Mischiefs' Folly

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mischief, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    One of my friends had their dog pinched out its kennel on their deck. She went to the pound to see if he had been handed in..... unfortunately he hadnt.
    While she was there, she saw Amy and gave her a pat.

    Apparently she passed her aggression test with flying colours and is onto the next step.(This amazed me... this is the dog that tried to pull the neighbours old dog through the fence by its snout!!!)
    I took her documentation in to show that she had been fixed and chipped a week after I surrended her cos I was told that it does help get them re-homed.( Took me that long to find them).
    My friend had a bit of a chat with the official on duty came away with a good feeling for her future.
    Does make me feel like a bit of a failure though.

    On the other hand, Jack has been so much more calmer and relaxed and has been responding very well to his own training.
    I had to buy him some tennis balls and teach him to fetch because he wasnt getting the same exercise and was starting to look a little fat.
    I did try to run around the back yard with him, but like with my old dog, I wound up getting nips on my backside because I wasnt fast enough.
    My firewood friend delivered another load of wood today and commented on what a good natured dog he was, which did make me feel better.
    I have always had One dog in the passed so,perhaps it was a mistake on my part to think that I could handle two.
    She is a pretty, very intelligent dog and very active hopefully, she will get a new home where she is the only one and has a human more suitable to her needs.

    I got the next part of the crazy paving done. This is a 4.5mx 1.3m section courtyard side of the bed where I put the trellis up that divides the parking area and the courtyard. 1.3m wide because thats how long the practise piece was. So far its looking quite good.
    I really hope my neighbour lets me have more so I can do the entire courtyard.

    And for play time, I got a couple of windchimes and put them up on each end of the trellis.
    One is just a little thing with a higher pitch(?) and the one on the far end is more mellow lower toned. Together, they sound really nice.

    The next bit of this will be the path that goes around the water tank.Once I have got this done, I can redo the step. They are just a little too wide but I didnt want to sort that out til Ihad the final height worked out.
     
    9anda1f likes this.
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,583
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C low, 35C high, 10cm rain/mo avg, clay, full sun
    peace in the house is always nice. :)
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    It has been nice, we are both definitely alot calmer. I do like that.

    The bit of paving along side the house got done. I worked out that that means I have done one third of the courtyard so far.
    I did put more of the round river stones in this one and even found a couple of flat ones to use.
    It does look really good. So far mum is the only one who has seen it and she commented on how nice it looked with them in it.
    I'm not too sure how much more I will be getting from my neighbour cos she has now decided to make a crazy paving path through her garden and so too has a friend of hers.
    On the up side, a friend of my mums has let me have some urbanite they have cluttering up their yard. I get to pick this up tomorrow.

    I think we might actually get on quite well, that old girl next door and I. I quietly watched her work away wondering what the hell SHE was doing.
    She pulled out the steps to their front deck- the one on the driveway side and re positioned it to the side door all by herself.
    I thought that was quite a clever idea on two counts.
    One, it made her front deck private in that visitors dont seem to want to access it even though it does has another set of steps further along and redirects them to the side entrance of her house.
    Two. with the side entrance, door knockers only get to see a smaller portion of her living room compared to the original layout, which bares all.

    I have started to tackle the old wash house.
    The base plate is replaced, I used a section of the bearers that I scored with the glasshouse.
    The studs that were just hanging in mid air held on only by the cladding are now all in the the right place. The originals were not directly under the bits they should have been>(tired and I cant think of the right name for them at the moment).
    All the old cladding had to come off along with the old window.
    I decided to not have any window on this side. Instead I am going to put a bigger window in the front which I happened to have in the garage. This has two casement windows that actually open. I do need to strip them back and repaint.

    So far 90% of the rear wall is done. Just a narrow section that I need to measure and cut exactly to fit. I didnt feel up to that today, so I worked on plans for another project-the porch.
    I did go off and get the timber I needed for it though.So tomorrow should see that bit done.

    To do the roof bit, I am going to have to work out how to make a cover of some sort so that I dont disturb the bees.
    I got buzzed for about 10mins when I was putting the tarpauline on just in case it rained over the weekend.
    Much to the perverse amusement of my mother.
    I was stuck on the lean-too roof that abutts the wash house because this...this LITTLE thing decided to get antsy with me.
    I couldnt jump down because of all the rubble in the way and had to sit still while this angry thing snarled nastily around me. Cowered by something a fraction of my size.

    I had to take off two bits of roofing iron off only to find.....arrrrrh! who the hell cuts corro sheets across the gullies letting water seep in.
    Now, I need to replace rotted out boards in the roof.
    I have a long tarpcovering the whole thing while I sort it all out.
    The good news is that the two long load bearing walls are perfectly okay which is amazing really when you consider that they are 80years old.

    I'm still waiting for the back door to come back from the glaziers. I popped in to see how they were getting on.
    The frame and door sill is made but they were waiting for the glass to arrive for it.
    Because it is a door and so under 2 mtrs,i t has to be safety glass.
    I dont actually mind because I am also waiting for the builder to get time to come over to install it.
    I do need to get it back at least a week before he arrives cos I have to paint it all first. I find it easier if I can paint it whenits lying flat rather than when its in place.
     
    9anda1f likes this.
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    The old wash house rear wall is finally sealed and water tight.
    With the roof I just did the end wall bit,had to replace two joists and the purlins that went across these. The corro iron I put up had to be taken off because I cut it too short and now that is sorted.
    Finally.

