Sunday 27 July 2014

Party Girl

Another hello to Karan and Shona on bloglovin, welcome on board
Been a while hasn't it? here is a quick post to remind you who I am !
We have been really busy with the bees and gardens. Honey is being spun, veggies and fruit are starting to come in and we didn't grow it to waste it.

We have also been getting the field ready for a little event. 
"Grandma" wheedled our youngest granddaughter (soon to be nine) "Can I have a camping sleepover party for my birthday? "Of course you can"  She has a nice little group of friends, so no problem. As often happens in this family the thing evolved and it transpired that each child would be accompanied by her parents and siblings! Well the weather has been glorious and we know all the parents so why not!
 Over the next couple of weeks an odd (!) auntie or two invited themselves along, so we ended up having a bit of a bash last night!!!
The classic combination of a hot day, children, sundry dogs and a river meant that the bouncy castle was almost superfluous. In the evening the children used it a sort of clubhouse while the adults discussed the attributes of different wines, beers and spirits. Purely in the line of market research you understand. ?
 Games of rounders and frizbee were played, but mostly it was swimming and sitting on the raft that we keep in the river (as we are big kids at heart)
 Here she is with her mum...

And guess who else came to the party and yet again didn't understand what it was all about !?

Hopefully I will be back to my blog soon, as I have nearly finished the most pressing Civic Society Issues and will take a break from them for a couple of weeks, which will give me a little computer time.

Has anyone else got a bumper crop of Blackberries, which are already ripening ? Picked a couple of pound today in a few minutes, Mmmmm what to do with them/ Any ideas folks?

Off to do some watering, apart from the thunder storm last weekend we have had no rain for weeks here and there are cracks in the garden that you could fall down.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Adam the Dog-Sheep

This is a first for me .. A Video !!
My daughter and her daughter are throwing a ball for their dogs, Sammie and Coda. Adam the sheep always comes up for a fuss and to have his bottom and face licked by the dogs ... Yes I know it's gross, especially as they usually do it in that order!. Coda often drops the ball at Adam's feet and Adam just looks at it, sniffs it and loses interest as it isn't food. On this occasion he decided to join in fun.. but really didn't get it !
 "What is the attraction in those round inedible objects?" he says.

Another boiling hot day today, still no rain, but promised for tomorrow.
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Gill x

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Hen Fostering and Honey

Hello Fellow Frugellers

Been another busy week. Quite a lot of bee work, dog sitting, weeding, pricking out, gathering and processing of veggies, honey spinning...............

  It is still hot here and we would like some rain or we will have to do another shed-load of watering. I believe that rain is forecast and we might even get some thunder storms. I LOVE a good thunder storm.

 We are picking tomatoes and cucumbers in earnest now. I am processing some into passata or paste to put  in the freezer for winter, eating some fresh and selling some
 Here are some chicken pics (Hello Stu in Scotland and Sandie in Leicester!) of the fostering arrangements in the nursery house.

First up is Manny Mummy. She bought off the black chick (now nearly a hen) some weeks ago and then proceeded to sit again. The black chick stayed sitting next to her all the time until the little yellow chick was hatched. They are now sharing the care of the chick.
 Next is Sister Buff with two stolen chicks. She has gradually steered these two chicks ( from different mums) into her cosy, chickless bed and they are now HERS!!!
And finally, here is Foster Mum. These are the chicks that she gathered behind her when the fox took Flump, Mummy Buff and Black Mummy. Only one is hers, she hid them in a corner until the fox had gone.

The bees are as busy as ever. I thought would put up these pictures of their favourite flowers that grow in our garden.
 and of course..Buddleia (this one is "Black Prince")
There a couple more plants they love, but I ran out of time to take photos.

As I mentioned earlier, we have started the Honey Harvest. We took honey from Hive No.5 yesterday , which yielded 38lb honey. Not bad really. I now have the signs out so hopefully we can recoup some of the beekeeping expenses. We will be looking at the other hives that we know have some honey in, in the next couple of days. As some of the hives have newly collected swarms they won't have any honey for us until next year, providing they are strong enough to make it through the winter.

  I realised today that if my mother were alive it would have been her 100th birthday. Now that would have been a good party, she was some lady and I miss her still !!!

  With help from my youngest daughter... who am I kidding, she did it all!... I have loaded a video of Adam the sheep with his doggie friends. It will be in my next post. Hope you pop in to see it.. it's a classic!

 Off for a shower. I have just finished burning a mountain of bush and tree clippings and I smell of smoke.

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Friday 11 July 2014

Granddaughters, bees and the dog

Hello All
Gosh it's been hot around here lately. We were told it would probably rain today and it didn't, it's been another scorcher. We have had very little rain and that we have had has soon been dried up by the heat.

