Friday 18 March 2016

Adorable X 8

Hello All
It's that time of year again...
So meet..
Cookie, Cocoa , Cheeky, Cheese and Chives  the girls
 Chester, Corbyn and Cameron the boys

Yes I know some of the names are weird, but I didn't name one of them!
If anyone is passing all eight are on bottles and help is gratefully accepted!
Back  Soon

Thursday 10 March 2016

Meat bargains and other stuff

Hello All
Thank you for your comments on my last post. I love how so many people are interested in bees.

I have done quite well for meat bargains over the last few days.
The first pic is of the 1kg £1.55 "cooking bacon" from Lidl The 2 pieces, as you can see, are quite lean and actually weighed a little over 1kg. I cooked these in the slow cooker. They kept their shape and were not in the least bit salty. I cubed one piece to add to a quiche and a couple of omlettes and sliced the larger one for sandwiches for ourselves and our granddaughter's packed lunch.

 My next bargain was a lovely piece of brisket. I bought this "yellow sticker " joint weighing 1.4kg for £4.89, marked down from £9.77 from Tescos. As you can see it is a very lean joint. I pot roasted this. Three of us had this hot for dinner last night and there is nearly half of it left to eat cold in sandwiches.
 Here is something I didn't get round to showing you after Christmas. The girls clubbed together to buy me this beauty.....
 I am looking forward to making cider later in the year. I also have several large bags of grapes in the freezer and will be having a play with these soon.

David and the guys have been working hard at stacking wood and moving a trailer load of chippings that we were given a few days ago.  "That's that parking space cleared " he announced smugly on tuesday evening.
Yesterday (wednesday) our godson arrived with a truck full of pallets ! hey ho. I'd hate David to get complacent and it keeps him off the streets (as they say)
I bet you pallet buffs are making plans in your heads as to what you could with those pallets. The guys will be carefully taking some of them apart today.

The hens have now started laying in ernest, which means that I can put the signs out. Hurrah! Yesterday I made a quiche, an large egg custard(without pastry) and boiled half a dozen eggs for sandwiches. Love it when I don't have to skimp on the eggs..
Off to Lidl now as a request has gone up for meatballs when the family come for tea this weekend and I have no mince in the freezer.
Back soon as I seem to have got my blogging mojo back for the moment.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

New beekeeping ideas

Hello All
Another blogging hiatus from me. I'm rubbish this year.
Thanks for the replies about moth-proofing. Cedar wood it is then. Pensive Pensioner mentioned cedar wood rings, which thread onto the coat hanger and I have found some on the internet at a reasonable price. Brilliant!
Cro and Fast SOS asked if we had problems with moths and yes, in the past we have, both in an Aran sweater and a wool Berber carpet. As the jacket cost more than he has EVER paid he wants to ensure he has it for years and years.

 I was talking to my godson in the pub the other night. He is a beekeeper of three years, while David and I have kept bees for forty years now. I reminded him that he has introduced us to two pieces of equipment that have improved and/ or simplified our beekeeping. Never too old to learn eh?
The first is a varroa floor. Varroa is a mite that lives in the bee hive on the bees, many hives have been lost to this little blighter and there are various pesticides employed to kill the mite. The varroa floor is a mesh floor that allows the mites to fall through and out of the hive, but not to return, where they die. A piece of white card placed under the hive enables you to see the mites and allows for a count to give an idea of the degree of infestation.
The mesh floor also means that the hive is well ventilated, thus keeping it dry and healthy.

The second piece of equipment is for feeding the bees. Prior to using these feeders it was necessary to remove the roof from the hive and place a round covered dish type feeder over the hole in the top box (an extra empty box was needed above this box to allow room for the feeder under the roof. This  is an manouver that necessitates pretty good weather as you don't want to chill the bees, nor shake the hive, thus risking shaking a cluster of bees (bees cluster to keep warm) All in all feeding bees or checking the feeders in winter can be quite invasive.
Let me introduce you to ....
Sugar syrup is poured into the cup, the lid is clicked on and the feeder turned upside down and placed into the door of the hive thus...
Even though the feeders are orange you can actually see the level of the liquid from the outside, so you know if they need filling up.  The feeder is removed when the bees are tucked up at night, refilled and replaced..bish bash bosh! How easy is that ? and they only cost  £1.25 each !!!

Incidentally Fast SOS if you are reading this (I saw your comment on Leigh's blog), the placement of the hives two foot from the garden wall and under (trimmed) trees is, I believe an ideal setting for bees, offering protection from heat, extreme cold and high winds and a convenient place for swarms to settle. The trees behind the hives have each had swarms settle in them last year. I really am not a fan of hives staged in open fields or lawns.
I am sure you have all noticed how beautifully, smart my hives are! Some of the boxes and roofs we made only last year and some are over twenty years old. Either side of these three hives are a further seven of equal beauty!
Off to the pub, back soon