Backyard bees, raiding the hives.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

I helped raid the hives! Well, to be honest I did little more than take photos, move stuff around and generally just observe how it's done, but I was all suited up and looking the part so I'm counting it.

Any apiarist out there may find this completely boring, but for all you non-beekeeping folks - read on!

The smell of the honey and the beeswax was incredibly strong from several metres away, even before we disturbed the hives.

With all those busy little bodies in the hive it can get quite warm in there so on warm days like this day you will usually find a large number of them hanging around outside.

It's a fast job, you need to be in and out as quickly as possible so as to not disturb the bees as much as it's possible when you are taking a large part of their home away.

Some of the hives were overflowing, definitely due for a raid. The little black comb like thing in the top is used to get rid of the beetles (mites? they look too big to call mites) that like to make their homes in the hives and contains lime.

This is our hive, there didn't seem to be as many bees in it so possibly some of them swarmed and left to find a new home.

The frames from these boxes will have the honey extracted from them and then they will be returned to the hives, ready to be filled up again. Raiding will slow down soon, leaving the bees plenty of honey to get them through winter.

That's one thing crossed off the list of things I wanted to do in 2017.

And for a bit of a laugh, this is what hearing a bee through a hearing aid looks like:


The boy sweater

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

I've been desperate to share this for several weeks but couldn't as it was a gift. The recipient now has it so I can show you!

This was a gift for my great nephew who recently celebrated his first birthday. Obviously he doesn't read this blog and I don't think his mumma does either but you can't be too careful. There were no surprises from us as far as the gifts went, we gave him a book and some handmade goodies, I'm so predictable!

There was enough yarn left to make a little matching beanie. I used the mock cable pattern from the jumper on the otherwise simple beanie. It looks a little scrunched up in the photo as I don't block my knitted hats, (tried it once and it was difficult and didn't really do anything for it so if you have any tips on blocking knitted hats I'd love to hear them).

The pattern for the jumper was designed by Lisa Chemery and it is definitely one I will use again. It was quick and relatively easy, although I'm still not very good with short rows. The yarn by Bendigo Woollen Mills.

Details Ravelled here.


Bullet journalling

Monday, 13 February 2017

My March cover page, shamelessly copied from this much better version

Or perhaps that should read Trying to let go of perfectionism.

I've never really considered myself a perfectionist but I'm starting to think that I am. I've always though I was satisfied with okay, (especially with the housework) or at least done, but I've started a Bullet Journal this year and it's becoming apparent that I do have at least some perfectionist tendencies.

I've always had a thing for stationary, especially diaries. Every year I try a new one and it usually only lasts for a few weeks. They were always missing something, I want to keep track of something, or put something else in it but there's no room so when I stumbled across Bullet Journalling I was so excited. The idea of making your own diary, containing everything you need and nothing you don't was exhilarating!

Finding the right journal without spending a fortune looked difficult for a while. What's the point of forking out a heap of money on something I was only going to use for a couple of weeks? I finally found one, in a big box office supplies shop (you know the one I mean) after searching it several times. I kept looking in the notebook and journal/diary aisles, but eventually found it when I went for a wander in the other aisles. And it was less than $5! Bargain!

So I started setting it up and stopped again after a couple of weeks. Why? Firstly, developing a new habit is sometimes hard, right? Secondly, it wasn't pretty enough. That's right, it didn't look anything like all the pretty ones all over Pinterest.


So, overcoming my butthead tendencies is something I'm working on. I'm still trawling through Pinterest but this time it's to teach myself to do some of those pretties for my own bujo. And whilst they still aren't nearly as lovely, and if I'm honest never will be - I'm not an artist, they are getting better.

In the meantime, my bujo is helping me stay on top of things, to be more organised (goodness knows I need all the help I can get there) and hopefully it will one day soon give me time to started wading through the enormous list in my head of things I want to get around to eventually (hey, that might be a new page idea!).

Do you have a Bullet Journal? Care to share your pretty pages?


