More Hives = More Honey

Hopefully.

I split the hive last week. My original hive came out of Winter really strongly. I checked on them towards the end of Winter and they had obviously missed the memo that it was still Winter and that they should be quietly puttering along, not expanding just yet. They were almost out of space. I made the decision to give them more space instead of splitting them as I thought it would be easier to transport one hive to the farm than 2. I was wrong. One hive 3 boxes high is a jolly tricky thing to move and it does not fit in a car which was my planned mode of transport for the girls. Anyway, lesson learnt. I moved the large hive to the farm on the back of a hired ute, challenging, as a word, does not encompass that experience.

 

IMG_5589
I can’t see a single bee in this picture but this tree literally buzzes, the bees are loving it.

Last week I split that 3 box hive that was almost full again (busy busy girls!) into two 2 box hives. I am hopeful that it is early enough in the season that I will get honey from both hives. I took one full frame of honey off them when I split the hive. Made sure each hive had plenty of honey, pollen, eggs, brood (babies) and nurse bees. Said hello to the queen. Closed them up and called it a day. This is called a walk away split, although I located the queen I did not keep track of her so ultimately do not know which hive she ended up in (I have a strong suspicion but don’t know for sure) so I made sure both hives had eggs and the one that is now queenless will make their own new queen from one of the eggs. Amazing huh?

 

IMG_5581
I wish there was smell’o’gram, this wattle tree smells so sweet and fragrant.

 

I moved the new hive to a different location as my choice for the old hive wasn’t great. I will slowly move the old hive to a new spot too. My brother very kindly made me another bee stand so my bee friends are raised up off the ground and the chickens can tidy up under the hive. This is only theoretical at the moment as the chickens have not ventured down to where either of the hives are, they have only explored a tiny part of the farm, Christopher Columbus they are not.  They will go slightly further if I lead them to a new area but they leave as soon as I do. Chickens…

IMG_5551.JPG
My little helper, helping me to make more bee frames.
IMG_5587.JPG
My first frame of this season.
Advertisements

My poor avocado

Do you think it can come back from this?

IMG_5574.JPG

IMG_5575.JPG

I don’t think anything was eaten, just ripped off and dumped. Not a single leaf remains. I am quietly hopeful it may sprout some new ones. 90% sure it won’t. This tree is in a different area to the other fruit trees as eventually I wish to fence off the orchard area, and let the chickens free range in the orchard field full time. I read somewhere that avocado leaves are poisonous to chickens so I planted this one in a different area. Apparently a high kangaroo destruction area 😦

Sending healing thoughts to this poor sad tree.

Garden time :)

There are kangaroos here, lots of kangaroos. At the moment there is greenery everywhere for them to eat and so they have respected the pot plants that I have near the house. I thought that while there was an abundance of greenery I had time to procrastinate with putting some fences around my newly transplanted fruit trees. I was wrong.

The poor avocado got quite a trimming. It doesn’t actually look as though they ate much, just ripped branches off and nibbled the trunk. It is not looking promising for the avocado. It is in a bad way. The other fruit trees were all dormant and evidently not appetising so have only had the odd branch snapped off. I have put some light fencing around them to deter the kangaroos from nibbling the trunks. I would like it if they would be respectful of the rest of the tree too but I think I may have to share.

IMG_5528.JPG

IMG_5529.JPG

IMG_5530.JPG
I call this one Sticks in a Field. Fingers crossed for these transplanted treasures!

Anyway… So I am doing a trial garden. There is a fairly scary looking area that is fenced off, I think there may have been a dog locked in there at some point as the ramshackle structure appears to be a kennel. I am unsure how high fencing needs to be to keep kangaroos out. In Summer when all the grass is dead my garden will look like an oasis, so I am guessing quite high. I also saw a mighty fat rabbit the other day. I have seen no holes in the ground to suggest it lives here but it will be mighty expensive fencing if it has to go down into the ground to keep rabbits out and up into the sky to keep kangaroos out. So a trial patch.

