Mischiefs' Folly

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

  1. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    glad the AFB check came out ok. :)

    if i started keeping bees i'd probably have to quit gardening. i'd
    neglect too many other things. i know it.

    i've been moving mulch too and more this week. we have a local
    hardwood mill that we can get loads of chips from and will be
    borrowing a truck for a few days. because of how Mom wants to
    do this round we're not just having them dumped (which is much
    easier for those hauling) in a pile. that will be the next round.
    there's always plenty of places i can use woodchips.

    my quick project for September turned into three projects and so it
    goes on. i've already filled in the center and am no working around
    the edges, but to do that means hauling dirt out and moving humus
    in (much better for strawberries) and having a place to haul to means
    i'm moving rocks and mulch so i can raise an area up. i'm hoping i
    can get this done this week. lol

    bean harvest is mostly done, maybe 1/3rd the crop of normal. some
    new varieties and fun to be had in that i've found some more people
    to share bean varieties with for not much $. plus i'm trying to get
    some varieties from the researchers who have developed some. no
    luck with that yet.

    still very busy times here for a few more weeks/months (until the
    ground freezes).
     
  2. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yes.... I spend way to much time watching them.
    hehe, I have had to tell my firewood mate to please not deliver my wood cos I have no room for it to fit....3 mountains of woodhip to move first.
    Thats what I did today.
    Scrape off the mulch from the paths around the watertank onto the garden and replace it with fresh chip.
    The baby tea plants and the Chilean guveas got replanted back into their bed, the front of the house where I still ahve a lawn, got mowed....and that was my day.

    If the weather is good tommorrow, I might be able to finish my friends tunnel house, but I have to have a rain and wind free day for this next bit.
    If it's drizzly, I am back on sorting the paths out. For me, at this time of the year, that is going to be a major bonus. Weed free paths and it get better each time.

    1/3rd your noraml crop does not sound good. I am assuming this is due to weird weather?
     
  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    yes, weather, bouts of very hot weather and some very strong
    storms causing a lot of pods to abort filling and a lot of flowers
    not pollinated because of heat, drought the last half of the
    summer. i watered but they never do as well off well water as
    they do with rains. it has been raining last night and today for
    a change. so i get to putter around indoors (sorting beans and
    nap sounds good) :)

    i've not weighed them yet (some have to dry), but i think i may be
    lucky to top 10-15 kilos this season. for the area i have planted
    that's not a great harvest. i also need to find some innoculant. it
    looks like the beans don't have the bacteria they need to form the
    nitrogen fixing nodules. the soybeans around here always have
    them so i figured the soil was good enough for the beans too, but
    now in looking closer i'm not seeing what i expect. a boost of
    innoculant would be a good thing for next season to see how much
    that helps.

    made good progress yesterday on the projects, but need two or
    three more days like it. never really done, just move on to the
    next project on the list. it keeps me moving. :)

    lima beans are flowering and putting on new pods, but i dunno if
    we'll have enough warmth to finish them. i'll watch for frosts and
    get out and pick if we are due. they are good picked green too...
    the rest of the beans i've picked through enough that most are in
    except for any that are coming around again in this cooler and
    wetter weather.
     
  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    haha, 15 kgs of beans would be my years supply.
    I'm surprised that with all the beans you grow, you still need to think about innoculants.
    ahhh I love Lima beans. I'm going to give them another go this year, hopefully they will get a long enough summer to fill out.

    I swear to god, never again will I build a tunnel house for somebody else or myself for that matter. My own greenhouse/no-glass house may have taken longer but I didnt get bruised thumbs from putting in all those locking pins in place and I still have to do the last end wall and put the door on, then.....I think I said before, I need to learn to say no.
     