 It's been a granddaughter sort of day today. Our youngest granddaughter stayed overnight last night and all today until her dad picked her up this evening, which was a lovely surprise.(teachers are on strike at her school) Before tea her cousin arrived to collect her dog (we provide doggy day care two or three days a week, and to do some sewing. So we all had tea - Fish (caught last weekend) cougons, tomatoes and cucumber and broccoli from the garden and jacket potatoes.
When the little one went home we set about some sewing. EGD is very competent with a sewing machine, but less so with patterns. Tonight she was able to make sense of it so she is all systems go now with her latest project which is a a present for a young relative.
I am SO lucky to have the grandchildren nearby and to see them often.

 Here is another bee story warning!
 We had ANOTHER swarm this week , which we boxed and placed on a an old table under the tree from which we collected the swarm. We have completely run out of equipment and are cobbling hives together from  everything and anything. The box n the table hasn't got a roof even, just a sheet of cardborad covered in a plastic bag and held down by an empty brood box. (As I write D. is in his man-cave finishing a lid for these bees)The front garden no longer resembles a garden, more a bee field, with the grass uncut and the weeds growing rampant and hives everywhere. Fortunately our bees are extremely friendly and even though we have fifteen hives in the front garden we have had no complaints from the neighbours and received no stings ourselves. We often sit in this garden and my three washing lines are here too.
Here is a pic of part of this garden. I would show you more but I am too ashamed at the state of it!!

 While we haven't been stung our eldest granddaughter's dog was yesterday. We noticed him going too close to the hives, so called him back. He gave a little jump and my daughter said " I think he has just been stung" We looked him over and he seemed okay. A couple of hours later I noticed that he had a rash on his tummy and wondered if it might be something he has brushed against in the paddock. However his face started to swell and the blotches on his tummy  started to meet up so it was a dash to the vets, who when he arrived said "Oooh that's a classic allergic reaction" and promptly gave him a shot of steroids. He is looking much better today and I have strung a line of the mesh I use to deter butterflies from my cabbages, across the garden so that he has to stay away from  the hives. Other routes to the hives you can't see in this picture have been blocked off too.
  We noticed that the hive he was close to had actually been moved slightly, so he must have given it a bit of a push!
  Hanging washing is going to be a challenge negotiating the barriers I think.

That was written yesterday. I couldn't quite get the energy to proof read and publish last night.

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Monday 7 July 2014

Fish, veg, bees and a bit of sewing.

Hello All
  Here I am again, back from a short weekend  break in Cornwall, ( so that D can do a spot of sea fishing). The catch was a little better this week, with two large pollack a VERY large Ling and a few smaller pollack. I have cooked the trimmings up today in the microwave with a little milk and have covered this with some leftover cheese sauce and mashed potatoes from yesterdays' tea. We had this fish pie with carrots and brocolli for tonight's dinner. The rest of the fish is frozen in fillets. I took a photo of the catch, but can't find it!

   YGD called tonight for a spot of help with some sewing she is doing. This is the first time that she has made something using a proper, bought pattern and she was getting in a bit of a sprockle. Nothing serious but the pattern was a little confusing.  We were still having dinner when she got here, as we had had so many visitors today that we were behind. "Eww" she said "Fish Pie!". I asked her if she had ever tried it   Well no she hadn't, so she had a little taste and really liked it. Next time I make one I will rustle up one for her too now that she is converted.
  After dinner we sorted the pattern out and YGD set about recutting and is now happily ready to sew. She says that she is coming over on Thursday night so that we can sew together and I will be there for a spot of encouragement.
Here she is, a little embarrassed as she is in her lycra stuff , having come to us straight from the gym!

I have been in the garden weeding most of today. The garlic is now up and drying on netting and is a bumper crop. All the cloves have produced a plant and they are all of a very goods size. The garlic was planted on bonfire night last year.
We had the first cauli yesterday and the brocolli is now ready. it doesn't seem to matter what I do the curds are all ready at the same time. I have picked some red and blackcurrents,  the last scrotty gooseberries and a few strawberries today. Tomorrow I shall make a mixed berry jam.
On the subject of jam and preserves in general I have been looking through a book I bought many years ago in a CS about preserving using honey instead of sugar. It looks as though we shall have a honey crop this year so I plan to have a go at some of the recipes in the book. I will let you know how I get on.

  I said I would not post too much about the bees and some of you were kind enough to say that you liked to read about them. So I don't feel too bad about posting these pictures of the latest swarm. These bees swarmed into a damson that grows over the wood shed. D. had to cut some small branches away to get the box under the swarm. The idea was to take out a few frames, line up the gap in the frames under the swarm and knock them in. As soon as he lined up the box the bees decided they liked the look of it and immediately walked down into it. Sorted!
 They are still there on the roof and appear very happy. There is no rush to move them so we will leave them there while we sort out more pressing colony issues.

That's all for now. Apart from giving a warm welcome to Marie a fellow beekeeper on the follower bar and Lorraine and Ann Christine on Blog Lovin. It's really good to see you here.
I'm off to my bed.
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