    The to-be back door finally came back from the glaziers. They have done a wonderful job, I didnt want to paint it but it had to be. Varnish just doesnt work for an outside door.
    The frame looks really good although the doorsill looks alittle deep to me so that may need to be trimmed to fit.
    So far its had the primer and one coat of paint on each.

    The new laundry windows have been stripped back and have the same primer and one coat of top coat so far.
    Due to expecting heavy rain, these have been put away in the store room til further notice. Now I just need to chase up my builder friend to let him know that i am ready for him to put them in after the rain stops.

    The piles of mulch are slowly shrinking.
    Today, one magically lost at least a third after numerous barrow loads got poured under fruit trees, on the vacant section of vegie bed and alongside the driveway to top up what got laid there last summer.
    I have found that couch grass is really easy to pull out when it has been smothered in woodchip, it just lifts straight out and with a little shake you have bare roots.I am not going to worry about the other areas that this is growing in now. I'm just going to mulch heavily and deal with it when it grows up through it. Hopefully this will be the same for areas that still have alot of convovulus.
    Funnily enough, I found the woodchip that was dumped in winter was easier to move than the late summer load. it is damp from the last lot of rain but still now where near as heavy as when it was fresh. and already has alot of worms in it.

    I have small piles of various types of 'urbanite' in front of the end pear tree bed and larger ones on the bed that divides the parking area from the courtyard. Even so, it still looks reasonably nice.
    My new neighbour asked me today if I still wanted more of the foot path concrete that her predecessor left her. I was quite relieved to hear that to be honest. What I do have at the moment is alot of little stuff whereas hers is quite large chunks that will do really well especially in the middle of the courtyard where the table will be. I do need this really flat and groove free so people dont get their chairs caught up on them.

    I was looking at the NZ Cabbage tree next to where I was going to put the ramp up to the back lawn....It has trunks that have started to lean down over this area meaning there is no way I can walk through here now, let alone drag a whellbarrow between the tree and the woodshed.
    However.....I found a new place for this ramp to go. I think I will be able to make this going from the courtyard up between the Feijoa tree and the geriatric Rosemary.
    At the moment its just bare soil and so is already sort of ramp like, just needs to be made alitle ore solid and maybe the grade cut back abit to make it more manageable.

    I have been spending probably way too much time sitting watching my bees.
    Sometimes just standing at the bottom of the steps next to the terrace where I can see the entrance and not be in the bees way. Its been great to see things you read about in books.
    The observtion window, Ithink it a must have, for any body who is thinking of getting a hive or two of their own.
    I do Not need to open the hive to see how far they are getting on with their comb building -this has been my main concern seeing as I did get it a little late in the season.

    I get to see things like them exchanging nectar from one to another,grooming, hanging off each other when they are apparently secreting wax and/or building the comb.

    I did mess up by not puttin two frames tightly together, but have learnt a lot from watching them build the burr comb,fill it with honey and cap it and then set about opening the cells up again,empty them and refill with pollen.

    Just by watching them, you learn so much. I have found that they are not worried at all when I sit at night with the flashlight on on my phone and shine it at the window to see what they get up to when the sun goes down.

    I have noticed things that need to be changed. For example, with a long hive, I dont need the bee space that is at the top of every frame. These would be better to be solid across the tops.
    I'm going to have a chat with my beekeeper/carpenter friend about making my own hive- it will most likely be my ideas and him making it. Hopefully we will be able to get together in the next week or two to talk about it.

    I did freak the other day when I thought I saw a hornet in the hive. It was running up and down the glass so I only saw the underneath of it-bright yellow. It wasnt a hornet but a carpenter bee. There was a hornet hanging around the front of the hive but it never managed to get in.

    Jack has learnt what bees are. Unfortunately there were some that were walking around the terrace rather trhan flying and he got stung an the foot and again when he sat on one. He doesnt like coming up here to sit with me any more.
    The day after he sat on one, he was dancing around in circles with a panicky look on his face.... because something was stuck on his tail- a cobweb.

    He does a double take at flies that land on him now, just in case they are a bee.I'm sure he will love the taste of our honey when we finally get some though.
    I have had to Properly block the terrace off now that the grapes are ripening. I caught him trying to sneak in front of the hive to get to them. Not a wise idea.
    Now, I pick the ripe ones and we share.

    The peaches ripened but were not nearly as big and juicy as last year, nor as many. they also went brown really quickly too. Its been a funny summer.
    Not enough sun at the right time, rain at the wrong time and not enough in between. Too hot but too cold at night. I had the fire one day this week cos it was so cold.
     
    9anda1f likes this.
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    The 'new' ramp works a treat. I hadnt realised how much I had put off moving the woodchip around where it was needed just becaue of those 5 steps I had to drag the wheelbarrow up.
    I just had to rake off the loose soil and mulch from where my new ramp/path needed to go, pop the old woodshed step in front of this. It was still abit high so a 4x4 in front of the step, with a 2x4 in front of that has made a huge difference.
    These dont have to stay there all the time,just when I need to get the wheelbarrow up, which will make it easier for others trying to walk up.
    When I finish paving the courtyard, this will be the next thing that gets done to make sure the soil doesnt wind up being washed down.

    I'm going to get hold of the guy I got the chip from and let him know I am just about ready for re supplying, if he happens to have any over my way.
    It will probably be a good idea to organise for a set amount, maybe 4-5 loads so he doesnt waste time turning up to find there is sitll no room for it.
    I really should have covered the paths first, this would then have saved an awful lot of work in weeding and Then when it had broken down, what was left should then have gone onto the garden beds.
    I knew this, I even read it in Linda Woodrows' book, sometimes I just shake my head at myself.