  5. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    the soil here lacks those bacteria needed. has plenty for the soybean
    strains that are grown all around, but not the rest. since i'm hoping
    to grow some beans for others next year i'll look into it more
    seriously.

    make that even less of a harvest of beans. just not much came
    through. i have a late crop of lima beans that might do something
    more but the light and heat are fading and that makes getting
    them finished a challenge. no frost in the forecast for another week
    at least, but some cooler nights are going to get down there.

    still working on my first strawberry patch and hope to finally be
    done digging tomorrow before rains come if the forecast is right.
    slowed down this week by being sick, but that to shall pass... :)

    hope you are well? going to post a few pics in my systems thread.
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I didnt realise how long I have been off line.

    I finally did get the tunnel house built with help form some friends. There was no way I was ever going to get the plastic roof on by myself.
    Our friend is thrilled with it and the raised beds inside and has made a start on growing his own herbs and vegies.
    I suggested that he might like to take advantage of the space between the garage and the tunnel house to have even more grow room for his potatoes and kumara (sweet potato) and after thinking about it for a bit, has decided that this might be a good idea. I'm sure the lawnmowing person will like this too seeing as there will be even less lawn to mow.
    So far the plan is to lay weedmat over the whole area, have his potting bench along the garage wall and tubs along the tunnel house with a trellis at the far end so he can grow climbing beans. This will also stop his dogs from running through here, ruining the weedmat.

    At my place.
    All the old mulch has been scrapped off all the paths and used to top up the beds and the fresh mulch laid down quite thickly.
    When I had really big tree cut down, I also got the two non producing feijoas cut out as well. The area along the hedge whjere this big tree was has now been thickly mulched and the bed edged with the cut up trunk of the tree.

    The fence along the back boundary was not done to specification- it was supposed to be 2 metres high with retaining wall along the bottom of the whole thing and not sloped, but stepped down.......
    It is a very nice looking fence, but....

    So, I finally made a start putting retaining board between the posts after scraping the soil away from the bottom of the palings to stop them from rotting out.
    The retaining board is an effort to stop weeds from coming through the fence from the neighbours place. Halfway done on this.

    I have been having a lot of fun swapping seeds and plants with my friend that I gave some glasshouse framing to. Thankfully, their situation has resolved itself so we are back in business with the her glasshouse.
    I didnt organise the right pieces for this, so we now have to go through and find all the right bits so she can build her masterpiece.
    She loves my place cos its so "garden of Eden'-wild and over grown with lots of flowers and plants tucked into each other.
    She doesnt really like the fence cos its "Too flash" but calmed down when I told her I was going to do what I did with the other fence and paint the posts and railings then staple on trellising and grow STUFF all over it and in front of it.

    The bees are still alive, but I did wind up treating with an organic mite treatment.
    I have been reading up on peoples' blogs who have managed to go treatment free in an effort to find out how I can too.
    I have been slowly putting in small cell plastic frames to get them to downsize the offspring as this is supposed to help.

    I have til the end of December to harvest any honey comb if I want to and do have my eye on a couple. I think I wiil put them in the freezer just in case they need these later in autumn or winter.
    The reason for the time frame, is that there is a New Zealand native plant that another insect makes honey dew from that is attractive to the honey bee. This plant and its honey dew is high toxic to people and the 31st of dec is the cut of time for harvest to make sure this honey dew is Not in the comb so people dont get to eat it.
    Its called Tutu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tutu_(plant).
     
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  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i'd never heard of such a plant before. interesting! i did some reading on
    natural bee keeping years ago and have forgotten most of it i'm sure. i
    read quite a bit... bits and peices stick, exactly where i'm not always
    able to know... :)

    was reading just a few minute ago about the hopes to eventually get rid
    of the rats/possums/stoats in NZ by 2050. quite the ambitious project
    and i hope they can do it. needs quite a plan, but is possible if enough
    people will help out and be involved.

    glad to hear the glass house and rest of the projects are sorted out or
    coming along. seed trading and garden talking are two of my fun times.
    sadly i've hardly had any chances this year to do much of it. next year
    i should be doing more of it.