IMG_5534.JPG

With the ladies assistance I removed all the weeds. There were hundreds of weird tiny little caterpillar like things in the soil. The chickens gobbled every one that they could find.

IMG_5542.JPG

 

My sister kindly removed the spider den, I mean, dog kennel. There was an incident. Something massive, Beatle got in there and dealt with it. From the distance that I ran to I could not identify it. Quite out of character I dragged my sister to safety with me, usually in spider situations I like to leave behind a sacrificial lamb, so there were no creditable eye witness accounts of what it actually was. It took the chicken a good while to kill and eat it. I think it was an alien spider. It was HUGE!!! The ladies also removed any visible non alien spiders. Kind like that they are.

IMG_5536.JPG

IMG_5537.JPG
Spider den

Then it looked like an everyday run of the mill dirt patch. I mattocked it up as I had stood everywhere and compacted the heavy clay soil. I let the ladies have one last look through for creepy crawlies then I locked them out, added a heap of worm rich compost, some pavers to distribute my weight across more soil and watered it all in.

IMG_5539

 

IMG_5545.JPG

I have transplanted the first few little seedlings. A couple of corn, a couple sunflowers, some mustard mizuna, pak choy, rocket and corn salad. I wish them luck.

IMG_5548.JPG

 

Rest of the tour?

Nah, it is pretty boring. I will write an entire post on the glories that will be be the wood fire heater. But there are a few steps that need to happen before the heater gets here. The rest of the house is pretty much just a standard house.

The real estate lady that sold us the house is married to one of the only people in the town that installs wood fire heaters, when we are ready he will come and tell us if the one we have chosen is appropriate for the space we are trying to heat and if the spot we have decided on meets safety standards. Next Winter ought to be a lot warmer in this non insulated house.

How do I know the house has no insulation? I decided to try my hand at DIY. There was a hole in the wall in one of the bedrooms. I assume some sort of moving mishap from the previous people. I watched a youtube video and then gave  fixing it a crack.

IMG_5460

I cut out a rough-ish rectangle around the hole, the damage extended quite far behind the wall so it was a fairly big hole I cut. I waited for the masses of spiders to pour out as has happened in my nightmares. Nothing came out.

IMG_5489

IMG_5494

I had a hesitant look in the hole. I could feel a cold breeze on my face. Weird. Had a proper look.

IMG_5492

Yep that it the outside cladding of the house. Nothing in between. I was not willing to stick my hand in the hole to have a feel around and see where this breeze was coming from, so that remains an unsolved mystery. I screwed in a bit of wood so that I could attach the new plaster to something.

IMG_5495

Cut a piece of new plaster to the vague size of the hole in the wall. I said vague….

IMG_5496

Screwed the new piece in and joint compounded it.

IMG_5497

I have sanded it back twice and added more joint compound. I am pretty happy with the result.

IMG_5571.JPG

I am unsure what we will do about the lack of insulation. Short of replastering the house I don’t see how we could get it in there.

Installing double glazed windows just moved further down the list. Not much point worrying about the windows when there is no insulation. Seems like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound. Lucky I like all seasons as we will feel them all in the house. Super hot in Summer, super cold in Winter. Right now, with numb fingers the heater seems a really high priority. In a month or 2 when I am sweltering, I feel an airconditioner might move to the top of the list. Lucky I love the heat 🙂

Where to start?

A mini tour? ok. We will start in the kitchen, the heart of the home.

IMG_5440

IMG_5441

Can anyone say Kermit the Frog Kitchen. Well actually in these photos you can’t quite see just how green this area is. I am too lazy to get up and take another photo. Instead I will show you another that shows all 3 greens that were used and the quality of the paint job.

IMG_5565

IMG_5567.JPG

I am unsure who did this very poor painting job but it is here none the less. The 3 shades of green are not great. Green is one of my favourite colours and I actually wouldn’t mind a green kitchen, but this has put me off as I can see how badly it can go.