    This week I spend some time helping my mum at her place, fixing up an area alongside her garage.
    For some reason she started to get water coming in when we had a heavy downpour. She thought it needed to be re worked, so thats what we did.
    I took down a couple of retaining boards I still had and made her alittle path between the garage and the (now) garden, making sure the soil level was below the concrete slab of the garage.
    She new has a raised bed along the fenceline that is now easy to get to and look after.
    Then I went around the back of the garage for some reason and saw that she had planted a Canna lily right next to the garage which had raised the soil level to above the cladding. I think this is probably what caused the flooding and pulled it out and cleared it back to where it used to be.

    Then it was up onto the roof to check for leaks. The plastic panel that lets the light in looked scorched where the timber beams crossed it and it had split and again at the bottom in a line right across where all the nails were making a huge gap where rain would have been pouring in. This got a patch up job with gap filler while she organised for a new panel to go on.
    It hasnt really rained since then so I dont know yet if we got everything covered.

    My neighbour is ready to start working along her driveway now and needed the concrete slabs to be taken away. I thought her friend was going to take aome but she said I could have it.
    Now that the end pile of woodchip is moved, it made it easier tossing the slabs over onto my side, there were a few that had to be dealt to with my sledge hammer. Then into my trusty ol' barrow and up my driveway.
    I am allowed to grab as much as I want.

    I have made a start on the central part of the courtyard using some of the old curved pieces of old fence from my friends lot. The 1/4 rounded bits have gone in the corners and a couple of doubles of these have gone alot the lengths. I played around with the round stones and found enough to fit inside these.
    My new slabs are lined up ready to put in place.
    Guess what I will be doing next week....trying to stay ahead of her.

    I decided to feed the bees, they have been doing really well in building up there numbers, but have not been able to build much new comb.

    I made the mistake of setting this feeder up next to the hive and didnt realise that I would be feeding other peoples bees as well as my own, til I noticed late yesterday afternoon, that bees were taking off from the feeder and going in three different directions.
    Luckily, it took them all a long time to find it so it wasnt the feeding frenzy from hell.

    There is an ants nest in a hole of the concrete, under the hive. They dont seem to bother the hive but found the feeder first.
    I didnt have any cinnamon in the cupboard, but did have some mixed spice which got sprinkled around the feeder. They didnt like this at all and vacated the table it was on.

    Just on dark, I moved the feeder to outside the glasshouse and changed the robber screen around so that it left the small gap across the entrance to the hive.
    The last thing I needed was for my hive to get robbed out by stronger hives.

    Today was still quite scary, with bees flying around everywhere.
    My girls were all doing their re orientation flight due to the entrance being changed, not just the new foragers, so there was quite a cloud around the hive all day.
    Usually, the new foragers go out around 3pm and do their orientation flights. This is impressive enough but was down right scary today, there were so many of them.
    My friend came over to check things out and all was normal under the circumstances.

    For the feeder, I used Michael Bush's 5 parts sugar with 3 parts water...sort of, I changed it to 1 part cider vinegar and 2 and a bit parts water with a little more sugar.
    The idea was to add the cider vinegar to lower the ph to something closer to that of honey. When I checked it was too low and added the extra to try to raise it a bit again.
    They all seemed to love it and I hope it helps them get the comb built up.

    Jack took one look at all the goings on and decided that it was too hot to sleep outside and took himself of to the cool tiles in the bathroom for his afternoon nap.
     
    9anda1f likes this.
  6. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,583
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C low, 35C high, 10cm rain/mo avg, clay, full sun
    i've never heard of adding anything to the feed or
    there being any need to lower the pH before...
    interesting. :) i would probably watch the bees all
    the time too if i had some.

    i keep forgetting to call the neighbor and ask him
    who he's allowed to set up eight hives along our
    property line. it is blocking access for us during
    the summer and ruining our birdbath visitor
    population. i hate having to do things like this as
    it makes me look troublesome, but when something
    causes issues and we've tried "live-and-let-live" for
    a few seasons...

    we're still getting some snows and well below
    freezing temperatures here, one night last week
    was down to -14C. yet there are some flowers
    starting to poke up too.
     
  7. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    -14C......brrrr!!!
    I can still remember when we had an over night temp of that, actually it was -15C. Only one night though so no snow for us thank god!!
    I dont understand why people want to live in places like that. Then again, I'd probably be saying the same thing if you told me you had 50C on average as well. Way too hot.

    If your neighbour is blocking your access then you do have a legitimate reason to be approaching him about it and I think you should do so. I would like to think I would, I am a bit of a hermit and dont like confrontations either, but blocked access is a different story. Take a friend with you.

    With regards to the bees, I have to say this in Capital letters.........Do Not Do What I Just Did!
    I had a misunderstanding and did not realise that open air feeding was feeding outside the hive instead of in it. I thought it was that the container was open to the air.
    I am very lucky that my baby hive was not robbed out by other bees by my feeding outside.

    When i did learn this, things changed very quickly, the feeder was topped up and popped inside the hive on a metal plate.(because that was what I had to hand that seemed the safest and lightest).
    I have been checking them probably more often than they need, but at least with the window, I dont get in their way and upset them. I found that they do not seem to mind if I shine the light of my phone in the window at night and I cna clearly see that they have been doing really well at making the next lot of comb on three frames. the last two still just have the starter strip of foundation along the top.