    i really wish we didn't have so much crushed limestone paths and such
    and had woodchips instead. it takes a lot of work to redo a crushed
    limestone path in comparison to what can be done with a woodchip
    one. the limestone has to be taken up and rinsed before being reused.
    the woodchips can either be topped up and left alone for a few more
    years or the top can be scraped aside and all that humus can be used
    in the gardens. so much lighter to move! and a bit easier on the feet... :)

    ok, cheers and such, chaos is just mother nature shaking her hair out
    a bit.
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, the gvt's idea of possum control is to spread 1080 all through the native forests. This stuff kills everything. I had a long talk with someone who used to live in the South Island and who used to spend alot of time in the native forests. He said that the only thing this stuff didnt kill was the native bush robins. He also said that it dissolved and got into the streams killing the native fresh water crays.
    I ant see this ending well.

    I guess you are having to rinse the limestone to get the algae off so it doesnt look green?
    The woodchip is not sawdust but munched up trees. While it will be nice to walk on when it has softened and started to decompose, it is hard to walk on at the moment.

    I managed to get another heap of cardboard to lay in front of the fence where I have fixed the bottom of it. This was enough to go half way along the fence. I might be able to get some more next week.
    Meanwhile, wheelbarrow load after wheel barrow load of beloved woodchip has dutifully been hauled up the steps to cover this. I now have only one little mountain to move.

    I had to go into the hive again this week. I had noticed on the previous time that the whole hive was almost full of nectar and only one comb was empty of the stuff. I couldnt see if it had eggs or not but I assumed that it did seeing as it was the only one that did not have either capped brood or honey on it.
    I had moved some of the combs further apart in the hopes that they would start fattening up those combs and move the open nectar to these ones. That worked, they did leaving combs free for the Queen to start laying in again.
    However, on a couple of frames, I noticed that they had started to make fresh comb on the edges. I have already learnt not to let this go too far so this week I had to go in and knock these off and move the frames a little closer. I had put three fresh combs in inbetween some small cell frames. These had not been worked on so I took them out again......
    The reason behind moving them apart to get the bees to make them fatter is because it is easier for them to fatten the comb(make them wider), than it is for them to build fresh comb.
    When they do this, they then want to fill them with honey, so they move what is in the other combs to there.

    One of the things I had vowed, was that I would not interfere with them, but I have since discovered that I am not very good at that yet and every time I do interfere, I usually need to fix up something that I could have done better.
    I need to go in again because I need to turn some of these combs around because they are getting fat on just one side and need to be balanced up-or I think they need to be.

    I was going to do another treatment to make sure the mite levels were as low as I could get them but decided not to do that when I saw that they had made some supercedure cells.
    The treatment I was using is really stinky and may have interfered with the Queen scent. I am hoping that they will realise that they do have a good Queen and not replace her with a new one. If they do, however, it is a good time of year to do so.
    So in someways things should turn out alright.

    I had to go down to the local glass repair shop to book my Ute in for a chipped windscreen- he's a beek too.
    He was surprised that the hive was still alive and said that most new beeks lose their first hive in the first year. I told him that they probably didnt spend spend a couple of years studying up on bees before they got their hives. He agreed with that.
    We spent more time talking bees than my windscreen and I think he was quite surprised that I knew about fattening up the honey combs so they would free up places for the Queen to lay in.

    The turnips and black radish that I had sown as bee friendly flowering plants have finally finished and are in full seed now. I was going to start pulling them out til I noticed that the small birds were now visiting to eat the seeds so I have left them there while I get onto other things.

    Actually, there is still one spot that is in full flower and it just happens to be where i want to do the ramp up to the back yard. I am hoping that this finishes flowering when I have finished working on the back fence line.
    I know my neighbour has been looking at all the concrete rubble she gave me that is still sitting on my side of the fence.
    This is the next major thing to get started on before Christmas.

    I had a lot of mustard lettuce growing as well and only a few actually mustard plants.(I accidentally mulched the areas I had sown most of the mustard.
    I have been tasting the seed of each in the hopes that the mustard lettuce was the same or similar to the mustard. Unfortunately, to me, the mustard lettuce tastes more bitter.
    I need mustard seed cos I am out of it but I dont think the mustard lettuce is going to work for me in the kitchen. I will harvest some to see anyway.
     
