Monday, 19 June 2017

Of bees

Hiya!
Anyone else with bees looking out the window wondering if they will swarm?! The bees have all made it through a mild winter and the colonies are strong. Because of the heat most hives have lots of bees "bearding" to the out side of the hive to keep themselves and the hive cool. On first sight it is difficult to assess if they are about to swarm, so I keep looking to see what they will do next. We had one swarm last week and it was a whopper! It settled low in a pyracanth so was easy to collect though the nasty thorns kept catching at my veil. When boxed it almost filled all the frames, so it is more than possible that we will get honey from it later in the year.

Our godson who also keeps bees has had several swarms from the hives in his and his parent's gardens (they live next door to each other) Unfortunately, his father was stung last week and had a serious reaction that the doctor says will only get worse with any further stings! So Gds has to look to rehome his bees. he will have to sell some bees and just keep half a dozen hives in whatever plot he finds to house them. So if anyone in Notts/Derbys is looking to buy some bees let me know and I will see that you are contacted.
Looking out of the window I do believe I see bees pouring out of hive No 5.. must go!
Gillx
Yup. sat at the door for 10 mins to see them landing in one of the damsons. They have settled on several branches at the mo, so will look again in a few minutes to see if they have amalgamated into one lump and where in the tree that might be. I hope it is the lower branch!
Gx

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Some Derbyshire cheese

Hallo!
I'm feeling a little more positive about the veggie gardens this week. While there are still some heroic weeds out there I have begun to tame them and am planting with a vengeance! I'm having a go at sweet potatoes this year. The youngsters like them, though I'm not too keen really. They are okay in a chilli and curry but that's about all. Anybody else growing or have grown sweet potatoes? Were they worth the effort and cost (£2 a plant)?
I was in the garden showing GF round, (earlier he had been looking at my latest glass purchases - I told you it was a weakness!) and a fellow beekeeper called in to bring us a sample of her latest cheeses. Oh MY! are they good! She doesn't sell them until she has matured them a little. I do like a nice Brie and these are as close as you can get to a Brie. I love the hole in the middle, she lives on Stanage Edge up in wildest Derbyshire Peak District - hence Stanage Millstone. You can visit her site at www.cowclose.farm
In (a poor) swap I gave her a teasle plant and a syrup feeder for her bees.
We were fishing in Cornwall again last weekend, David brought home a goodly catch of Pollack and Ling and I found a cute stall in the Tavistock Pannier market where I bought 2 cut glass whisky glasses and four small liqueur-type glasses of different styles for my collection. GF tells me that one is Bohemian, one from the mid Victorian era and one from around 1820, he isn't sure about the other. Each glass cost me £1 and I am very pleased with them.
The bees still haven't swarmed, or if they have I have missed them going. We are hoping for a good honey year. Other beekeepers we know feel the same. I do hope my bloggy beekeeper friends are doing well too.
This year's broodies only seem to be able to hatch the odd egg before leaving all the others behind to go cold and expire. We have four hens with eight chicks between them so far - rubbish! Three others are sitting, let's see how well they do!
We are now on countdown to our annual Bash. It is in four weeks and we have another weekend in Cornwall planned before then. No pressure there then. As usual we will have over 20 tents, with approx 150 guests all told (not everyone camps) There will be races, 50 a side rounders, country dancing and a group at night for a boogie. Most of this is no effort as we have all we need in equipment and most people bring a plate of food. David has organised some barrels of local ale and cider and it remains to make the place safe and set up the recycling area.
 Enough of my ramblings.
back soon
Gillx


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Back to the blog post election

Hello All
Just a very quick post to say I am still here and battling on, sorry I have been so tardy posting, but I'm now "Back to the Blog"
The election has been interesting hasn't it?!!
Reading people's  blogs over the last few days (rather than keeping this one up to date!) I am struck by how SURE many people are that they are right and anyone who disagrees is a fool/ misguided etc. I wish I could be so sure that I was Right in my views. There are so many variables to each argument and so many views/ experiences to consider. I am a life-long Socialist (no shit Sherlock!) but do not consider that it is the only party that understands what a country or its people needs. I consider it has many flaws and am often upset  by some of its' policies and pissed off with some of the pretty uninspiring candidates ( I believe Diane Abbot is to leave her shadow cabinet post... thank goodness for that!) Whatever happened to the good old Statesmen of both parties? I have just read that Mrs May may be considering aligning herself with the DUP. marvellous!! anti abortion, anti gay etc. They could  also consider whether women should continue to have the vote while we are at it!
SO enough of that (for now) I'm off to brave the showers and plant up some more veg plants that are bursting out of their pots, prick out the tomatoes, pick gossegogs and string up the hops! All these things are achievable and good for the soul.
Back soon  - honest!
Gillx

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Appeal - Please Drink more Prosecco

Hello from sunny Derbyshire.
This is a drink related post.
I have asked my facebook friends to drink more Prosecco, Cava or Champagne. Strangely, my appeal has been well received and donations are rising steadily.
Here is the reason why -


