Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring in the beehive

With all these fantastic spring flowers, things have been really active in the beehive too.
I had one family (from two) survive from last year, and that family has been going strong. A couple of weeks ago i put the melario on (aka the honey super)

Sadly though it hasn't seen any action yet, and I was concerned about a lack of bees in it. opening up the hive it looks as though the queen isn't around, I can't see any sign of her. I can't tell though if bee numbers are down, indicating a swarm, or if she's died. There was a good size queen cell, so she'll be replaced soon enough, but not great for honey production.

Then my two new families arrived, thousands of new pointy little babies!
Lulu helping with the new bees

The families arrive in these white styrafoam travelling boxes and after a couple of days settling in they get transferred to their permanent wooden homes.
A travelling box next to the other beehives
The smoker helps keep them calm
The wooden hive must be in exactly the same position as the travelling box was, or the bees get confused about which house is theirs.
settling in

see how they stick their butts in the air and beat their wings? This spreads the message to their sisters that this is their new home. 
Here they are, all home and hopefully happy.
I'm hoping for a decent honey haul this year, the new families need to fill the hive with baby bees first, then they get their melario. They should be happy. They have a lovely view of the valley and are surrounded by flowers. It's hard to hug a bee, but these are my pets!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Flowers!

Today's flowers feel like cheating.
With all the abundanca around, I'm looking down, and these are the simple little flowers of clover.
There's really nothing much to say about these, they're small, a lovely colour and fragrance free. Rather simple.
Here's a sunset:
Happy Easter! Particularly to my family in Australia. Miss you guys!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Soft drink alternative

I've been trying to find an alternative to Coca Cola or beer for summer afternoons, and I think I may have found my solution.

This is iced Rooibos tea, with ginger and lemon. It's delicious! I made it without measuring, but here's roughly what i did.

  1. Peel and dice about 10 grams of fresh ginger root. Boil in a covered pot in two litres of water for 2 mins.
  2. Turn off heat and add a tablespoon of loose leaf rooibos (red) tea, the juice of 1 lemon and raw sugar to taste.
  3. Chill in fridge.
  4. Serve with ice (if you havent lost the ice tray over the winter) and fresh mint.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Flowers!

These beautiful white, star shaped flowers are the newest cutable flowers in the fields right now. They close up at night, but have such a delicate colour. Other than these there are a lot of daisies and buttercups.

In goose news we have a killed and plucked and cleaned goose in the fridge, and two looking rather forlorn outside, missing their brother. Don't they look sad?

Its hard stuff, this eating animals.

Next week- goose recipies.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New projects!

I've been working on a new project- a visitor's guide for the city of Florence, including all my favourite shops, sights and places to eat. It's not quite ready yet, but I wanrted to share this sneak peak- a photo from one of the places on my proposed route around the city.

These tiny hands are the work of a woodworker in the Oltrarno area, who makes all types of objects and architectural elements. Aren't they so lifelike?

I'm working all this week on getting the guide finished, and will let you know as soon as it's ready!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday flowers and goose update.

I've some lovely flowers today, though I have no idea of their names. The purple one grows from a bulb and there are millions of these through the fields right now. The other is a bright green flower, which works well to complement other colours and lasts forever cut.
In goose news I have nothing to report. Nothing! There has been no trade and no execution. Just three cranky geese who attack anything in their path, including cars. I'm not going to mention them again until something happens, but its becoming a bit of a joke.
I'm putting my foot down though- no pigs until the geese are dealt with. I think they're even upsetting the chooks- none of them are broody yet, with the whole coutryside exploding with new life.

Don't be shy! Leave a comment below, say hello!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Suspense- whose goose is cooked?

Am I plucking?

No, I am not. Today was supposed to be the big day; 'how to kill a goose' videos have been watched, knives have been sharpened, cushion fabric chosen.
But as we're all going out Saturday to see flatmate Marcos new show, 'goose dinner day' has been moved from Saturday to Sunday, and 'kill day' has gone from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Which has given me time to share this video, of me being attacked for your viewing pleasure.

Perhaps I should make a series of videos of me being attacke by different animals. Next up- bees. What do you think?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Three little geese went off one day...

Hi! I introduced you to the three terrors back here in February, with the surety that they were all headed to the pot. But it seemed no-one could stand the idea of doing the deed. The argument went like this; we'd wait until they laid eggs and then start regularly eating goose, keeping the initial three around as guard-geese.

All well and good, but we were wavering on what was the gender devision in the pack. One was surely a female as she was so petite- her name is Signorina. Then the largest one, Papone, was the obvious male. Papi Bitonale (named for its two toned voice) was considered a female, but then was seen to be getting up to some shenanigans with Signorina and was undecided.

The only way to know for sure is to do a close up examination. Which had been put off for general dislike for the job and danger of getting bitten. All this time the geese have been increasingly aggressive with no eggs in sight. So, Beppe and Dome bit the bullet and got up close with the geese.

Now, I'm not going to show you what a geese's man bits look like. You could probably google it. But its not a pretty sight. And the boys where more than slightly shocked when they found them on Papone, Bitonale, and then Signorina. So the girls are all boys and a new plan has been hatched.
The pig farmer down the road will swap us a female for a male, and tomorrow morning Bitonale will see his last sunrise. Signorina is going to be swapped; the boys have always preferred him (her), and can't stand to kill him.

This time tomorrow I'll be plucking. Have we done the right thing? What would you do? Leave me a message below.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Flowers

Ah! Its a lovely warm day, the swallows have returned, and everything looks alright.

I must apologise for a week with no posts, but my computer was stolen last week, and I've just now got a replacement. So what did I do with all the extra time not spent writing blog posts, editing photos or surfing (ahem, researching) the internets?

I baked bread,

banana bread,

I started an exciting new project (more on that when it's ready),

sewed a spring shirt, which you can see more of on my other blog,Confessions of a Lazy Bee
and collected flowers.

I know I've already posted the anemonies, and there are all those other flowers around to document, but they were just so abundant and pretty this week, and they'll be gone soon. The satin texture of the petals is so beautiful, and the colour!

Hope you're all enjoying the first blush of spring, or the last warmth of autumn if you're south. Get outside and breathe deeply! But if you must stay on the computer, have a look at the Caper & Co. website at www.caperandco.com