    Another thing I noticed was that although I had for some reason not put the first two frames tightly together and they have built burr comb at the front of these, they have not built the face of the comb out fat like they did with the others. I am thinking that this is because they are still using these for their brood rather than for honey.
    When I run the backs of my fingers along the window, I can feel a slight difference in temperature where these first three combs are, Its warmer than the rest of them.
    At the moment, I have a strip of cardboard covering the window, so when I open the fold down door during the day. I can keep covered the parts I am not looking at.
    Closer to winter, I am going to put a length of polystyrene across this. Glass is a poor insulator and even with the covering door, it might be colder than the wooden walls. The extra insulation should improve that.

    I have been trawling through the back posts on the NZ bee forum again mainly on the beginners stuff. Now that I have bees, what I read makes more sense than it did before.
    More and more my opinion as to why bees seem to be having such a hard time, is being re-inforced.
    Their problem is.....us.

    Before I got the hive I had formed an opinion based on almost three years of reading and watching with the occasional hands on helping a friend with their bees.
    I decided that if I did get a hive up and running, it be along the lines of as much hands off as possible-minimal interference.
    Its only been 3 months so far, but they do seem to be doing quite well especially considering that this is supposed to be THE worst year to get started with bees (in NZ).

    I was going to not treat for varroa because I had not seen any mites when I checked them out through the window. I changed my mind when I checked out the Food Grade Mineral Oi (FGMO) treatment that my supplier recommended.
    It seemed like the least invasive method and apparently does not leave nasty chemical residue inside the hive.

    My oil and weird looking piece of equipment called a fogger arrived so I gave it a go. I think my neighbours might have noticed something odd was going on when my practise run blew an amazing amount of 'fog' over to their place.
    The bees didnt seem at all fussed when I opened up the bottom boards and let rip, filling their home up with this stuff.
    The next day I checked the freshly oil bottom tray and saw not one single mite on it. Either, I didnt do it right or there just were not any there to kill.
    I am not seeing any symptoms of viral infections and I Have been looking, so I am getting quitely confident that they will build up well enough to make it through winter and next spring.

    With the feeding, I was not going to do this but when I kept reading that NZ bees were struggling to get honey stored up,and noticed this with my bees as well, I changed my mind on that too.
    The idea behind putting the CIDER vinegar in with the sugar/water syrup is to lower the ph to that of honey and also add mineral content.

    I have off and on used a honey and cider vinegar drink as a tonic for myself ,especially in winter. So using the cider vinegar instead of just a bog standard white vinegar addressed two concerns. The bog standard white vinegar would have been cheaper and would have lowered the ph probably just as well, but would not have had the extra minerals.

    Tonight, I had my first taste of homemade miso.
    It was definitely more stronger tasting than the bought stuff, more yeasty even, but yummy. When I made it, I hadnt mashed the beans up to a paste but left them mostly whole.
    I used a tablespoon to take out a big fat glob of the stuff and stirred it through my fried oinion,garlic and ginger, warming it up then adding rice noodles and stirring it all together.
    No lumpy bits that I was expecting, it just turned to a paste and coated everything beautifully.
    I am definitely going to use this again and am going to buy my next lot of soy beansand Koji culture to make a fresh batch for next year.
    After reading that the 'Hatcho' miso was drier and more longer lasting, I made mine as dry as I could as well, so this lot should last through til the next lot is ready to use.

    On the courtyard paving.
    I have aquired another 6 feet or so of concrete slabs from my neighbours driveway garden and am slowly working my way across the middle of the courtyard.
    I did have to take out quite a few and re lay them when I realised that they were not level but on a definite slope that would have made the middle too high in comparison to the rest of it. I need this part to be fairly level and smooth to make sure there is no problem with sitting on chairs or getting up from the and chair feet catching on raised edges.
    I have done the string line thing and double measured to find the centre point where the 'umbrella' is to go.
    I am going to leave a good metre circle around this unpaved til the last minute when the post is to go in.
    So far it is looking really good.I love recycling.
    Good thing I Iove building things too I guess.
     
  8. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,839
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E Washington, USA
    Climate:
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    Damn Songbird, I thought I lived in the cold environment! Hope it warms up for you soon.

    Good to hear your miso turned out so well Mischief!
    "More and more my opinion as to why bees seem to be having such a hard time, is being re-inforced.
    Their problem is.....us." Well said.
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Hi gANDA1f,
    What I find most amazing, is that people seem to think we own bees, that they are livestock or domesticated.
    They arent, they are still wild insects, they havent been domesticated, they have been enslaved, poorly housed, inadequately fed, poisoned and genetically impoverished.

    I did join the NZ beekeepers forum, but have been going through all the old posts rather than posting up a storm.
    I could get myself into some trouble with my mouth so I'm keeping it quiet til I can show I can 'walk the walk'. (just re read that and realised it sounds like I want to be the kick ass beekeeper. I am going to have to have a good hard look in the mirror and decide just what it is I am really trying to achieve by having a hive ).
    While I have learnt an awful lot, I am constantly dismayed by the opinion that our little friends could not survive with out us.
    So called modern beekeeping methods have only been around for what, 150 years? Thats not actually a long time at all but unfortunately seems to have been long enough to bring a very valuable species to its knees.

    Last year, there was a news item about a large hive that had been found it a conifer tree,( I think). It was removed because the family were afraid of it. They had been living with it for years, yet as soon as they learnt about its existence they wanted it gone.
    The people that collected it said it was not a feral hive because they had all died out and that it was just the latest swarm that had moved in. When I saw the size of the combs, I was thinking- how in hell can you say that with huge combs like that. This idea that bees die without our help is kind of sad.
    Trotting out the party line.

    I could go on and on about this but will stop now.

