic Diva on the follower bar and jangray, Bronzewing and Rebecca on Blog Lovin. It is really good to see you here.
I recently saw a couple on the TV who are going to use a draw down from their pensions to travel the world. This couple both had pensions and my guess were a professional couple, probably with decent pensions. They appeared to have done their homework and good luck to them, though it is not a move that I would make, nor equity release.
I must admit to being anxious about draw-down. I am concerned that some older people might be taken advantage of. You might think that I am being patronising here and that people know what they are doing. I agree that many do, but my experience as a Social Worker tells me that some older people are vulnerable from fraudsters with "investment" advice or likely to be targeted/befriended by family members and so-called friends and neighbours.
"Bless him, my grandson is having a difficult time. He has finished college and would like a year out before he settles down"
"My granddaughter says that if she had a car she could get a job"
"My son needs a short term loan for a holiday. He works so hard he deserves a break"
"My nephew has been using drugs but says he isn't using them anymore and needs a bond to get himself a flat and make a new start"
Now there is nothing wrong with helping family out. That's what families are for, helping each other, but I have heard these statements and similar so many times when an older person has cashed in an insurance policy or similar. They are so pleased to be able to help their relative out and I suppose if they never see the pay out again (they probably wont) it was money they never had (though have paid into) but draw-down reduces the amount of money they need to live on in the long term and the loss of it will impinge on a person's standard of living.
For those not familiar with Drawdown, put simply, a person can take a percentage of their pension pot as a lump sum. Clearly this will reduce the regular pension payments afterwards.

 A headline in my Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago stated that "People in their 20s have retirement mapped out - but they aren't saving" The article says that twentysomethings expect to retire at 63 on an annual income of £23,000, which many plan to spend travelling the world. They believe that they don't need to start saving until they hit 30 and almost half believe that they can rely on a state pension to give them a decent income.  Just how much of that is likely?!

And am I the only person who doesn't want to travel the world?!

Just watched an article on the news about a young woman who is the first apprentice Bee farmer. She works on her dad's farm and hopes one day to take over the business. Good for her! I was especially pleased to see the old cobbled together hives that are still in service after many years in the elements. It made me feel better about our apiary (after looking at some of the hives of beauty that I see on other blogs)
 We took our first honey harvest this week. Hive No 1 yielded  60lb of honey, which is a good start. We hope to find time remove the supers from Hive No 11 and 4 today.
Having seen the projections for the winter weather as a result of a very active El Nineo (how do you spell it?) I shall be kicking into Prepper mode for the next couple of months, putting stores away....oooh I do love harvest time.
Enough of my ramblings for now.
Hope to be back soon

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Daughter to the rescue wearing her big girl pants!

Hello All
A warm welcome to Jessica Schlenther, Rebecca, Sandy Humphreys, Striving for Simplicity and Clemcat on Bloglovin.
Yesterday I was getting tarted up (  aka shower and wearing non-gardening clothes) to drive to Derby to see my youngest granddaughter's school production of "Grease"
 My youngest daughter had arrived for a spot of lunch with her dad and that  familiar sound and sight in the sky meant... A Swarm!
The swarm quickly settled high into a large damson tree and I'm stood there knowing I can't let our granddaughter down.
"You go mother, I'll help dad" says YD. I quickly collected together all they might need ( I know were everything is) and set off as YD was phoning work to negotiate a longer lunch break!
I texted her just before the performance and she texted back to say that the bees were boxed, the slight hiccup being that David managed to drop a branch full of bees on to her head as she footed the ladder! (apparently she dropped the "F" bomb when this happened)
This swarm was spread over three branches, which David had to cut off and lower ( or drop!) to YD individually. The bees were then shaken into a waiting brood box that David had placed in a hastily cleared site.
 Here is the swarm settled in the tree, as you can see a good large bucket full (the yellow line is one of our washing lines)
And here is a video of them as the third branch has been shaken into the box. Note the frames to the side, these will be placed in the hive with the others once the bees are definitely in there with their queen.

Jobs a good 'un Thanks to YD for the help and the photo and video.
Back soon, lots of things on my mind at the moment.