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Life on two acres of arid dirt, on the edge of the Australian outback.

Friday, November 1, 2019

all abuzz with bees

It appears that my hubby Phil is coming around to my way of thinking. Slowly but surely he is showing signs of becoming a more caring person with regards to the environment. This leads me into his next venture and that is of bees.

He had mentioned to me previously about getting bees, but it was something that never seemed to happen.  Then all of a sudden it was back on the agenda after hearing that a couple of his work mates had hives.

So for the past couple of weeks he has been gathering bits and pieces together to start bee keeping.

First on the list was a bee suit. The most important part, if you don't want to get stung.

The old dog bed frame and a couple of old pallets came in handy for making a stand for the hives to sit on. 

Another mate had a spare one of these and gifted it to Phil.

Next up was the bee hive or boxes. He ordered them and they were delivered by post.

Frames put together.

Here Phil is adding the bee frame wire. He borrowed his mates "gadget" to do this.

Assembly complete.

Painting everything white.

He ordered a cute little roof to go on the hive.

Then he decided to make another bottom just like the purchased one, so he could divide the hive into two.

Last Sunday morning I went with hubby over to his mates place as he was doing a hive check and wanted to show Phil how he does it.

 I kept a safe distance away.

Happy to report that there were no stings.

Then in the afternoon we hopped in the car and headed towards Angaston, about a three hour drive from home.

We arrived at about 4.30pm, found the motel we were staying at for the night and then went for a drive around. We had not visited this area before, and I was amazed at the greenery and the roses! Oh my, the roses were all out in bloom everywhere. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of them. I try to grow roses but they struggle in my front garden, so I may look at relocating them next year, even if I put them in large pots so I can take better care of them.

A bit later we went out to find something to eat for tea then looked around some more. We found this lookout and the views from the top were breath taking, quite different from the scenery I am use to. These photos aren't great as I had left my camera in the motel room, so just taken on my mobile phone. Plus it was just on sundown.

First thing Monday morning, we set out for Jembella farm, a couple of minutes down the road. I am sure a lot of you will recognise this place. Sally has a blog and she also has bees, and we were here to collect two nuc colonies to bring home.

After a coffee, chat and quick tour we loaded our bees and were on our way. I really love how Sally and Brian have set up their place.  I came home with fresh ideas and much needed enthusiasm. 

And we also came away with some delicious honey!

Another three hour drive and we were home. The bees survived the trip and were quite eager to get out of their boxes.  Lucky they didn't escape on our way home, because as the following picture shows, they were working on it haha!

Here they are placed ready to be put into our hives. Phil was a bit nervous so he made a phone call to his "bee" mate to come over to help.

And the job is done, with no stings thank goodness!

We have had to add more shade for the bees as the weather has been hot this week. The tree shade just wasn't enough.

The bees have settled in and are busy doing their thing. We are a bit concerned about pollen and nectar sources so are looking at ways to increase what we have here. We have purchased a couple of suitable gum trees and will be incorporating more flowers via herbs etc to cater to their needs. I decided that the back lawn will go to get this happening.  While the lawn does provide some greenery, it is  useless and takes water to keep it green. I have leftover raised beds that can be used and made into wicking beds, so once the weather cools down, I will get started.

On Tuesday a contractor was going along our road spraying weeds with glysophate (man I hate that stuff). Hubby had a fit when he saw him from the train and promptly rang the council, they in turn rang the contractor to tell him to stay away from our block.  The girl at the council was very understanding as to why we didn't want the poison near here. She said, we need bees ~ smiles.

I think it is time to get a no spray sign made up.

And to finish with a little clip of our bees drinking from the bird bath out the front. I gave it a good clean and placed fresh water in the bowl. I have increased the water sources all around the block so the bees can get a drink when needed. It is so good to hear the buzz of bees everywhere I go now.

Today was a horrid day. Hot, windy and dirty just like real drought weather. Phil went over to check on his bees and received his first bee sting! He got too close and I think they were cranky with the weather haha! At least he found out that he is not allergic!

Late in the day the cool change arrived and we had one shower of rain, but nothing since. It wasn't even enough to register in the rain gauge. Hopefully we get a bit more overnight or tomorrow, as it is so dry.

See you soon,


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

saltbush, sunflowers and someone special

It has been a couple of hectic weeks, with appointments, visitors, and family matters to attend to.

One job we did get done though, was to organise and plant old man saltbush and giant sunflower seeds along the north side of the veggie patch. The tin is in direct sunlight all afternoon so it gets hot. The saltbush was a suggestion by Chris to create shade and a hedge to keep the the veggies cooler in the heat.  Such a brilliant idea if I can get it to grow. Thank you Chris.

As it turned out, Sunday week ago the Wirrabara Producers markets were on, and I was lucky enough to pick up some old man saltbush seedlings. I was so pleased!

Hubby always loves an opportunity to get his Kanga out and he willingly cleared the spot for me the next day. It is so dry and the soil is very powdery. 

I dug six holes and filled them with water twice and let it soak deep down.

Then I popped the saltbush in and watered again. I also put some giant sunflower seeds into the ground closer to the fence. Yesterday I noticed that a few have come up, so that is promising.

Before we had a chance to put a fence around, the chooks found the new spot and had scratched some of the hay away. Hopefully they haven't devoured any sunflower seeds! 

So then it was up with a fence and guards around the trees as quickly as possible. Last Thursday, the saltbush endured its first hot 41C day with wind and dirt (just what we don't need). And this week is much the same. I had to put up some shade for the young plants as the sun was fierce. Hopefully it will rain soon because the rain water I use for the veggie patch is getting really low. All the young saltbush survived their first hot day so I am hopeful.

Salt bush inside the tree guard.

Baby giant sunflower.

Last Tuesday we met up with one of my lovely blog readers. Jane, her hubby Bluey, a Cobber their gorgeous old dog, popped in on their way to the Eyre Pensinula. They are from Queensland, and are on a magical mystery tour with their caravan in tow.

Isn't blog land wonderful? I have been lucky to have met up with quite a few fellow bloggers and followers. It is a fantastic network to find like minded people, and a bonus when you get to meet.

We also caught up with another wonderful blogger yesterday, but I will tell you about that in my next post. All I will say is; hubby has something new to keep him busy as a bee!

Stay tuned.