    The other day I went with my mum to visit a couple of her friends who lived on a small farm just outside of town.
    They are mainly interested in native plants, revegetation and the tree crop association.
    I was interested in the native plants they had for sale in their little nursery.
    Unfortunately, I am fast running out of room for trees and do not have the room for alot of the ones they had.
    They did have Quince trees in stock so I snagged one of those.

    We spent a good four hours talking and wandering around their walk looking at the wonderful baby forest they had been planting out for the last 20 years, in gullies and along the river bank.
    They had Kahikatea trees that were producing seed and had been preparing some of these to go into the fridge over winter. I got to taste a couple of the fruits of these- they are on the end of the seed not coating them.
    Not too much to write home about other than that few Kiwis even know what the tree looks like let alone what the fruit and seeds look like.

    Amongst all the natives they had, they also had some gems I had been looking for and had given up on.
    One was the Szechuan pepper plant. Man I was almost hopping on the spot when I learnt they had these.
    I have put my order in for these and the PINK flowered tea plants. They had some small shrub with berries that tasted like lollies- ordered those too and a locally bred Korimiko tree.

    I had been hoping that they would have an idea of what I could replace the violets alongside the driveway woth, preferaby a native that is also a bee plant. They didnt have much in the way of ground covers though and none with bee friendly flowers.
    I already have a number of ferns and dont want any more.

    I am still making my way across the central part of the courtyard. So far I have almost all the section along the house side done and and not quite half along the rear, closer to the garden.
    Today, I pulled out the poles of the clothes line to make sure I had the centre point correct.
    I think I may need to trim of a foot from each pole or run the risk of having the canopy too close to the pizza oven.
    I was going to leave the centre unpaved til to was ready to put the clothes line in but, after this afternoon, I think I will put in the blocks but then temporarily fill the cracks with soil rather than mortar.
    The reason behind this it to help me make sure it is as level as I can make it right the way across the middle.

    Jack was eating grapes today, he had is forepaws up on the geriatric Rosemary's trunk so he could reach the ones higher up. Looked strange to see him doing this.
    This prostrate Rosemary is about 20 years old. Its one of the first things I planted when I moved in and has a 2-3 inch wide knarly trunk that looks more like a huge bonsai than a hanging downwards herb. I am thinking of commiting sacrilage by trimming off the front waterfall branches and leaving the taller tree like ones, just so i can have those extra couple of feet in the courtyard.
    My symetry isnt quite right at the moment.
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    My bees must be crazy.
    Its been raining all day today so I havent been able to much of anything other than the dreaded housework.
    Around lunchtime I was getting alittle stir crazy from being inside all morning, so on with the rain coat and up with the umbrella to watch the bees.
    They were flying in and out of the hive!!!
    Unlike last time, it was raining hard out And quite windy. I had to save some that had got stuck on the roof of the hive and one that had landed on my chair before I could sit down.
    Everything I have read so far says bees dont fly in the rain, but these ones obviously do.

    The other day, I took my fogger, oil and nifty little gadget for lifting the frames over to my mates place for them to check out.
    I showed them how the fogger worked and they did their two hives with it.

    I had asked them if they could help me make a prototype hive based on what I had learned so far and they were quite keen to. They have a woodworking workshop with all the fancy machinery and mill their own trees.
    One of my ideas was to have no gaps in the tops opf the frames, but with this new gadget to help pick the frames up without dropping them, that sort of becomes problematic. I wont be able to use that without those annoying gaps, so back tp the drawing board.

    I have been thinking along the lines of deeper frames than normal, tops with no gaps so they form the roof of the hive,bee-space holes drilled in the sides of the top bars to act as 'highways' for the bees to move from one frame to another and top entrances.

    One thing we have been considering is milling a tree that we know which end is up.
    Somewhere in all my reading, I came across the idea of having the sides of the hive built with the timber milled and placed the same way up that it grew, something to do with the capillaries of the tree naturally wicking moisture and air up. The only thing we would have difficulty with in this is that they didnt Cut the timber lengths but spiit them- cant remember the fancy word, but basically splitting it with the grain rather than cutting made some sort of difference to the qualities of the timber.

    Another idea I had from watching.......Grand designs of all things, was one person who seriously scorched the timber they were going to use for the cladding of their house and then waterblasted it, before it was put in place.
    Apparently, when freshly milled timber is scorched, the sugars in the timber change some how and make the timber more waterproof. I think the waterblasting bit was just to get the surplus charcoal off, but I'm not too sure on that point.
    I found the concept rather intriguing.

    Possibly, we're just going to reinvent the wheel, but who knows it might make some sort of diiference.
    I am tossing up the idea of making one out of untreated ply- cheap as chips and as something to compare with.

    I need it to stop raining.
    I am getting a bit worried that I wont be able to finish the courtyard before my winter season starts if it keeps up for too much longer. I'm still only about half way across.
     
  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,583
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C low, 35C high, 10cm rain/mo avg, clay, full sun
    re: char/fire as wood preservation method...

    there was a post on the main site about that not too long ago:

    http://permaculturenews.org/2016/12/05/shou-sugi-ban-preserve-wood-using-fire/

    very interesting. i'm not sure i'd want black siding in a hot climate, but i suppose
    you'd also have deep enough eves that perhaps it wouldn't be that major of
    an issue.

    i certainly do like the idea though as you know that char is pretty stable and will
    take a long time to degrade further.

    i know nothing about bees and wood, the only thing in what you write that
    struck me as strange was the idea of holes as highways. from what i can
    guess bees need room to work and move and air flow is critical to keeping
    the hive at the right temperature. small holes would seem to restrict move-
    ment and air flow too much. they seem to nest in nature in large enough
    hollows that they have enough room. but perhaps i am just misunderstanding
    what you mean.
     