I have an atrocious memory and after seeing the farm, then buying the farm, then not seeing the farm for months, I could not remember a thing about the kitchen. I feared it was tiny with no cupboard space. I was right and wrong. It is small, it has no pantry but it is pretty workable. It is a funky layout that I would not have picked myself but still workable. There were some extra treats that I removed like the built in plastic wrap and foil dispenser from the 70’s or 80’s, the lace curtains, and the weird ugly utensil holder.

IMG_5468

There are some quirks, the rod that held the lace curtains is so long that you couldn’t open one of the cupboards without rearranging the curtains to block the other cupboard so you could access the one you want. Most of the cupboards won’t stay open by themselves so it is a wrestle to get things out at times. There is no pantry. But all in all, I would have to say I am happy enough with the kitchen. There are many things that I will change but they are pretty low down on the overall list.

One of the changes I will make is to remove this narrow cupboard that opens outside of the kitchen and has become a dumping ground for homeless things. I will put some open shelves there to display some of my purty things.  The narrow cupboard below which is currently housing baking tins will be an open wine rack probably.

IMG_5568

I would like to build in a shallow pantry next to the fridge. I am suprised that I have fit everything into one smallish cupboard which opens outside the kitchen, turns out this has not been that big of a deal. It is an extra couple of steps not a marathon so I can handle that 🙂

The green will go. At the moment we are looking at a shade of blue for the whole house but have not found the exact colour just yet. We bought a massive tin of what we thought would be the colour. I tested it on a spot, too blue. I bought dark grey and white and added a dash of one and a glug of the other. Too dark, but a better blue. 18 attempts later, it is totally not re-creatable but I think we are close. Probably should give up and go and buy a different tin of paint….

IMG_5569

And that is the kitchen.

Well that was a busy time

Time just disappeared. Shit got real. We moved to the farm.

IMG_5477.JPG

It was a lengthy drawn out process involving approximately 7862 trips back and forward. Some logistical conundrums – mainly massive chicken coop and 30,000 bees. All has been sorted, everything and everyone is here.

The farm is almost unpacked. The list of things to do is endless but somehow still growing. I honestly do not know where to start. Each thing on the list kinda depends on something else being done. I want to paint the walls, wait, the floors need fixing which necessitates the skirting boards being removed with potential wall damage, ok, so I won’t paint the walls just yet. I will paint the roof. Wait, are those the lights you intend to keep? Oh hell no. Then wait till you have removed those lights and fixed the holes before painting the roof. I really need to find the lights I want but as I have no idea what I want google images has been unable to assist me. Unless I am a millionaire, if I was a millionaire I found some lights I like 🙂

Lucky it is perfectly livable now 🙂 There is no heating, so when I say perfectly livable I mean freakin’ freezing. In the mornings it is around 5 degrees (41F) inside but Spring is here on the calendar so I will patiently wait for it to arrive to the land. I would like to install a wood fire heater but I need the floors done first so I know the height and won’t need to re-tile around the fire when the floors get done.

I have fixed the curtain situation a bit. I haven’t bought the rods that they will go on or taken up the too long bottoms but I feel this made a big difference to the aesthetics.

IMG_5486.JPG
I would say “ignore the mess, this is the before photo” and that is technically correct, this is the before photo. But the mess is still there in the after photo… More mess actually as the old curtains have been dumped on the floor.
IMG_5487.JPG
After. The curtains are about 10cm too long, they should be relatively easy to take up since that is the length of the hem so I can just fold it over and sew. I am waiting til I buy and install the rods just on the off chance that that affects the height that the curtains sit at.

I will spread out my other achievements so this doesn’t go on forever. I am so so so happy to be here on the farm. Part of that happiness in leaving my job and losing the anxiety that went with said job. The rest is the peacefulness, the potential, the dreams, the possibilities. This place is going to be amazing.