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  9. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    rinsing the limestone to get the dirt off it... once i screen it
    there's still often dirt still sticking to it (clay here in most
    gardens). some of the limestone will have algae on it but that
    is only where it has been off in a garden someplace for a
    while. normally it's sun bleached... after several years it will
    get darker from whatever is in the rain if it doesn't get disturbed.

    if enough dirt gets in there it will start growing mosses, but i try
    to keep it up better than that. :)

    everything here is under a few inches of snow now. winter has
    come on colder earlier than the past few years. all good for me.
    i was ready for a break.
     
  10. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I think I just either ran out of words this year or ran out of steam. Got put out of action after being bitten breaking up a dog fight by myself at a friends place that I was house sitting didnt help- I probably wont be asked to house sit for them ever again either, but ne'mind.

    I have been spending probably too much time contemplating what it is exactly that I am trying to achieve.
    Permaculture is supposedly- growing food where the people are, only trouble I am having with that at the moment is that I see every other lifeform in my immediate area is in serious need of feeding too, so...... does Permaculture in its current form go far enough?
    I cant help thinking that it does not.

    A while ago, I suggested that we needed to revisit the basics with a more up to date awareness of how things stand today. I do still think that.
    Unfortunately, I didnt have the head space to even begin to formulate anything sensible, maybe I can come up with something even if just for myself of this next winter.

    My bee hive is doing well, I took 7 frames of honey comb from them. Some of these were seriously fat comb, meaning, they were two to three times the width of a frame.
    I had noticed in one inspection, that there was nowhere for the Queen to lay, so what I did was move the existing frames of honey further apart on the understanding that it is easier for the bees to fatten a comb than it is for them to build a new one from scratch.

    I also managed to find a source of plastic small cell frames- hideously expensive shipping from the States, but I felt they were worth it. Some of these were put into the hive around mid summer, which was probably a bit too late really to do much good. Better late than never.
    I have read all Michael Bush's books and Dee Lusby's writings and decided that I needed to get them regressed to small cell size in an effort to help deal with the Varroa mite.
    I do not think we can say that any life form that MUST be treated with chemicals JUST to stay alive......is healthy.
    Yet the general consensus states "You must treat, or lose your bees".
    Something is horribly wrong.
     
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  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    oh my! i'm glad you survived! i'd be depressed and in shock too for a while.

    i am very discouraged too by all the use of poisons. especially when i keep growing
    things without them that do fine. i keep encouraging people to use natural methods
    any chance i get and hope that eventually i can help protect an area larger than this
    little plot of land in the middle of sprayed farm fields. i'm always thinking longer term
    like when we start venturing out into space, how we'll grow things (or not), what life
    will be taken along, etc.

    it is too bad there are not some cleaner animals for bees like they have on the reefs
    (cleaner shrimps and fishes) which will pick off the parasites. but i also think that the
    policy of requiring sprays means that they are eventually breeding resistant bugs
    instead of breeding resistant bees. i've not studied the small cell topic enough to know
    what that accomplishes...

    it just happened the other day that i finally talked to the beekeeper who's been placing
    hives near our property. within a few minutes of talking to him had the neighbor come
    over for a conversation and we reviewed the property line and i explained what my
    issues were. i do need access through that area to our back part of the lot and such.
    so we'll see how it goes this year, if i can get back there or not. been just a bit too
    cold for me to do that so far. had hopes for getting back there yesterday but i wimped
    out.

    hang in there mischief. :) rest up. enjoy the change in routine. we have flowers and
    warmth coming and that is welcome...
     
  12. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I am glad you managed to talk to the beek and your neighbour. I'm sure they will help deal with the issues you have had quite reasonably.