  12. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    The reason behind making holes in the tops of the frames so that they all line up is to reduce the holes bees make in the comb to move from one to another. Sometimes you see comb that is not filled out properly and looks like it has channels. Apparently, this is because the bees walk over these areas.
    With the holes drilled at the tops or in the sides of the frames, they dont have to leave holes in the comb or walk all over it to get to the next one, or so the theory goes.

    I got a rark-up from a local beekeeper today. I had to take my ute to get a chipped windscreen fixed and my mr fix-it was a beek. When he learnt that I was not opening up my hive every two weeks at least he got a little ahem, demanding and lecture-ish, telling me I need to know whats going on in there and I need to open it up to see.

    Well, I had just made some more sugar syrup and put it in my new frame feeder rather than use my home built jobby. So when I got home, I fired up the smoker, got all my gear ready, donned on my beek jacket and opened up the hive.

    I had two reasons for going in, one was to put the feeder in and the other was to check out a comb that looked like it was about to go off on a tangent.
    I had two new toys to play with in doing this exercise. One was a proper hive tool. My XL screwdriver wasnt all that easy to use and a contraption that helps me hold onto the frames with better stability- a frame grip I guess youwould call it.
    They worked really well, although ti did take a bit to get the hang of using the hive tool.

    With the grip, once I had dislodged the frame from all the propolis and moved it along slightly, I used it to pick up the frame in the middle with one hand and lift it out. Much easier than trying to struggle to pick up each end with gloved up fingers and no bees got squished in the process.
    The wonky comb frame was starting to drift off its correct line, so with the hive tool I was able to sort of lean on it to push it back into place.

    I decided to do a check on all the other frames, taking my time to go slow and steady.
    Each side got checked to see what was going on. I didnt have the courage to brush the bees off to get a really Good look though.
    The main prupose had become 'to get used to separating the frames, lifting them, checking them and putting them back', so more for me for practise than the bees.

    I was a bit worried that they would be agitated with the roof off but the were quite calm. I had puffed in some smoke then waited for a minute then puffed in alittle bit more before I started and when they seemed to get flighty, gave them another little puff.
    I saw the queen, nice frames of capped honey and even saw some fat pearly grubs/lavae. I did see the start of a queen cup but left it there, hoping the girls were happy with their queen and that it was just a practise run.

    Putting the frames back tightly back together took some time cos I didnt want to squash any.
    The frame feeder went in easily, although it wasnt quite as wide as the frames, I had to make sure that each lug was supported properly or it would have fallen or tilted where I dont want it to go.
    I had been told to shove in a heap of fern leaves into the feder to act as ladders for the bees. Hopefully I have enough in there to stop them from drowning and not too many to stop them from accessing it.

    Putting the hive mats(internal lids) back on took more effort and I am sure I did squash some bees in the process. I didnt see them taking out any dead ones afterwards, so maybe not.
    All in all I think it went quite well.
    I timed it so I was in and out before they did their daily orientation flight when there would have been a shit load of bees flying in my face.
    I didnt get stung once.(Jack was locked inside, so he didnt either).

    Finally, I have got the main part of the courtyard paved and mortared in place. There is just the bit where the sink bench is going to go and the path next to the water tank to the steps.
    I have taken my time to make sure that this part is as level as I can make it. Its the part where people sit and have to pull chairs up to the table etc.. people who may very well be some what inebriated so it had to be safe- no drunken tripping over.

    My application for the winter season got put in yesterday and my drug test done- all good, of course. We have a late start so I have until the 15th May to get everything finished that needs to be done.
    I wont be able to get the new back door and new laundry windows put in cos I had an unexpected major business expense to pay, so these will have to get done next summer after I have earnt my next lot of projects money.

    Last week, I went over to pick up my trees from my mums mates nursery.
    I didnt estimate the number of tea camillias I needed so I am three short. No big deal, I'll just have to get them next year.
    The Quince is in position between the Feijoas but slightly behind them.
    The tea plants are now a cool to-be hedge between the lawn and rear plum tree bed with the Chilian Guavas( I thought cranberries, but no) on the path side of the same bed leaving a gap in the middle so I can access everything.

    Mum and I even managed to get That Hill of soil down from 7-8 feet high to 3-4 feet and still the raised vegie bed is not level. I thought it would have been by now.
    Not much more to go then I'll have another "done'.
     
  13. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    I finally got the central part of the courtyard finished.
    Just the end bit towards the curved steps up to the back yard to do and I can tick that bit off too.
    From then on, I will never have to mow or weed this area again, so loving that!

    I have been training the NZ Jasmine that is growing on the trellis next to the driveway, to also grow over the gate,(on the hinged side). For some reason, it insisted on growing at the top of the trellis and nowhere else. Its taken ages to get tendrils to grow long enough so I can make them go down the wires.
    I think one more season and it will be covering that half of the gate really well.
    A friend did ask if it would make the gate too heavy to move, but I dont think it will. If it does, there is a nifty invention called a jockey wheel that can be attached to the gate to help move it.
    I like the idea of nature taking over, even if I did help it along the way. It would have eventually....more green and more flowers.

    Why should gates all be bare? Why not grow something over them?


    My oldest son arrived from Oz for a visit, with his wife and beautiful children.
    I was relieved of a remote controlled hovercraft thingy and a kindle, much to my relief.
    The toy kept hitting the wall so hard and scaring the crap out of the dogs, I didnt dare play with it and the kindle just didnt do it for me. I discovered that I am too old school- I like my hard copy, commonly called books.

