Bredbo Valley View farm - providing quality education in Permaculture and sustainable living practices.

Monday, October 18, 2010

They're back

They’re back – and everything is well in the world again. I managed to survive a couple more pig maulings, one in a most delicate place and a month of cooking for myself.

I’ve managed to procure a number bee boxes at a good price, it involved a quick trip one evening down to Bega, but now I have enough to get myself started. As you may recall, Mrs Duck had provided me with my first swarm, temporarily housed in a broccoli box. Mrs D was going to give me a hand to move the bees into their new home, but she convinced me that I’d be okay to do it myself.

I now wonder if she has ever really read my blog? Surely she knows I stagger from one disaster to another, I appreciated the confidence – but, as Mr Spock would say – ‘Logic would suggest Jim’.

Ben and I moving the bees
Not being a skilled bee keeper in any fashion I knew one thing, or maybe two. Firstly I needed a bee suite and secondly, I probably couldn’t do it on my own. So, I borrowed a couple of bee suites and recruited a trusty off sider. Ben was wrapped that I asked him, just having celebrated his 12th birthday he was pretty chuffed he was going to do something so grown up. And operating the smoker was right up his alley.

So, we donned our suites and under mother’s watchful eye made our way to the bee box. Mrs D had told me it was easy, just plonk the frames full of bees into the new box, tip the left over bees in front of the box and that’s it. So we attentively lifted the lid – expecting the bees to swarm all over us in a very angry manner. However nothing could be further from reality. The bees stayed on the frames, we placed then in the same order into the box, shook the rest of the bees out of the old box and walked away. The bees were very well behaved, no angry girls, not much smoke and no stings. Unfortunately, I only had one box ready, so I need to put foundation on some others, get a queen excluder and stick a second super on them.

What I didn’t say was when I picked up the new boxes a new swarm was busily making one of the boxes its own. These boxes had been in storage since 1992, the guy had dragged them out for me to look at in the morning and came back to find the swarm hard at work. Its not a large swarm so we’ll see how they go.

So Mrs D confidence was well founded, her gifted bees did her proud and are now busy making the cook a fine box of honey for her winter cups of tea.

What else has happened – well over 60mm of lovely rain. The river is up again and the grass everywhere is green. I’ve never seen it so green and every dam in the country between us and Canberra is over flowing, we have never experienced such a great spring. Of course, with that much rain the pig’s house got as bit flooded, but that has dried out now and everything is well.

The Cook’s garden looks a treat, her potato’s have grown six inches and strawberries are thick and flowering – luckily we have bees, and the asparagus has been glorious. She spent the whole day in the garden weeding and planting today – she’s pretty happy with her new tap as well.

Unfortunately the rain has delayed the finishing of the pig loading ramp and yards, but the rain was well worth it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bee'n Buzzy

Our new Bees in the tempary home

I've had a number of messages on the phone over the last couple of days - but none more welcoming then from the wonderful Duck Herder.  Somehow, karma had alerted her that I had managed to track down some second hand barely used bee boxes.  I don't know how she knew - but she did.  She rang me with the news that she had a swarm and I could have it if I wanted - hell yeah!

I thought there was a bee meeting on that night so I headed into town, I'd pick up the bees on the way home.  No meeting - I was a week early (I can hear the Cook sniggering from here)  Anyway Mrs D turned up at the designated spot, smoker and tape gun in hand and we rustled them all up and stuck them in the back of the truck.  I could here them buzzing about as I drove home and, to tell you the truth it was a little bit eary.  By the time I got home and puilled up at teh spot I was going to leave them in it well oast 9pm, I opened up the back door of the truck and was a little concerned by the number of bees - outside the box!  There wasn't alot I could do, I needed to get themn out of the truck so I decided I just had to suck it up and walk them over to their new home.  But luckily they were all well behaved and polite and stayed on the box for me.  It was a little bit concerning that I had to walk across the paddock in the dark carrying them.   

 I am constantly being stalked by the Bredbo Black Panther, he marches around the farm following the same track all day.  He meows at me as he goes past and will sit on the trailer whilst I do the pigs breads in the morning, happy just to watch.  He follows me everywhere in the evening so I don't forget to feed him and ends up on my lap most of the night.

We have had some new visitors the past few nights outside the kitchen window.  It's the first time we've seen possums here up close - I had seen one down the river last year but this is the first so close to the house.

I can't wait until everybody gets home, it's been three weeks and I'm ready for my own holiday now.  It takes me ages to feed up and water on my own each morning and night and add watering the garden, pumping, a few odd jobs that pop up and time really escapes from you.  I was planning on doing so much and really have managed to do so little, oh well hopefully the new loading ramp and yard will be finished before they get back. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I got an earfull

Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking, most of the times I figure that I don’t think enough, I suppose it could be laziness or just an over dose of self confidence – luckily the cook wasn’t here to hear me swear ( I think I made a pig blush!). How hard can it be to lay a couple of hundred of metres of poly pipe and fit some taps?? I think the easiest part was getting the roll of pipe off the truck by myself, chasing it down the hill and rolling it back up was a little difficult, and time consuming. I knew it had all gone wrong when I cut the ties around the roll and it exploded like an out of control slinky toy.

Anyway I managed to get it untangled and dragged out, with only a couple of kinks and one tap in a wrong spot – pretty much a success for me! I just need to wait until it rains so I can dig it into the ground (I’m sitting here laughing at myself – I think I’ve disconnected from my reality drive)

So now we have water to all the pigs paddocks and the kids won’t have to cart buckets of water to some of the pigs and the hoses run much better than before. In fact now we can water all the pigs at once and fill the feeds with water at the same time.

I tried to move the goose sitting on eggs yesterday, which ended in tears – for me. For some reason I think she was really attached to her spot, after coaxing her off the eggs with some yummy wheat, I bent over to pick up her eggs, I was trying to be really careful not to break any, I had planned to put them in the covered pen in a nice corner with some straw and other nesting material, but that was soon forgotten as she grab me by the ear and started swinging. Of course, I swore – which didn’t help, her mates all came running and soon I was on my hands and knees with a goose dragging me by the ear and five others honking and hissing all around me. I think the dogs were entertained, they watched from the safety of outside the chook pen.

Thankfully the goose let go after a few seconds (felt a lot longer), she’s still outside the covered pen and she keeps a weather eye on me whenever I go in there now.

I did a bit of shopping today, at the local rural store. I picked up some gear for a new set of pig yards, I had promised my mother I’d build them for the cook last time she was here – and now she might be coming back so I’d better get that done before she arrives (BTW Happy Birthday Mother OXO). I have a plan, I need a new loading ramp and a race, so I had a talk to the guys at the local steel yard and have all the options figured out – in other words they’ve confused the hell out of me, but I figure it can’t be that hard – right ??

So that’s tomorrows job, I need to dig about seven post holes – that’ll be fun, I love digging holes. I am also planning on having a go at shearing George. I got the shears out the other day and sharpened them up, they are an old set of hand shears, but I’ve got them nice and sharp. I took them out yesterday to see if they were sharp enough – normally I can just walk up to George and give him a pat, but he took one look at the shears and headed for the gully and blackberry bush and didn’t come out until I went back into the house. Next time I’ll take them out with me when I do the bread and have a go whilst he’s feeding his face out of one of the buckets – well that’s my plan.