Tomato & Chilli Relish

Saturday, 11 February 2017

We are starting to get into tomato glut season so here's a delicious recipe to use up some of your extras. I found this recipe ages ago but now have no idea where it came from.

1.8 kg ripe tomatoes, blanched in boiling water and peeled
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 mild red chilies, deseeded and chopped (more if you like it hot!)
450g caster sugar
1 tbsp salt
300ml malt vinegar

Halve and chop the tomatoes, place in large pan with all the juices, and all other ingredients except vinegar. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 90 minutes, add vinegar and bring back to the boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the mix is thick enough that you can see the base of the saucepan when you draw a spoon through it.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

If you can resist the lure of the relish, leave for 1 month before consuming.

Enjoy with a  sharp crumbly cheese.



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Another bit of yarny goodness I knitted up last year (I'm a bit late blogging about it though!).

The pattern is a popular one by Melanie Berg and is easy enough but by the time you get towards the end each row takes forever. Worth every second though, look how lovely it is.

The yarn I used was cotton, something light enough to wear on cooler summer days and nights. The best part about this shawl (scarf?) was that it only cost me $10 and a handful of change. Sure, a month of my life, but only $10! The biggest knitting bargain I've come up with so far.

Details ravelled here.


Copenhagen Calling

Sunday, 29 January 2017

That's the name of this beautiful cowl I knitted late last year. Obviously it's too hot to wear it at the moment so I don't have any photos of it on me.

The pattern is by Isabell Kraemer (the same designer of my toe sweater) and is just lovely, not difficult but enough to keep most knitters interested with the sections being just long enough before changing. I'm trying to learn new skills when it comes to my knitting so this was the first step towards colour work and I can't wait to try something a little more difficult soon.

The yarn however was a bit hit and miss. I bought the teal yarn along with cream, it's a merino yarn and is so lovely and squishy so I was looking forward to wearing it when the weather cools down. As I was knitting it up however, the teal was staining my hands pretty horribly and although I can live with that I was scared of what it might do to the cream yarn once it was washed. Unfortunately there is no grey in the same yarn range so I had to settle on another yarn and although it looks great it is quite scratchy so I'm not sure how it will feel once it's wrapped around my neck.

Details ravelled here.


Farm Auction

Thursday, 26 January 2017

I went to my first farm auction last weekend, Mr H has been to a few in the past and nabbed some bargains, but this was the first I had attended. I picked up some lovely old galvanised tubs and buckets with the intention of turning them into pots like these.

But we paid a premium price for them so now I'm not sure if I want to drill holes into the bottom of them. The largest tub may already be a little leaky so if it is I will happily take to it with the drill but the others I'm not sure of. Next time I may just consider buying new ones and finding a way to age them.

Have you been to a farm auction? Nabbed any bargains or not so bargain goods?


Welcome 2017

Friday, 13 January 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying the fresh start of the new year. I'm not one for resolutions but I do like to take stock of how I'm travelling along and this year is no different. I have been battling with some fairly major anxiety issues for a couple of years so I've recently started seeing a psychologist to help deal with it. I have turned into a bit of a hermit, rarely venturing anywhere other than work and when I do go somewhere other than my 'normal' places it makes me extremely nervous. The ENT, neurologist and the psychologist have all assured me this is fairly normal when dealing with Meniere's Disease but I am hopeful that over the next few months I will start seeing a difference in how I cope with it.

I have set myself some other goals, just some things I'd like to do or learn in 2017 including:

Making cheese - I received a cheese making kit for Christmas 3 years ago (obviously you can't rush these things) and I really want to finally put it to use.

Making soap - I'll admit the whole process, and dealing with lye, makes me more than a little nervous.

Inspecting and raiding our bee hives - yes, we have our own hives now as well as the others here.

Get around to putting my own stamp on this place. It's now been 3 years since we moved here (yikes!!!)  and although we have done the front boundary fence, the place hasn't changed that much.  So I have a few plans to change that.

Have you made any resolutions for 2017?