    I think my son liked what I have done so far, but he's so serious that its hard to tell. Good thing I like what I have done so far.
    He did say, "Why didnt you do this 20 years ago!!!!???" Funnily enough, thats exactly what I thought when I was taking pictures of it all a few days earlier.

    One of the first thing I did in the back yard when we moved in 20 years ago, was hand dig out the courtyard area=8 metres long and 6 wide. It never occurred to me to crazy pave it. I did think of the bought pavers or concreting but knew they were just way too expensive and so never did.

    My daughter in law asked where I was going to put my herb garden.
    That stopped me for a bit because I had always said "Herb Garden' and did actually have a little one.
    I dont now, I have herbs all over the place pretty much every where.
    Theres the thyme in the tub with the baby mandarin tree, the marjoram up by the columnular apples, along with the lemon verbena which I have just harvested young tips to dry for my teas.
    The pineapple sage is taking over the rest of the bed by the tools shed much to the delight of the bees who have been working them for days now.
    Next door is the sage and purple sage abit further along and round the corner is the florence fennel...........
    I have had to get another garlic chives due to being smothered by the marjoram. Somehow the 'normal' chives self sowed over by the water tank.


    This week, the two pears on one of my baby Pear trees ripened.I got the first one a few days ago and the grandkids shared the second one yesterday.
    The last of the apples in the front yard got scoffed as well. These do NOT have codling moth damage even with no trap. I am wondering why exactly that is.
    Other people appear to have alot of problems with this but none of my apple trees have any sign of it.
    Maybe its cos I have alot of Things growing wild underneath them.
    I dont know.

    The kids still love all my paths through the garden. Seems like it is just just the place to play hide n seek and chasey.
    The yellow gate was a huge hit with my youngest grandson(3). He spent ages opening it and latching it to its 'open' post, then closing it and latching it closed and to my initial shock and worry, riding the gate backwards and forwards. Good thing I got good quality hinges.
    Unfortunately, he was Really good with gates and figured out how to get the huge main gate open as well. While the road is still quite a long way down the driveway for a little chap, we had to redirect his attention elsewhere.

    I showed them where the bee hive was and explained to them why the board was across the opening to the terrace-to stop Jack from eating the grapes that were right in front of the hive.They didnt once try to go in for a close up but were content with watching it from the bottom of the steps like I usually do.
    Have to say these kids are much better behaved than I was or even their dad was at their age.

    The other day, my neighbour asked if she could come over to see how I had done the paving, so I gave her the grand tour.
    She is more of the roses and bare earth type, so I wasnt too sure how she would take my laksidaysical approach. As it turned out she quite liked it too and was intrigued by the curved steps around the water tank and the bee hive..'but not for her thank you.'

    Have to say that I am almost over paving, I cant wait for this bit to get finished. I have been at it now for months surely.
    I'm loving my 'new' courtyard, even in its unfinished state. I can see that once the trellis is covered with Its Jasmine, I will have total privacy for the first time.
    I hadnt realised that that had even been an issue for me til recently.
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,583
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C low, 35C high, 10cm rain/mo avg, clay, full sun
    nice visit! agree on the books. :)
     
  15. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,583
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C low, 35C high, 10cm rain/mo avg, clay, full sun
    yesterday when coming back from our walk we checked out
    the hives that the people put out back along our property line
    (might actually be on our property where they put them).

    i'm not sure they are hives or bases, but there are seven groups
    of eight boxes sitting stacked together. all painted red which is
    a strange color, but perhaps it is what they could get cheap to
    paint.

    all i know is that if it really is 56 bee hives back there it explains
    why the birdbaths get so busy... :)
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Songbird !!!!
    You do have to do something about that!
    Talk to the person who owns the land next to you and find out why they are so close to your property.
    Do they even know they are there or do they think that they are on your property?
    If they are on your property, find out from your local council what is the correct procedure for geting them removed.

    In NZ, the hives are supposed to labelled with the registration number of the owner. You may have a similar system over there.
    If they are causing a nuisance, you have every right to complain about them being there and they have to move them.
    Stop procrastinating!!

    My girls are still crazy in that they still fly in the rain, sometimes really heavy rain and on friday, it was almost dark yet I still saw one fly out. Hope she made it home okay.
    I found 15 stuck to the roof and thought they were dead until I saw the antennae of one move, so I ran inside and grabbed a piece of foundation to scoop them up with. I found that if i held them next to the shed wall where the sun was shining on it, they warmed up quite quickly.
    At first, I was flicking them down to the entrance (behind the robber screen), had to stop that cos more and more bees were starting to fly out and was getting worried about being stung. The last 5 warmed up and flew off the foundation of their own accord.

    I have now covered the roof with some spare windbreak. this stops them geting stuck but they can still get to the water underneath it.
    This week I have to do another check to see how empty the feeder is that I put in and to check how they are going with getting the last 2 combs built and filled with stores-either honey or sugar syrup.Depending on what I find, I'll either remove the feeder or top it up and put it back in.

    I really didnt want to feed them at all cos I think it is possible that sugar is a possible cause of problems for them,but......hopefully with the added cider vinegar and the extra minerals from that, plus the lowered ph levels it will balance things out.
    I did put some wintergreen oil in the last lot in the hopes that this Does do something to counteract the varroa mite. I have found it promising that I have been seeing dead mites on the sticky board that is under the hive.
    So far I have Not seen any signs of deformed wing virus nor the paralysis virus.
    I have noticed that the bes are getting darker as time goes by. One had such a dark bottom compared to all the others I wonder if it actually one of mine or from somewhere else.