    Yesterday, I visited a friend who told me about a flavour enhancer that is put in quite alot of foods and drinks called Senomyx= aborted fetuses. i didnt believe them, no way would anyone put this in something that somebody would consume-yuk! Gross! But apparently, its true.
    Its put me off eating anything bought, how do I know whats in it? I dont want to eat things like this.
    I thought it was bad enough having chemical ferts and pesticides in my food, but this goes beyond insane.

    I am even more intent on trying to grow as much of my own food as possible.
    I almost have my fruit sorted, now I need to get my act together again with the vegies and perhaps some more hens. I think Jack will be old enough to 'de-chook'.
    I have a phrase I use to let him know that he is not to touch this-"WHAT is THAT!"
    Might seem mean, but now,he will only eat what I give him and then, only when I tell him-'okay'.
    I even tested this by putting some meat in the back of my ute, with him, going into another shop and leaving him with it for 15 minutes. When I got back, it was till there.

    I went into the hive again for the first time in ages. There were frames I just knew had been put in when they shouldnt have been. I was right. Three small cell frames did not have any comb built up on them, so they came out and the two empty wooden frames that were on the end came out as well so I could close the hive smaller.
    To say they were a bit hissy would be an under statement. I only got one sting though.For anyone looking at getting bees- make sure you have at minimum a veiled jacket and nitrile gloves and a smoker.
    Yes, a small hive is usually very quite, but as it grows bigger, it does get more defensive. I always put Jack inside when I open the hive, just in case it gets really shitty with me and chases me as has happened to others. He sees me put on my bee jacket and usually puts himself inside now. the last thing I want to deal with is a dog who has been severally stung.

    The idea behind the small cell frames, is that it is thought that the generally considered 'normal' sized comb, was at some point, enlarged, meaning the worker bees are bigger than they should be.
    By giving them a smaller sized foundation to work from, it is hoped that this would help them deal with the varroa mite.
    There are a number of people who say that they do NOT have a problem with Varroa such as Dee Lusby, Michael Bush, Dennis Murrell. There are others, whose names I cant recall at the moment. The reasoning behind small cell is better worded on sites like Michael and Dee's than I can explain.

    These people give me hope. If I can emulate their actions, maybe I can have more healthy bees too. Until then, I am using soft treatments such as Food Grade Mineral Oil (FGMO) with Wintergreen oil added and Apilife Var- another essential oil treatment. So far, so good.
     
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  13. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    It seems to me that "hygienic behavior" selection may be the best long-term strategy: https://beeinformed.org/2011/07/25/hygienic-behavior/
    I have not yet found any indication that this hygienic behavior is/was present in the original (Asian) bee populations where the Varroa destructor mite originated, but that may be the case (further reading on my part will be required!).
     
  14. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    It would be nice if there were such a thing in NZ, but this appears to be a treatment encouraged zone.
    I'm sure there are people out there who are trying other methods, but they seem to be keeping a low profile. The only one I know of on the NZbeeks forum gets bashed, as do I.

    Having said that, I have watched through the window of the hive and seen bees grooming each other, so maybe there is hope for me in this respect.

    They are going into winter with minimal treatments and all organic ones so far.
    I may have taken just a tad too many frames of honey off and may need to feed, but I will know better in a couple of weeks.
     
  15. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i did read up on the kidney cell lines issue. yeah, i would not want that in my foods. we also try to grow as much as we can here and i don't like much packaged foods anyways so that is easy enough to avoid for us. i think it is the snack makers and those who make the pre-made frozen dinners who use all those added flavorings to get people addicted to their products. as Mom does not do well with pepper we rarely buy premade anything because almost all of them have pepper added. i am so used to things without added salt too so that is another thing we notice if we eat at other places. things are just too salty.

