Monday, 19 September 2016

A Quick Word- and Bee-keeping Workshop

September is galloping along very nicely, although very full of all kinds of activities here. A quick word to catch up on some of what's been keeping us busy.

A couple of the rental bee hives that were all delivered to their excited beginner apiarists.

Brian has made a start on shearing the sheep. He does a few every weekend when time permits.

I hosted an afternoon tea and garden walk to some ladies from a local "Women in Agriculture" group. The ladies sitting at each end of the table were aged 90 and 91 years.! They trotted around the garden, as fast as the rest of us, and entertained us with their stories of life on the land in their younger years.

Here in South Australia we're experiencing a winter pretty much like winters used to be way back in my memory. The ford along the road from us was over a metre high and impassable, forcing many folks to "Go around the long way" to get to their homes.
Brian and I went for a drive to look at some of the local creeks and water ways. It gives me a rush of excitement to see water flowing where it hasn't done for the last few years.

We have been going through a lot of firewood this year, and both fires are still burning around the clock as I write this. We've needed to cut lots more wood, using the chainsaw and then with the hydraulic log splitter, which is so much easier than using the axe.

Meg watched with fascination as fifty plus chicks hatched out in the incubator. She came to me in the kitchen looking worried, then running back into the incubator, and then back to me repeatedly. I thought I should check what's happening, and sure enough, one chick had got itself stuck between two shelves and was squawking.  Oh my goodness, we need to make a movie about our wonder dog ;-)
After spending 24 hours under the light in the brooder, the chicks were all strong enough to be introduced to their surrogate mums who had sat in waiting, on golf balls, for the the three weeks that it usually takes to hatch their chicks.
We usually have lots of lightening and thunder storms at this time of year, which will kill many of the eggs if the hen is sitting on the ground. Incubating gives us a much higher hatching percentage, and then the chicks grow like nature intended, learning to be chooks from their surrogate mums.

When making some loaves of sourdough bread, I pinched off some dough and made sour dough cracker biscuits. Rolling them through the pasta machine was easier than rolling out with the rolling pin. Brush with water and sprinkle with salt and herbs or sesame seeds before baking in a hot oven until slightly coloured.
I think they're called "Lavash" (Lavosh) which are sold in our gourmet shops here for a ridiculous sum of money. Delicious, if I do say so myself.

The first of the bee-keeping workshops went well yesterday with ten willing participants.

The day began for me at 5am, making up the baquettes, sandwiches, and setting up for the morning tea and lunch. I had baked lots of goodies for morning lunch during the week, so it was all quite simple really.
Brian was the main speaker, with me having bits to say along the way throughout the day.

Who would have thought, back in July when I was planning this day, that September 18th would be wet and cold?  We were hoping for warm and dry conditions which are perfect for opening bee hives, but that was not to be, so we had a few other plans up our sleeves.
Some boxes were opened briefly, and everyone got the opportunity to wear their new bee suits and other various forms of bee protection gear.

Learning to make frames, threading the wire, and embedding the foundation was more difficult than Brian made it look, but it's a fundamental part of keeping bees.
Everyone had a great time apparently, and the food was a winner, so we will stick to the same formula for the next workshop this coming weekend.
I'm hoping to have more time to take more photos and fill you in with more detail after next week.
All a bit of a rush at present.
So that's it for now. The firewood needs to be brought up to the wood boxes on the verandah,food needs to be prepared, and some weeds need pulling.
Just as well I love winter so much, because we're not seeing many signs of warming up. Fine with me thanks!
Thanks for having a read, and hope your September is proceeding nicely too.


  1. I'm with you on winter. The longer summer and its feral
    heat stays away the better!

  2. It is cold again here too, Sally. I was just thinking today that we had gone back to winter after some nice warm weather. You are keeping busy I must say.

  3. Glad that you had plan B for inclement weather. Beautiful Meg. Wonder dog indeed. Wonderful blog again, & I look forward to more photos. :)

  4. Meg is so clever! Glad the beekeeping day went well and isn't it nice to have acwet spring! We even had some rain up here too. Thanks for the quick update :)

  5. Meg is so clever! Glad the beekeeping day went well and isn't it nice to have acwet spring! We even had some rain up here too. Thanks for the quick update :)

  6. Ah,I am not at all fond of the cold, can not wait for some warmth!!
    So glad that your bee workshops are going so well!
    - Kelly B

  7. Would have loved to have been there with everyone and the bees.....brings back memories of doing bees with my Father and older brothers as a kid.


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