Thursday, 1 May 2014

They're at it again!

And yet another swarm came out of the hive yesterday, which makes three swarms in three weeks. We did think about capturing the swarm which happened yesterday, but decided that we had so many other things going on at the moment, that we would let them go, and sort out being 'proper' bee keepers next year. But at least we are contributing to the local bee population, and we know the farmer who has loads of bee hives in the woods along the escarpment near to us, so hopefully our last two swarms will have found themselves a new home. But the first one which we captured, they are doing alright. (see previous two blogs)

Meanwhile, Lester continues to patch up the kitchen in between doing outside jobs, one of which was to slaughter the male goat. It was a relief. He was a gentle soul but the girls are going to come into season soon and we do not want any more goatlings from them. Our plan is to home kill most of the goats we have at the moment and to buy in two new anglo nubian females. We have learnt that we can support and manage two milking goats, plus a male, plus their offspring when they have them which would go into the freezer after they have had several months out in the fields. It looks like we shall continue with goats. It has been an up and down journey. They are not the most easiest of animals to have on a smallholding.

Apparently it takes upwards of five years to become adjusted to the lifestyle of being a smallholder. Might take us longer because we also have a home to renovate, plus we are still building the infrastructure of the smallholding. Therefore to forgive ourselves when we slip backwards and our enthusiasm for doing all what we are doing goes on the wane. Not to worry, after a day or two of slothfulness we always get back in the saddle again. We love this life, but sometimes forget that we do.


...and so here is the nettle bin. It has the remains of last year's nettle fertiliser in it. It therefore stinks. I mean, really, it stinks! I might forgo making nettle fertiliser this year. I could kick the bin over I suppose, and then head in the opposite direction tout suite. But Lester is head honcho gardener this year, and I do not think he will cope with making the soup mix of nettles from which one gets nettle fertiliser. I think that we shall leave the making of nettle fertiliser until next year. Something to look forward to.......?!

Off up to the mayor's office up in Castelnau to tell him we have two rottweiller girls. Have just been helping Lester in the kitchen. Got showered by bits of concrete when responding to his demands requests to hold a bit of wood up against the side of the window which needed patching so he could get a straight straightish edge. I think he is doing well.

Hours later: never got to the mayor's office as got involved with more concrete showers. Then lunch. Then off to a supermarket which reminded us of why we do not like shopping. Then back home for a nap to do some more work.

Right then, the day is done, and I am off to bed. Bye for now. Vx

11 comments:

John Gray said...

5 years eh?....
That long?

Vera said...

John, we have been here nearly six years and we are still adjusting to living life as smallholders!

northsider dave said...

Hi Vera. e have been living in the countryside thirteen years and I still miss shops, public transport, rock music, car boot sales, pubs, public transport, friends...? Yet on a nice day there is no where better. Don't think I could live any where else now. No matter what life or the weather throws at us.

Vera said...

Dave, you are right, although life on a smallholding can be tough, the upside far outweighs the downside. And the longer we are away from the world of the consumer the less we want to be a part of it, although I do miss a few things, like you do.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I think there are always going to be things you miss. I still pine for the odd thing in South Africa, despite having left there in 2002. I generally can get these things from time to time though when we have a visitor!

Yuck nettles do smell horrible I agree. Keep at it I know that going back would never be an option for you. I am proud of what you have accomplished as a virtual friend.

Stay well Diane.

Denise said...

I struggled to go out in a torrent of rain to see to the hens this morning, Vera, so I believe I would be pants at proper smallholding.

Oh, those bees....sigh... Xx

Vera said...

I am sure that you would find some enthusiasm for going outside during inclement weather if you had your own smallholding Denise. Ah, beez!!!!!!!!!

Vera said...

Diane, you are so kind!

Tim said...

Nettle garden-soup...
some of the best!!

My advice is to leave that one and start again....
will your budget stretch to one of those big 300 litre rain reservoirs and the stand that the Bricomarché does?

If so get one of those and stand it well down-prevailing-wind.
Change the tap that is fitted for a 25mm bore water pipe container-to-tap fitting.
put a grid of 1/2" chicken mesh at the bottom...
with, if possible, an un-rottable finer material over the top.

Then proceed as before....
but also chuck in comfrey if you have it.... we have the white here as a native... I use that..
and the bees love it!!

You can also put the vegetation in old onion/carrot bags...
that means that you don't need to worry about anything other than a clearance area of mesh around the tap... and you can use 1" chicken wire!!

nce you have started the brew...
[use some of the current one]...
you just need to top it up with water and "nettle&comfrey".
Draw off what you need into five litre screw-top containers.

Keeping the lid on cuts down a lot of the smell!!
You can even rig up a column at the side to show the level inside...
it does save taking the top off!!

Vera said...

Tim! You treasure! Vx

Vera said...

...what I means is that you are an absolute treasure to go to so much trouble in helping me out with what to do about rotting nettle soup! Thanks Tim.