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Thursday, 22 May 2014

We have bees!

Just as we were wondering where the bees were we got a message to say they were on the way. Very exciting. The bee man is a very gentle soul who chats away very quietly all the time. He spent a lot of time telling and showing Dave how to put the hive together, how to find the queen. How to feed, smoke and check all is well....all in Bulgarian! Luckily with all the videos and books he's read Dave managed to follow what he was telling him and got really brave with the bees. So they are installed and we (Dave) needs to feed them for five days while they settle in then the bee man is coming back to see how they are doing.

Looking for the queen

Job done

The geese have a new pool. Our neighbour gave us half a roof box and it makes a great place for a play and wash. We had looked at children's sand pits which would make a nice pool, but they are very expensive here so we waited to see what would come up. Just as they outgrew the cat litter tray this was donated. So for now they are very happy, going for a dip regularly as the temperature rises, then retiring for a rest under the tree. They are so big now, they sound like a herd of horses charging down the path with their feet slapping on the path.

And because we can't leave the chickens out, her they are destroying a branch from the apricot tree, complete with masses of green apricots and bugs.

The garden is looking very floral now. The roses are coming out all over the place, our surviving stock is out and the tobacco plants have started to break. There are loads of buds on the poppies and the Californian poppies are coming on. The geese are inclined to take a swipe at any poppy as they pass so they are looking a trifle ragged.

The warmer weather we are having now has brought the cucumber out of sulk. The last of the peppers and chillis are planted and the greenhouse can come down now. The runner beans are three feet up the poles so I am hoping they have now made enough growth to cope with the hotter weather. I have started to use the onions in earnest now and am planning on freezing some of the over wintered ones when they are ready as they do not keep a long time. The rest we will use as and when we need them and for chutneys. The garlic will be ready to lift soon leaving some space to put more beetroot and carrots in. We are continuing to pick and freeze peas and the sugar snaps have now started so they are being grabbed and eaten as we pass. I even caught Dave eating peas straight off the plant yesterday. I worry about the broad beans though. The plants are great with masses of flowers, the bees are very busy, but the beans are just not growing despite the warm, damp weather we have been having.

Unfortunately the warmer weather has brought out a pest we have been dreading, the Colorado beetle. Luckily the potatoes are flowering so even if they take hold we should still have potatoes to keep us going a while. We may put some more in later once the Colorado breeding season abates. Dave found a good home for these in the septic tank which is nearby.

We have had a few strawberries and Venka has sent some over, so I have neen freezing what we don't eat ready for jam. We also bought  kilo of fresh cherries from the market (cost about 80p) That same day our rear neighbour brought us three branches from his cherry tree. Not sure which one as he has several, including one by the bee hive which I have been coveting as it is heavy with fruit and I can't touch it! So I have started making jam. I had some raspberries I bought for trifle for Christmas in the freezer, so with the strawberries and a few sticks of rhubarb and some stewed apple from last autumn, made a delicious mixed fruit jam. It only made three jars and a bowl for tasting. I'm not a jam eater but this is great and I now have to decide if I am going to take it to the car boot sale with three jars of cherry jam or keep it for us. I have started to make some glace cherries too, that takes two weeks!
From the market

From the neighbour

Six jars of jam. Do I keep or sell?
And finally, a pic of a stork wheeling over the garden. I just hope they don't poo while they fly!


  1. It's nice to have someone who knows what he is doing to help with the bees until you get the hang of it. I usually wait until a bit late to plant my potatoes to avoid the beetles, or at least most of them. I live in the far north in the US so I am just now eating asparagus, rhubarb, and sorrel from my garden. My apple and cherry buds just started opening today. So, you are far ahead of me!

    1. Hi Cynthia. I have to admit, having grown as much as my small garden would allow for many years in the UK, things seem so advanced over here. Friends in the UK are jealous that we have so much we can feast on already. And it seems so long since the blossom started, we are already eating cherries and the apricots, plums and pears are visible from a distance.

      Next year we will be more organised for early potato planting, I didn't know what to expect this year but now I know where to get seed potatoes and will get the best we can at optimum time.