For Free

Yes there was a literal sting to this “For Free”.

I got the rest of the potatoes. I ate the ones that I harvested immediately prior to being stung, these are the ones I went back for.

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They will taste so sweet…

I was locking the chickens away one evening and noticed that the bees had already called it a day, I decided to make hay while the bees slept, so I dug the potatoes. I was a bit nervous, there were one or 2 bees flying home late but thankfully our paths did not intersect.

Note to self. Don’t plant stuff in front of the bee hive.

Lesson learnt.

My little bee friends

I harvested the potatoes from the front of the bee hive quite a few months ago and gave a sigh of relief. Who is silly enough to have crops growing directly in front of a bee hive? In my defense the potatoes were there before the bees.

I was quite cautious when harvesting. I kept quite low to the ground, always trying to stay out of the flight path.  A few flew into me but continued on their merry way.  Lesson learnt, job done. So I thought.

Turns out when you are fearful for life and limb perhaps you don’t harvest every single potato. A heap more plants came up out of the ground. I let them grow, knowing that frost would probably take them before they were ready to be harvested. I did not hill them, I did not water them, I did not give them anything. I did not even tell the chickens off for digging around them.

On the weekend the temperature dipped below zero a couple of nights in a row. The potato plants died in the frost. I figured I would harvest the baby potatoes. FREE baby potatoes. My favourite! There was not a huge amount of bee activity as it is Winter. I think I was a bit laid back about it all.

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Yes, those are frantic muddy clawing at throat marks on my top and neck. Yes, I panicked when it flew into me. Yes, I called my sister and told her if I was dead when she got home this was the reason why. Yes, I googled if I was going to die.

It did swell, I could feel it when I swallowed. It felt like I had a scarf wrapped too tightly around my neck, bearable but annoying. It was uncomfortable, pain wise, as bee stings generally are. The next day there was a 5 x 5cm red mark there. Plain as day for all to see. Swollen and puffy. It was more swollen the next day than on the day of the sting, I could feel every breathe. I figured if it got any worse I would try an antihistamine or just go to the doctor. Today, 2 days later, the swelling is significantly reduced. The redness is less obvious but boy is it itchy.

The rest of the potatoes remain in the ground. I think I will wait til it is raining or super cold before attempting to harvest those….

The rest of the garden did not like the frost. Some plants were perfectly fine others not so much.

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The saliva which had no problems last Winter hated this frost. I will not cut it back even though it looks horrible as there are green leaves at the base and all this dead stuff will protect them from all subsequent frosts. I will cut it back harshly at the end of Winter when there should only be light frosts.
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As expected all the nasturtiums died.
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All the fresh growth on the grapefruit got burnt. The rest of the tree is fine so I will probably just cut these off.
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Cricket wants to know why I am so interested in the grapefruit when clearly all I should be interested in are chicken snacks.

The future

WE BOUGHT A FARM!!!!!

I have never bought a farm before so I am unsure if there is a specific time frame that is adhered to when telling the news. Is it like pregnancy where the done thing is to wait til 12 weeks? Well I don’t feel like waiting. My sister and I put an offer in on a small farm and it was accepted!!

We are in the process of contracts and finance and building inspections etc. But it all looks promising.

I have started taking cuttings from the plants that I want to bring with me. I hope they all take as I will need all the plants I can get my hands on to turn the barren land into luscious gardens.

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It is a 7 acre piece of land with a small house on it. I have an atrocious memory so once we properly own it I will be taking lots and lots of photos so that I can see the progress along the way. Exciting times ahead. Exciting and terrifying 🙂

Happy Winter Solstice

Yay, today is the Winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere!! It sure does feel like the shortest day of the year. Still dark outside at 0730. Even though it really is only the start of Winter knowing that each day is getting a little longer now will help me get through the cold, a little positivity to hold on to.

More nettle

I am thinning out the nettle. I was treating it like a plant and being all gentle with it. Not harvesting too much from any one plant. I realised this morning when I could barely see the garlic that I was being too kind. It is a weed after all.

I have started cutting it back, I am aiming to cut about 90% of it down to the soil. This will give the garlic some light and space. It also means I can get the weeds out with out getting stung. I have only done about a quarter. I am trialing drying it like mint or peppermint to save on power. I feel I have nothing to loose as I have so much more out there. My plan is to keep the nettle under control and only let one set seed. If all these set seed I would be in big trouble I think!

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I have left the self seeded flat leaf parsley in there. I have pulled out the self seeded tomatoes as they will not be able to survive the frosts in Winter without protection.

I think I will let the inside nettle dry then attack the next quarter. Repeat til all done.

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Reuse/Repurpose

I have had this pair of cotton pajama pants for at least 10 years. I had mended a few holes over the years but they finally reached the end of their PJ life recently. I intended to cut them up and put them through the compost. Seemed like a good idea for material that is thread bare in parts. As I started cutting I thought long and hard about what I was doing. I stopped. I started cutting in strips. Now they will have a few more years of use before they reach the compost pile.

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Apparently as the broad beans keep growing you add higher and higher supports for them.

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I am up to 2, I will add a third when the beans are taller.

Plus I have heaps of them so I can use them all over the garden. Need to tie up the tomatoes in Spring? PJs. Need to re-stake the lop sided apple tree? PJs. Need to help the beans til they learn to hold onto the trellis properly? PJs. Need to attach wire to the fence for the sweet peas? PJs. I am only limited by my own imagination.