    good to hear about the bees. :) i hope they make it through the winter ok. :) so far i have not seen too much action out back for the beekeeper and the putting down of bases and hives. we are just now starting to see some of the spring flowers but it is still a ways from easy nectar.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Last week I remembered that I had a baby chestnut tree and went to see if there were any nuts under it.
    Yep!! I harvested almost three kilos in the shell and decided to do something I had read about ages ago-dry them and make a flour from them.
    I put a high trivet on top of my woodburner and popped the steamer part of a pot with the the nuts in this with the damper on so it was a really low heat. In the morning I weighed them again an found they had lost 1/2 kilo. Off and on they went depending on whether the woodburner was running hot or warm. Today, I checked a couple that felt like they were done and found that although they felt dry and hard, they middles were still soft.
    I found a lot of really interesting information mainly from Italy on this sort of treatment.
    I thought they were so close to being ready, that I have them sitting on the water pipes to the hot water cylinder rather than on the burner itself.
    So far, the most interesting recipes for using these I found in Korean and Chinese foodie sites and am looking forward to when I can actually grind them into flour and make things like chestnut cookies and sweet pasta/noodles.

    On Monday, I went fishing with a friend.
    We havent been fishing since just before Christmas and were hanging out for really fresh fish.
    It was our lucky day because there were two gentlemen who were very helpful in pointing out how we could do things better. End result was- spending 2 1/2 hours watching the sun play on the waves, catching abolutely nothing, to catching 9 fish in the next two hours.
    We were ecstatic!
    The fish we were catching are called Kahawai and are apparently 'running' now for the next month. We are going to try to get out each week so we can stock our freezers up for the winter.

    During our 2 1/2 hours of no catch, I wandered off down the beach. I could see what I hoped was a nice type of seaweed to dry and powder up for a seaweed 'salt'.
    I didnt skip for joy cos people were watching, but nonchalantly washed my catch and hung it over the rails to dry it out.
    Apparently, one of the locals asked my friend what I was going to do with 'all that'. She told them I was going to eat it.
    She said they gave her a long look and said "She's not well" (crazy). hehe.

    I did have to wash it again when I got it home cos it still had too much sand on it and is now hanging in a nice cool breezy spot to dry again.
    I couldnt find my book to check that it is the one I thought I was but, it doesnt really matter. Its a brown soft leaf seaweed so it should dry and powder up okay. And, there isnt any type of seaweed that is not edible, some just taste much better than others and some have such a terrible texture nobody wants them.
    Mine is all good.

    So far, I have made a raw fish salad- bite sized pieces marinated in lemon juice til white and soft, then the excess juice is squeezed off and coconut cream is poured all over with finely sliced onion and chunky tomatoes. That was dinner for one day and lunch the next.
    The next two got salted and hot smoked. One has gone off to a friend and the other has been a wonderful dinner, with lots left over for lunch tomorrow.
    two of the heads are in a stock pot having been boiled for 15 minutes and now on top of the wood burner, on low to slowly leach out all those lovely flavours and gelatin to make a stock to die for.
    I have a recipe for a Greek dish called Avegolemono-lemon chicken soup. One day, a number of years ago, I felt like this but had left over fish stock,not chicken stock, so I used that instead of chicken stock....I still like the chicken soup but this fish one, done when the stock has been made on a long slow method is unforgettable.
    You read about how fish stock should only be cooked for something like half an hour otherwise it turns bitter. That doesnt happen when its very very slowly done all night.

    In the past, I have struggled with doing the cold smoking technique. I love cold smoked fish but.....I always had a problem making sure the embers didnt go out and that there was enough wood chip to give enough smoke.
    Last year I was encouraged to get a hot smoker but others used it for me(and themselves) til now. So here I sit with a fat tummy, too full to even think about what I am going to do with the next one.

    This week, I also remembered that I had a 'Hatcho' style miso, slowly fermenting in the store room and thought it would be a good idea to check it out and maybe move it to a smaller crock so I can start off the next one in the big crock. Its still a little salty to taste, but almost ready to start using. Actually, it could do with a few more months brewing away.
    A friend was visiting today when I was transferring it to the smaller crock. She thought is was very nice and likened it to a good feta.
    I had been worried that it might not have worked out cos the outside of the crock was totally covered in a soft brown spore, but apparently, thats normal.

