We had a visit from the bee man and it seems everything is good. He seems quite impressed actually, and will be back (sometime) to set up the honey collecting super. Not sure but I think the frames he left will be going in the top box.
The bees are being very busy in the garden, along with other bees like bumbles and black bees, huge shiny, noisy and impressive. They all like the poppies. Everyone you speak to are agreeing that the bitey insects are a lot worse this year than last, probably due to the warm and damp weather we have had, preceded by a dry, mild winter. The best thing we have found to calm the itching is germolene, but we can't get it here so have had to ask for what the locals use, and have been given a different bottle of liquid in each pharmacy. They all help to an extent, but things would be better if we remembered to spray ourselves before venturing out. Not failsafe but might help a bit. Ah well, the British love a good moan!
|Black bee, bumble bee and honey bee|
|The 'cottage garden' borders are coming along, but better photos will have to be taken|
|Bug on fennel flower head|
As well as bugs we have had a couple of little toads in the garden. I know toads can be, shall we say, the less glamorous of amphibians, but these two were super cute. Lucky the snake didn't get them as they were right by it's wall. they have been relocated to the big wall at the front as we needed to move the brolly stand they were hiding under.
|Just look at that cute face|
In the garden the broad beans are coming to an end, just in time for the rest of the beans to start producing. We have had some borlotti beans as a change from broad beans and they are very similar to runners. We are going to leave most of them to grow beans for freezing and drying as we have all the runners and French beans. The French beans are forming well and about three inches long so they will be ready soon. I had this climbing variety in the UK and in a wet summer they did extremely well, who knows what will happen in BG, but if they do well I aim to let some go to seed for drying too. If all the beans do well I am in trouble! There are far too many plants.
|Veg is collected in a crate now|
|Bella aka 'Brutus' has been put in charge of guarding the kale after a kidnap threat!|
We have had our first cucumbers and tomatoes. The cucmber plants still look rather unhealthy with many small fruits rotting, so we are feeding them well to see if they will recover, same with the tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes in the troughs, where they are ripening, need watering at least twice a day in this heat...the mid thirties...and were not a very good idea, but it has given us early tomatoes. Next year they will go into the ground.
All the garlic is up now, and this weekend I think we will pull the overwintered onions so that we can clear some of the patch where the weeds have gone wild when we couldn't get on the land with the rain. The leeks need to go in too, they are big enough but will need protection from the sun. The sprouts, broccoli and remaining two kale plants are doing well, but today as I was weeding I found a rather nasty whitefly infestation, so will have to get out with some soap and oil spray on a regular basis. The plants have enough to worry about without sap suckers taking their strength. Most of the potatoes are up and we have bought some small, sound potatoes from the market to put in at a later date, when the Colorado beetle breeding cycle lets us. The tomatoes still look a bit sad. They have plenty of fruit on and we are remembering to feed them, but the plants are stunted. Half the aubergines have died but we are not madly keen so no great loss. The geese have managed to stretch their necks and have eaten some of the pepper plants, but again, we have plenty. The later ones we put in are still looking sad, but we forget that it is still only the beginning of June and hopefully they will come through after the long ones. The sweetcorn is loving this weather and has shot up and the butternut squash are rambling all over the place, as are the melons.
The dogs are feeling the heat now, and as last year, are eating less. At least we know not to worry this year. Now that I spend the hot part of the days indoors Bonnie is getting less stressed. No idea why she gets upset when we are working outside, but maybe as her hearing is not what it was everything sounds like thunder.
Although I have been inside I have been busy, making several varieties of chutney and some jams for the weekend, as well as cakes and biscuits. Hopefully we will have enough preserves for a couple of sales. I haven't made any cards this week and with new supplies arriving from Craft Creations I really need to get down to it. I relly hope the weather is kind as both dates at this venue have been a washout.We are meeting a friend who used to live here but who I met in the UK, on Sunday. We were hoping to get together in the week but Dave is out with the car so no transport. Ironically I met her first when she offered me damsons for jam making a few years ago in Cheshire. It seems she used to live in the next village to here. What a small world!
|It's looking too much like a factory|
Our Russian neighbour came round with a couple of the branches from her lime (linden) tree, which is flowering at the moment and headily fragrant at night. She explained it was used for making tea in winter to ward off colds and the like so it was back to the computer and Google. So I have picked the flowers and left them to dry as they are very useful in so many ways, and have kept the branches to burn for charcoal which is used for digestion and cellulitis. The house smells rather nice.
|Linden brabches full of flowers|
We had a little trip to the river and lakes on the way back from the market. I feel we have lost a lot of the spring as far as photos go as we have been unable to get near the river with the water being so high. But we did manage to see bee-eaters, eagles and long legged buzzards and there are flowers and butterlies everywhere. Well worth the detour.
|The reed beds are full of reed buntings...to be heard but not seen|
|The one time it's still it closes it's wings!|
|And finishing with a baby suslik. Ahhhh|