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Friday, 25 July 2014


So exciting, we have had our first honey from our hive. The bees have been very busy since they were moved to the new hive, building wax comb, making honey, so Dave decided to grab a couple of capped frames and with a bit of cutting, crushing and straining we have had one large and three small jars of honey and it is still coming through. I know I'm biased but it tastes delicious.

A capped fram ready to harvest
This was a new frame put in a week ago and is already nearly full of wax cells. How amazing is that? It looks like it was made in a factory
Bonnie is feeling left out

Poor old dear

Being eyeballed by the gander, he is not keen on me and we have had to put up some horse electric tape along a new bit of garden they have been given. Given that they have to nibble on everything it has been a bit shocking for him!!!!

Bella always goes under the fence to get closer. She is a bit more wary of the geese these days
Cutting the caps off

Straining through muslin

Our first honey

Happy bee man

Only one sting, but it was a good one!

So we are going to have to think about what we are going to do with it. The three small jars are for the neighbours, Venka and Jordan and Baba Danke have had a jar already and they were very impressed with it, lots of 'super's and 'bravo's. I have made a honey cake today to try at the car boot sale, though I didn't use my honey, I used a friend's, our's is still too precious.

It's been a busy week for jam and chutney too. I seem to have made dozens of bottles and unless everyone goes mad buying, that should be enough for this year. Any which don't quite work, like one batch which tastes a bit overcooked, goes into the cellar for us to use, and we have a cupboard full of pickles from friends (dill pickles, peppers and cucumbers) as well as the beets, onions and cucumbers I have done myself. I have bottled yet more tomatoes and tried pickled ones too, no idea what they will be like. We have enough really as I have also frozen some in case we need more chutney.
Yet anothe carrier of tomatoes and cucumbers from the neighbours

Today we also picked the first of our sweetcorn, and after all the worry that it might be the same variety that Venka gave us, we were delighted to find that it is not only delicious, but also easy to process, not as tough and sticky. Happy, should have enough to last us till next year.

The first of our butternuts and a bowwl of veg for roasting

We had another massive storm this week, incredible lightening and crashing thunder which went on and on. I would have enjoyed it, I love a storm, but poor Bonnie was a wreck, bless her. The rain didn't go on too long but was heavy enough to make a muddy mess of peppers and aubergines, and jolt the weeds back into growth. Some of the sunflowers are listing again, but we had taken photos before the storm and they were very tall. They crept up on us really, when you see them all the time you hardly notice their size.
Dave is 6'2'' so this is a very tall sunflower, being supported by the apricot tree

We have managed to home six of our young cockerels to one home. They were wanted to clear the yard of weeds so are going to be working for their living. They could have had another one but someone else wanted one, then at the last minute changed her mind so we have one bewildered boy and two little girls wondering where everyone is. We will mis the antics of the 'gang' and I hope they settle well where they are. There are no hens so fighting should not be a problem.
This young man has found himself with nine laying ladies and two young girls all to himself!
Dave has started another large painting, this time of a clouded leopard. He is planning on taking it to the car boot sale to see if working on it there will generate any interest in people wanting paintings for Christmas presents. Everything is worth a go.

The car went for it's MOT this week so that is out of the way for a year, and insurance paid. That is the last big (ish) bill for the year. Nothing failed though I don't know how thorough it was compared to the very strict ones in the UK. As long as the brakes are OK and the chassis sound that is most important.

There is no good news from my friend regarding the horses. We saw her on Wednesday when she came over to check out our local market which was a harrowing experience for her. They are not nice places with nice horses mixed with total wrecks and they do not get good treatment. I wouldn't go in unless I had to. She is beside herself, poor thing, and is attending sales all over the country with her husband as are other facebook friends. Someone knows what has happened to them, but no-one s saying. Poor Suzy.



  1. We're still saving for the day we can move over. In the mean time I sit here reading blogs like yours, reminds me of things we have to look forward to! We're planning on being as self sufficient as possible, though seeing as it will be me doing the gardening and cooking, and I have little experience doing either, I think it could be a struggle! Steep learning curve!

    Keep up the good work :-)

    1. It certainly is Tom. Although I have been cooking in a big way in all sorts of environments, none of it prepared me for all the veg I had to process and bottle last year, but as it was all planted for us I had to get on and do it. There were a couple of mistakes, one lot of sauce exploded, one very large batch of lutinitza was too salty to eat, but you learn from it. Although I have gardened for many years, I have always been trying to fit as much as I could into a small garden and mountain of pots on the drive. Now I am in my element and learning what I do and don't need to do next year. For example, butternut squash goes mad here with many fruits, not like the three or four we got in the UK.....or is that because of the wet and warm summer? I'll put less in next year and hope we don't have a drought.

      You can't do everything at once. We were lucky that the house was perfectly livable and half the garden had been kept in cultivation, not everyone gets that...and I have a hyperactive husband! Always helps.

      If you really want to do it, you will.

    2. I hope so! Our garden will be a blank canvas. We've only actually seen it the once and the weeds were 6 foot tall then, God knows what they'll be like now! I have actually been doing garden maintenance this last couple of years but the majority of time it's just cutting grass and hedges, don't feel as though I can call myself a proper gardener. I've learnt a lot though, just never had chance to put it into effect. It will be a dream come true. Just having a garden at all will be fab! We live in a static caravan here in England :-)

      I'm sure they'll be many mistakes at first but I can't wait to give it a try. Everything will be new for us but guess you gotta start somewhere!

    3. When you do eventually make it out, try not to be daunted by the growth. This year has been exceptional for weed growth I'm told. You can usually find some local help, often gypsies, who will cut your undergrowth down for not much more than a tenner a day plus a bit of dinner and something to drink, then you could decide how far you want them to go in clearing the ground. A neighbour will know someone I expect, most people get adopted by a neighbour who will know all about hese things. Failing that the mayor of the village will help.

      I lived in a mobile home for a good few years, one of the old metal ones, boiling in the sort of weather you are having but cosy with solid fuel central heating in winter. I was lucky enough to have a fenced garden for the dog and a little veggie patch.

  2. Congratulations to the honey man! Well done! Your sweet corn looks perfect and glad it's so delicious. My cabbages aren't ready yet, but my sister gave me a big one from her garden so I am going to be starting some kraut this afternoon. Picked raspberries this morning so I'll be freezing them this afternoon, too. There is never any rest at this time of year!
    Savor your honey. :-)

    1. You are so right Cynthia, we were going to have a quiet day today but somehow it didn't happen. I would like to have another go at kraut too, we lost last year's as the bucket it was in was put in the shed when the builders were here and forgotten about.

      All the neighbours are impressed with the honey, a big boost for Dave.