    I had decided on the 'Hatcho' style because it is a saltier less watery method that will last for a very long time even at room temperatures when properly fermented.
    Seeing as there is just me and the odd friend who invites themselves for dinner,poor thing, I needed something that was not going to go off like the huge tub of sauerkraut I once made.

    I was hoping to have found the tempeh culture, but when the package arrived, it had been pasteurized, meaning any beneficial cultures had been cooked dead and couldnt be used to innoculate anything else.
     
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  17. antonius

    antonius Member

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    I enrolled into a basic start out bee keeping course last year--not a good experience for me as it was all about pure exploitation for maximum honey production and the intensive management of the bees for this , using any chemical treatments or medications to aid this as well , i also found out that you are more or less forced to register your hives and submit to a reporting in of diseases and inspections, with a compulsory use of medication and if that fails --burning the hive and stock. There was no support shown for a more natural form of hive keeping and i got the message that anything outside of their form of rules ,even down to the hive type and size was not encouraged by them. Since then i have been trying to make contact with some alternative bee keepers --its almost like an underground movement --the resistance of sorts --but they are increasing in numbers , and i have sourced a breeder of our black bee type , sadly most of our irish native bee stock was decimated and new stock had to be sourced from netherlands , this has been bred back into a few wild survior hives since discovered and the breeder has selectively bred out the any hybrid looking bees ---those with an obvious honey bee yellow or banding in them.
     
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  18. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    It is similar here but much better than it was.
    We are legally required to register our hives too and must submit a yearly report on the results of an AFB check. This has to be done by someone who has sat a course and has their 'DECA' cert.
    I dont and wont do my own check for a while. I would rather someone with more experience do it. I got quite a bit of stick on the nz beeks forum for this.
    I have to say that I was really shocked by the negative attitudes of some people when they learned that I have a non standard hive and dont want to treat with nasty chemicals,they seemed to think that I am deliberately negligent and a hazard to responsible beekeepers.
    Now they are talking about Bavarol not working properly. I shake my head. You use the same things by the calendar every year and now wonder why you have a problem. Dumb.

    Antonius, I gather that you are in Ireland. You could check out the biobees forum. This is a UK site, I havent been there for a while but I am sure they will have members nearby. There is probably an Irish forum as well you could lurk on for a while.
    I hope you can find someone/s who are specifically homing your native species to work with. In New Zealand, ours are not usable as honey producers and so and suffering from serious habitat loss. People either do not know we have native bees or dont really care.

    There is a lot of info on the net. I pretty much read my way through the back posts, starting from the earliest, moving forward on a the Biobees, Beesource and NZbeeks. I wanted to learn what people were doing, how and why. What problems they ran into and how they resolved them.
    After three years, I realised that I was in danger of becoming an armchair beek! Time to get a hive and let the bees teach me.
    So far so good, but the next 18 months will be the real test.
     
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  19. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    it sounds so nice to be able to go fishing with a good friend. and catch some good food too!

    it is still too cold here for much outside but i do have some early flower pictures put up on
    the website. sorry a bit too hectic for me at the moment to link them...

    ice/rain/snow, nothing much able to do outside other than keep the groundhogs from
    reopening their summer den nearer the gardens. it's been fun enough. :) flowers about a month late.
     
  20. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I decided not to do my usual winter season work, I almost gave in when my supervisor rang me up to talk me into it....I got the fishing bug real bad and have even got quite good at it, so we are going at least once a week.
    I have a nice big bucket with a lid that gets all the yukky bits to ferment down for next years liquid garden fert.
    It now has a whole heap of Sea Kidney Sponges in it. We thought we had hit the jackpot and had found Ambergris but no, oh well, more fert for the garden.

    I was quite shocked by how much junk gets washed up on the beach and how many fish hooks etc I find lying around, so the first thing we do now after throwing out our line, is to go around and seek out all the fish hooks and bit of fishing line. The line gets popped in the bin and the hooks, of course, go into the tackle box.
    We take turns walking down the beach picking stuff up and binning it.
    I hate the thought that kids might get hurt by the broken glass and birds are at risk from getting tangled in the line.
    An elderly man is often there too doing pretty much the same thing, especially the glass. My mate really doesnt like all the plastic that washes up, so she concentrates on that.
    It all goes a little way to putting back into nature and making this area a safer place for everything/one.

