Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bunny update

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Baby bunnies are 5 weeks old now and are growing well. Only 5 in this batch, Flo had a litter of very large kits this time. Not 100% sure what happened but early on 2 died. The remainder are all healthy and growing well though.


Duckling day

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Vita has hatched her first clutch right on time. After a couple of failed attempts last year with crows interfering and a bit if boredom on her part in another episode we got the security arrangements and timing right this time and she hatched all of the eggs she was sitting on, being 11. They all seem very healthy and chirpy and have been out today already. Virginia is also sitting and is due in another 2 weeks. She is sitting on another 10 or so eggs.


August 2011 Harvest

Yesterday we picked 2 kg of rasberries, which is typical for this time of year. We have processed them by flas freezing, jams, muffins and a rather good rasberries and chocolate torte. We also harvested the red eating apples, it seems very early, but I have been eating one every now and then for the past few weeks and I think if we had let them get any more ripe, they wouldn’t store well. So they have been wrapped in newspaper, put into trays and stored in an outbuilding. The harvest should keep us in apples a good way into the winter.


2nd Bee inspection

It was my turn to handle the hive this inspection. Becs did the smoking. I am really pleased to say we found the Queen. She was stood in the middle of a frame full of royal jelly singing “we will, we will rock you”…..and all of the workers were doing the double claps. So in the end she was pretty easy to spot. The hive has been busy since last week, lots of honey stores, a bit of brood and some royal jelly. They still have about 4 frames left to fill, so fingers crossed they will get busy before the end of the season.

The bees are so placid, they are very tolerant of us open their house and moving all their furniture around. We have decided to go for a no gloved approach ( opinions differ on this. Gloves= better protection, no gloves= better dexterity, which = better handling). So far no stings!!


Trailer Parked

Well, I continued to work on my ridiculose camping trailer project. Some of the highlights of this project include buying 2 pieces of 5ft x 3ft foam rubber from above Leicester fish Market and carrying them across town. People did point at me, I think I must have looked like a comedy sandwich. Two foam prices of bread with me as the filling.

Anyway, the good news is that the bed frame and foam was really comfortable on our three ‘man’ sleeping pod. The ‘men’ being me, becs and a hairy, smelly whippet that insisted on streatching it’s legs out to take up maximum room.

The trailer kitchen also worked pretty well. Thia being August in England, It did tip it down with rain on the second day and the surfaces got a bit wet, but the sink and stove set up was really convienient.

Also everything seemed to fit in the trailer really easily and we had all the stuff we needed.

Alterations for next time;

We realised that our tent was by far and away the smallest on the campsite, when it rained we were cramed in a bit, also the tent is about 5 years od and is keeling. So we are going to buy a bigger one. We will be recycling most of the parts of the old one into plot related products.

The trailer needs a better cover. The wast from the sink needs a pipe and vessel. Apart from that I am pretty pleased with it.


Duck and rasberries

I just wanted to make a record of an amazing recipe that I tried last week. Which was simply lovely. You need
2 large duck legs (sencemeadow)
200 g of rasberries (sencemeadow)
1 large onion (sencemeadow)
Some thyme or rosemerry
A couple of large glasses of red wine
Chicken stock cube ( made up to about 100 ml)

The method

Heat some fat/ oil in a pan . I use previously collected duck fat. Brown the legs, set to one side.
In the same pan heat the chopped onion and herbs until soft.
Put aside 20 rasberries
Put all of the ingredients except the 20 rasberries plus some salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Braze for two/ three hours.
Once the meat is falling off the bone, Carefully remove the meat and set aside to rest.
Pour the liquid back into the original pan and reduce to a thick sauce.
Plate up with mash or couscous and in season green beans (sencemeadow) and pour the rich sauce on top. Dress with fresh rasberries.

Enjoy.

We recon at the moment we are eating 80% sencemeadow. This is now representing a significant part of our income. In money terms, I am only spending about £30 a week on shopping rather than 60 or 70. Much of that is unedible stuff like cleaning products.


First Bee hive inspection

 

We moved the bees with very little problem from James’ Apiary last weekend. Its best to move them early in the morning before they start flying. You just put a mesh on the top and a piece of foam in the entrance hole and then you can pop them in the back of your car. We carried them carefully across the plot. Loosened the mesh top and then put the proper rof on.

Tonight we have just done our first hive inspection. You use a little device called a smoker to produce a fine puff of smoke. The bees think the hive is on fire and go insie to eat the honey, thus becoming sluggish. So with a puff of smoke we opened the hive, lifted off the crown board and started to inspect the frames. Part of what you are looking for in a bee hive inspection is the queen. We didn’t find the queen, but thought we would leave it until next time, as we woudl rather not have the hive open for ages in order to spot the queen. We did find a couple of queen cell which, following James advice, we removed. There was healthy looking brood, and honey stores, so hopefully all is well. Next inspection is in 7 days, so we will make more of an effort to find  the queen.

 

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