    I have be doing some more research on the different methods people use with the horizontal hives.
    One of the books I got was written by someone in Russia. At first I didnt think it would be appropriate for my climate, but I found it really interesting to see what things were the same or different. Funnily enough they use extra deep frames in their hives as well, so my idea isnt all that original after all.
    I am defintely going to get my own built and in place before the end of next spring.

    I have been watching where the sun is in the yard during the day and which areas get windy. Over winter, I will be watching for where the frost pockets are so I will know where not to put them.

    I'm half way through getting the path to the steps around the water tank paved. Hopefully the weather will clear up so I can finish it.
    i have two more weeks before the winter season starts and I am almost on target for getting everything sorted by then so long as it doesnt rain any more.
     
  17. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,583
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
    Location:
    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    -15C low, 35C high, 10cm rain/mo avg, clay, full sun
    thanks Mischief, unfortunately, i've asked the manager here
    (Mum) because i wanted to call the guy who owns the land
    to the north of us (before they put the hives back) and tell
    him about my concerns, but she said to let it be. she's the
    boss...
     
  18. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    ohhhh, okaaayyy.
    Maybe move the birdbath closer to the hives and put some sticks in so they dont drown. That might make things easier for everybody. and
    maybe on the quiet visit the guy(?) next door for a neighbourly visit with some of the tons of tomato paste,etc... you made last summer and...........let me know what you find out will you?

    I got a fright today when I went to check my hive.
    It looked empty with only a couple of bees looking cold and sad on the ends of the frames.
    I had another lot of syrup made for the feeder and wanted to see if it was a good time to open up. I decided that even at 9.30am it was still a little cold and waited unpatiently til I could see the foragers leaving on a regular basis.
    Smoker lit and puffing I did open up to find some flying at me which I did not think was a good sign til I realised that I hadnt done the puff of smoke to warn them first.
    I took the feeder out, ran inside and filled it up, popped it in without spilling any syrup in the hive- had to mop out the hall in the house afterwards though.

    When I popped the internal covers, I found heaps of bees but on the far side of the hive away from the wimdow that I perv through.
    This is where they have the brood nest and because the nights have been so cold for the last few nights, I guess they have really packed into this area to keep the babies warm.

    I decided to put some insulation inside the roof space using some surplus "Insulwool"(Trademark) that I used to insulate the house when we first moved in. I had to wait til they had stopped for the day to put in place.
    Afterwards, I checked through the window to see how things were looking and found they were definitely more active but that there was condensation on the glass, probably due to the sugar syrup inside. As a quick fix, I folded the cardboard I use as an internal cover for the window in half again and closed it up til just before bed time....um ...6pm.(Its dark an cold and I forgot to light the fire.)
    I dont like winter.
    At least the condensation was gone.
    I'm going to check on them again tomorrow-midmorning this time, not bright 'n early.

    I got the call today. Only One more week to go now before I dont have a life for a while.
     
  19. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,839
    Likes Received:
    136
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    E Washington, USA
    Climate:
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    I'm with you on that!
     
  20. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    s/e
    Location:
    South Waikato New ZeLeand
    Climate:
    Cool mountain
    Yeah, it just came too fast this year, I havent even had time to complain about how hot it was cos it wasnt.

    As well as turning the robber screen around so the small gap is next to the entrance, I jammed the wind break I use to cover the roof into the longer gap at the top making sure I left enough room for bees to get out. I did this because I wasnt sure that my baby hive was not being robbed.
    When I looked down through the combs yesterday morning I could see empty comb where they had been filling it with nectar. I wasnt sure if they had eaten it or moved it or been robbed of it.

    This morning, I could see that the bees were looking for a way out and none were looking for a way IN, so I am more confident that they are not being robbed.
    One interesting thing i noticed when I peeked through the window, was that there were bees in the empty section trying to get out through the hole that is always closed off.
    I thought that was really odd seeing as they dont get to use this one and are hardly ever in the empty section- they can get under the follower board to it and I thought that they hadnt, but they must have to know that there had been an opening there in the past.
    This has a metal disc with various sized openings. I opened this just enough to allow one bee out at a time and watched (from a distance) to see what would happen. Heaps came out and when it looked like the traffic jam had sorted itself I went in for a closer look and found two standing guard over the hole.

    Through out the day, I moved the wind break covering the main entrance with a long pole a little more so the gap was bigger and by the afternoon everything looks like business as usual.
    I still have the cardboard over the window and have to quickly cover the empty section if I peek.
    I'll check it out again on dusk to see how things are doing but with my last check looking an feeling the glass, it feels warmer than it did yesterday.

    With the next lot of feed, I think I will make that as concentrated as I can to reduce the condensation. That should not be there and only is when I first put the feeder in.
    Tells me its too watery.
    I dont know how often I should be refilling the feeder. The idea is that they get this stuff stored away so its where they want it before the really cold weather hits. I cant feed when its really cold cos they wont be able to move over to get it.
    Well actually I have thought of a way of doing this that would probably work, but hopefully I wont have to do that.

    I should have been finishing the path to the steps around the water tank today but mum needed a hand dealing with tree branches that my landlord son cut off a tree she wanted gone. He's gone back to Brisbane and left Stuff for me to deal to with my trusty ol' chainsaw.
    I did manage to get some of my own tree cut up- the plum tree that is too close to the water tank, The last branch made me stop cos its leaning the wrong way-towards the tank. I'll leave that for another day after I have cleared away all the little stuff.
     

Share This Page