    In the garden, things have slowed down.
    The Sorghum I thought I had sown turned out to be a type of millet. I hadnt realised I had got them mixed up til I came across a picture of my plant- Its the Proso millet and looks nothing like the bird seed type.
    Now I need to find the sorghum seed again. Not too sure how I managed that and am annoyed about it.
    I started off with only six seeds after I hadnt stored them properly and the seeds got eaten by some nasty rodent- all but six of them. So now I again have a decent amount to grow next year.
    I do get tired of not getting things right, but at least this one got fixed for next year, seed wise. At the moment, I am using recycled glass jars to store things like this in. I keep them on the bench for a week or so to make sure they are properly dried and dont go moldy.

    One thing that I realised when I was threshing out my small harvest, is just how more patient people must have been...(are) when this is what they had/have to do to ensure they have food to eat. Its quite humbling comparing this sort of thing to our modern world where everything is just a quick dash to the supermarket and ...voila la, there it is.
    Same thing when I was cleaning up my very little black bean harvest- especially when I think of the haul songbird deals with.

    Umm, I think I am having some sort of mid something crisis, another good fish day should help sort that out along with getting myself properly organised for next year so I get things sown at the right time, harvested in a timely fashioned and properly stored.
    I'm finding it hard to do things like trying to get to the point where I'm growing all my own food, by myself and work, and .....all the other things we are expected to do or expect of ourselves. The permie principle of small and slow solutions comes to mind.
    Taking on too much or too many things leaves you running around in circles, which I seem to have got very good at too. Perhaps the problem is that at this point in time, it is Not possible to do this and I need to concentrate on what Is possible.

    I think this may be a problem that others have run into as well. We tend to try to be islands working towards our own goals, trying to do it all, without realising that you have to get the steps right or you fall over...or be part of a team working towards the same goals.
    Over winter, when there is no point in running around like an idiot, I intend to sit down and have a really good heart to heart with myself and work out exactly what I do need and want to get done and how I'm going to organise myself.

    On the up side, The bee hive is doing really well and looking good for going into winter. I did have a nasty surprise when I opened it up last month- they were so angry that I got quite scared.
    Last week, I had to go in again and was dreading it, but it had to be done. They were back to their normal calm self again. The difference was amazing.

    What I think happened, was that they had superceded the Queen.
    I had seen what I thought was a virgin Queen sitting sunning herself on top of the robber screen. I noted on the calendar not to go in for a month.
    The problem in doing that is that she may not have been on her mating flight at that point, so when I went in time before last, she hadnt started laying yet, which would have made the bees anxious.
    They had gone from nice and calm to total bitches and the last time I went in, back to nice and calm again.

    I also got myself a different type of bee jacket, which is a lot lighter so I dont over heat when I am working with the hive- that was a problem as well- I've had to run inside and madly strip it off and throw water over myself to cool down.

    The Feijoas are huge this year and heaps of them, I have started bottling them rather than just giving them away.
    The Persimmons are also now ready to eat. These must be my all time favourites.
    I do need to cut them from the tree before they are ready because the birds eat bits of them before starting on the next one. Not fair, they are supposed to stay with the ones at the very top of the tree. I dont actually mind sharing with them cos there are heaps to go around.

    I have just got a culture for a sour dough starter and am looking forward to making my own bread again. This time, I am going to make just enough for me to eat rather than the big loaves I used to make to feed a whole family- they all left home and are feeding themselves now.

    The new lot of miso is looking good, the first one I made is still looking good. I am not touching it yet- well, I did have the odd taste every now and then, but it is supposed to be left for another few months to fully mature. There is alot of it, so I need it fully mature before I break it open to make sure it stays good.
    I think I've got this one right.
     
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