Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy New Year

I'm a bit of a late starter this New Year - been trying to minimise computer time and have also been rather busy with all manner of things. Here's a rough update about what I've been up to.

We went away for a few days over Christmas, but are all back home now, so things have been a little busy here, just fitting in the day to day stuff that we all do. Thanks to the rain, the garden survived our absence quite well.

One of our fur-children managed to get into a fight while we were away and developed a not very nice abscess for his efforts. This resulted in a trip to the vet, minor surgery with stitches, etc, etc. He's on the mend now, with the drains being removed today and the stitches to be removed next week.

The day of his surgery, we had a "pest management" person here destroying the European Wasp nest we had discovered the day before while pruning the pine trees with our next-door neighbours. At first I thought they might be some sort of bee (and was quite excited), until a quick search on the net revealed their true identity. Apparently, they can give you a nasty sting (although these ones were not at all aggressive) and they eat or kill the insects in the region of their nest. The fellow who destroyed them for us said that if we hadn't removed them they would have destroyed the bee colony by the end of summer. So, I was really glad we found them relatively early on.

Now to the bees! The day after the wasps were removed, I started noticing more bees around. Not sure whether it was due to the demise of the wasps or the lovely weather . . . until the next day when there was even more activity and more bees coming and going from the hive, as they were today also. I finally worked it out - we've had bee babies! When we got the new nucleus just before Christmas, the bee man said that there were brood cells in the frames. I think they must have hatched because there definitely is an increase in the number of bees coming and going into the hive. Yippee! I'll be opening the hive again in about another week to check on progress, but I'm already anticipating we may need to put a third box on the hive in the next few weeks.

Things have been growing in the garden as well and yesterday morning I managed to drag the other household members away from electronic gadgets and books to give me a hand for an hour or so. Our main focus at the moment is weeding, feeding and mulching, but I've also been planting a few more seeds.

I'm trying a new thing with the carrots, which I often have difficulty germinating in warmer weather because they need to be kept moist. One of my books suggests putting some peat moss in the bottom of a furrow, then sprinkling in the seed, covering them with more peat moss and then finally the soil. I know there are sustainability issues with using peat moss, but I'm hoping the little bit I'm using will be for a good cause. We are due some very warm weather early next week, so I'm going to explore putting up a temporary shade over the seed bed as well.

Before we know it, we'll be planning for the winter veges - time is fast approaching to be sowing cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, silver beet and Asian veges to tide us over during the winter months.

One thing I almost forgot to mention - I was soooo spoilt over Christmas with lovely gifts, one of which was the DVD collection of the four series of The Good Life. I have watched a few episodes (while busy sewing some new clothes I need for work) and it strikes me that this show is just as relevant today as it was when it was first released. So, if you have some time and can get your paws on them, I'd highly recommend watching them - lots better than the drivel usually on TV these days.

love and light


Cwm Goch Chronicles said...

Congratulations on your bee grandchildren!

naturewitch said...

Hi Cwm Goch
Thanks! xx

Anonymous said...

OMG I LOVED the good life, you can also watcch the full series of it on youtube, which is what I did as I had missed about a third of them.

If you plant leeks with your onions they will germinate more readily, at least I have certainly had much more success with this depression gardeners trick.

Cheryl said...

Oh such sweet memories.....I watched the Good Life when the programmes were first on the TV and loved each and everyone of them.....I hope you continue to enjoy them naturewitch.....

So interesting re mason bees went right down in numbers 2008 and I am sure it was due to a solitary wasp that got into the units.......

Bee babies how lovely.....I feel excited to.....I just love my bees....any photos??

It seems strange that you are thinking winter.......I am dreaming of spring.......

Wendy said...

Baby bees! How wonderful! It is nice to come here and read all about your summer activities. Planting, mulching, weeding and beekeeping.
We're in the thick of winter here, but for a little while I can escape into your world.

Stewart said...

Hi Naturewitch, re: carrots I do a similar thing but I just use seed raising mix. One thing I do which you might like to try in the hotter weather is to plant the seed a little deeper than recommend so as to help avoid drying out.

naturewitch said...

Hi Molly
That's interesting about the leeks - will have to give it a try. Wonder if it will work with the carrots? xx

Hi Cheryl
I've tried photographing the bees, but they don't sit still long enough for me, so I just get the odd random shot to sort of work. Wish I had your ability with photography. However, I'll put some up soon with other garden pics. xx

Hi Wendy
Strange, isn't it? That's what I thought last winter when watching all the gardens on the other side of the world blossom, while we were clearing away the debris from finished crops. When you think about it, by sharing each others gardens, we get twice the fun! xx

Hi Stewart
Thanks for that tip. I didn't think of seed raising mix - sometimes the blooming obvious doesn't come to mind. And good thought on planting the seed a little deeper. This morning I built a little shade - will post a pic. xx