Sunday, December 30, 2012

A day of interesting things

When I let go of the starter cord for the brushcutter it slammed back into the poor little finger which has already endured so much breakage and change.  Massive pain and bruise but seemingly no other damage.

The hives have gone to "hospital".  Which is why the brushcutter was out - first chance in a couple of months to slice down the now v high weeds.  Bees don't like big buzzy things around them.

Two birds in the currant netting - despite the fort knox enclosure. How do they do it?

Farm gate has opened - three buyers in the first two hours after the sign went out on the main road. Good fun persuading people that they don't want half a kilo of blueberries, they really want at least a kilo - the minimum we prefer to sell.

Have purloined a wonky wooden table, slightly de-wonked it, and set out to paint the top with chalkboard paint. The table is to display/sell blueberry punnets and freshly baked biscuits made by the kitchen tenant.  Last time the paint was acrylic - easy to clean up and dry in no time.  Guess who didn't read the label on this can of paint - b----y stuff is NOT acrylic, messy clean up (including me) and will undoubtedly capture insects as the drying time is 4-6 hours, not the 4-6 minutes of acrylic (slight exaggeration, but you get my point).

And there are still many more working hours in the day!  What other wonderful thing/s will happen?

Friday, December 28, 2012

The annoyng and the beautiful

This morning saw me bashing around in the currant patch, encouraging blackbirds to leave - in all, seven!  They had made holes in the netting on the far side - out of sight of humans who might stop them.  The currants are fruiting beautifully - and now the blackbirds are throwing themselves at the netting in the hope that it will sag sufficiently for them to be in reach of the rich red fruit.

And before that I was watching two gorgeous Nankeen Kestrels sitting on the big orchard netting - they had their eyes on the New Holland Honeyeater living in the netting.  Unfortunately, not just one NHHE - somehow a second has got in.
(Image from

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bugs bugs and more bugs

The past week has seen thousands and thousands of flying things hanging around the chestnut trees.  They were never still enough to photograph, let alone identify.  But the chestnut catkins have started flowering and the bugs have landed.
This is one of Alex Wild's photographs of the Chauliognathus lugubris, the plague soldier beetle
Have just come across an article posted almost a year ago about these creatures - seems they've taken a very long time to get to us.  Problem now is that they are covering the flowers so much that the bees can't get a look in.
My really poor photograph - excuse = wind blowing.  The beetles are layers dense around the chestnut flowers.  Will try for more photos when the atmosphere is calm.

Alex Wild's website is a joy to behold - well worth wandering through. His photography is stunning.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Poorly bees

Seems there's not enough food around to keep our hives occupants fit and healthy.  They have succumbed to European Foulbrood and a wee bit of fasting.  The beekeeper has been over - twice today, and treated them with OTC oxytetracycline hydrochloride (a v mild antibiotic) and dropped in a couple of combs of honey to boost the waistline.  Within a couple of weeks they'll be moved to a better food source area - possibly a goat dairy. I've been promised they'll be returned - I hope so, it's fascinating learning about the life and times of a bee, from a bee (or 50,000).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Random pics from a visit to Lambley

Lambley is a nursery at Ascot - sweeping dry country plains in central Victoria.  It's the sort of place you spend your time either groaning with desire or groaning in despair that you'll never achieve anything like it.  Still a fab place to visit!  The dry garden display - where a lot of these photos were taken - is always inspiring.

 Following were taken in the propagating beds.

Tomatoes encased in wire mesh.  The mesh squares are wide enough to take a tomato-searching hand, but I'm not sure about the concept.

 This asparagus is over a metre high and the spears have a huge girth!

 Bit of a tilt going there.
Bought some very tiny versions of this.  Gorgeous to view, dangerous to touch.  Eryngium bourgatii "Oxford Blue".