 How good are those for protecting eyes while gardening?
The canes are from a gardening job that H. undertook some months ago. There was a HUGE quantity of bamboo to be cut down. He bought it here and it has been drying in the barn since then. We have started to trim it to make garden canes and supports. The canes and leaves were at least 10 feet tall, some taller and there is five times more than you see to be trimmed yet. I looked up how to prepare and preserve bamboo and it looked a little complicated, with salt baths etc, so I have just dried and trimmed it. Regarding the corks, wine corks are okay, but  the sparkling wine corks are so much better for fixing and for protective qualities, hence the appeal for more. I use a lot of canes as I grow spray chrysanths , gladioli and such like for cutting as well as vegetables that need support.
   Still drink related,
 I collect old liqueur glasses ( it's a weakness I know - more clutter!). Below are a couple of examples. The one on the right is Victorian and very fine glass. The one on the left is one of my "everyday" glasses, which we use for tasting homemade damson gin, cassis etc. They are tiny but robust and probably not old, but I do love them.
 Now look at these beauties. My friend found these in a charity shop and paid very little for them. He informs me that they are Georgian. They are lovely to hold and my new favourites.
 Not in any way drink related, unless I make a tenuous link to how many bottle they are still drinking each day (3) Here are the lambs. Dumble, Duchess, Daphne, Dora, Delilah and Denzle. Little Duchess, who is sitting down in the grass, has joint ill and is currently on antibiotics. She had a nasty abscess on one foot, which has been lanced and I am currently washing out the wound with salt water twice a day. Her elbow on her other back leg is also affected so she really is in a poor way, but we are giving her the best care we can.

Lovely weather again today, but a little hot to work in the gardens.
I will be amazed if we don't get a swarm!
Keep cool.
Love Gillx

Monday, 22 May 2017

Deep beds or no?

Hello All
Welcome to Charlotte and Yours Frugally on Bloglovin and Tom on the sidebar
I notice that many people use the "deep bed" way to grow their veg.
The principle behind deep beds is that the soil is deep and humous-full and that the beds are just wide enough to allow you to tend to the plants while not standing on the soil, as compressing the soil damages the it' friability and drainage. This method means that a higher density of plants can be grown in a given area.
To set the ground up for this method it is usual to make a frame from strong treated wood (often old  railway sleepers) these boxes are usually placed 3 to 4 foot apart and some sort of path made between the beds. (gravel, slabs, chippings) The boxes are then filled with compost and /or soil, ensuring a soil high in nutrients.
You may remember from pics that I have shared that I don't use this method. I have to say that I am not convinced it is the most efficient or frugal way to grow veg. Oooo er controversial Gill!!
Firstly, the outlay to set up this system is pretty high.  If you are growing your own to save money it will be some considerable time before you get your money back (especially if you grow crops such as carrots and potatoes) Consider the cost of the wood, preservative,paving and compost, (though some people do have access to enough improved soil)
Secondly, you can make your soil as rich, deep and productive without using boxed deep beds.
Thirdly, you will grow easily as much per square foot in a well planned "conventional" garden.
Here's how we do it.
We ridge up the garden into 4 to 5 foot beds beds with and 18" gap between, this frees up more gardening space per metre than using the boxed garden, wide path method. I usually lay old floor boards or pallet wood in the gap to walk on or push wheel barrows along.(If you roll these boards over occasionally you can pick off and dispose of the slugs that will gather there - they have to gather somewhere!)
I will grant you that raised beds are tidier and if you are a wheelchair user higher raised beds make gardening possible for you (you will need higher boards for this, say 3 or 4 sleepers deep) I personally favour the chaotic flowers, fruit and vegetables (and quite a few weeds) look, which makes my heart sing in mid summer and have searched out a couple of pics to remind you.

Now some may have to lie down in a darkened room after looking at this organised chaos, but I reckon that the yield from this chaos is pretty good!
Some come on gardeners what do you think? (Head above the parapet here)
Gill


Thursday, 18 May 2017

"Three Girls". What did you think?

Oh My!
 Anyone else here been watching "Three Girls"? If so, what did you think?
My granddaughter and I have been watching it and believe it to be very well done, though not an easy watch.
Gillx

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Fishing, Car Boot and the Lambs


Thank you so much for your comments on my last post. How touching and some cases heartbreaking they were. I am so glad that you felt you could share.
David and I are just back from one of our regular fishing trips to Looe in Cornwall. As usual we stayed with our friend in Callington and while David fished J. and I gossiped and visited a couple of car boot sales. I didn't buy much but was pleased with that which I did buy, this gorgeous jerkin for 50pence
and
 These delightful pincers,which David says are probably Victorian and I thought would be helpful when I am assembling and disassembling frames for the bees. Even if I didn't have a use for them I think they are a beautiful tool and it will reside in my "Woman's Drawer" in the kitchen, with all my other tools.

 I also bought a novel and a couple of soft toys for Coda and Sammie the Labs (expecting them to want the same one!)
David and his friends caught mostly Pollack and we received the spoils from his and of his friends catch too, After I had filleted the catch we had 29lb (13kgs) of fish fillets for the freezer. I cut a couple of the larger pollack into strips to make cougons for the grandchildren and will breadcrumb them, cornflake crumb actually, later and serve them with oven baked homemade chips and mayo. Some we will have for a favourite weekend lunch of fish finger sandwiches (real class!)
The lambs are still on 4 bottles a day and likely to be for a few days yet as a couple of them are not too strong and still need quite a lot of care and I'm not overly confident that they will make it. But each day is a day closer to then making strong lambs.
Here they are out in the sun after their lunchtime bottle
A Warm Derbyshire welcome to Faith Archer on Bloglovin. Do you have a blog Faith?
I have just collected all the bits and bobs of vegetables together that have been languishing in the fridge  since last week. I will see what I can cobble together this afternoon. Will try to remember to take some pics.
Back Soon
Gillx