Thursday, 28 April 2011

Catching Up

I have a lot to catch up with since the computer crash & our holiday - but I'll try to keep it short & sweet.
I can't say what I did on which day - can't remember exactly.

I finished setting up the irrigation system for the vege gardens.
I used two sizes of this tube to clamp the ends of the irrigation pipes.
I slid the tube over the bent ends like so.

I also set up a drip irrigation system for the new pots on the front deck.  These pots will be planted with herbs.
 Chicken Mitigation
Here you can see the back of the 'planks' we installed to stop the chickens throwing the mulch onto the 'soccer pitch' (or lawn).
I installed trellis - using tomato wire - on the fence at the back of the vege gardens.
Mrs Skivvy (Mum) helped by holding the roll of wire while I hammered in the supporting nails.
I didn't have wire cutters strong enough to trim off the excess.  Still, it's a safe place to store it for the time being.
Nails were simply hammered in place & bent up to secure the wire.
 The Swarm
 Little more than a week after the bees arrived we noticed some strange behaviour. Lots of bees were gathering outside the entrance to the hive, and those going in didn't seem to be carrying any pollen.
When I noticed them carrying dead bees out of the hive, and a significant number on the ground already I decided to call Col.
Bees gathering around the (closed) hive entrance
 Col informed me that I had a SWARM.  That is another nearby hive (within 700m) had grown too big and had to break up.  The bees had smelt my colony and decided to try and take over their hive instead of finding a new one of their own.  Who ever thought of bees as lazy?
He told me to close off the hive for 24 hours and see what happened.  If the swarm remained after that time then I should hose them, often.
They did, and I did, at least as often as I could. But in the end I decided to let nature take its course, I wasn't home enough to make a difference with the hosing.

I don't know who won - but we are back to a functioning hive again.
Dead bees litter the ground under the hive.

The week before Easter our two front tanks arrived and were installed.  A 5kl tank beside the side fence, and a 4kl one under the front deck, behind the stairs.
The tanks are colourbond steel, in Classic Cream, the same colour as the trim on the house.
The largest tank is manoeuvred into place.

The completed tank system.

The view from the street.
 Fairly unobtrusive don't you think?  We think Eddie (our tank man) did a great job finding the best solution for our space - he really did a heap of work investigating what would fit and how to get them in.  Thanks for the recommendation R&N.  They should be even more unobtrusive when I get some fruit trees planted beside that fence.

We still have two more smaller (2kl each) plastic tanks to go in behind the shed.  The front ones will be mainly for the washing, and the rear ones for the garden.
And with all the rain we have had the last few days the first two are filling quickly!

Dragon Fruit
I've also planted a Dragon Fruit - I think they are ugly plants, but the fruit is nice to eat, and gorgeous to look at, so I thought I would try one.  I've planted in the back corner behind the shed where it can grow over what is left of the mango, and I can't see it except when I want to.
The one I have bought has the red flesh.
Over the Easter school holiday we went to Tasmania, primarily to visit my Dear Brother (DB) & meet his Lovely Lady (LL).  It was L6 & J4's first visit to the state.
One place I really wanted to visit was the Botanic Gardens - especially to see the Gardening Australia vegetable garden.  Fantastic - so many fruit trees.  And they are building a temporary kitchen garden, prior to a larger permanent one with a real education focus.
I didn't take any photos in the vege garden, but I did photograph some of the herbs, once I think I might want to add to my garden, rather than having to write it all down!

The view from the herb garden
Purple Sage
Golden Marjoram
Lemon Scented Savoury

Salvia & view

I just loved the glimpse of colour through this doorway, and the warm glow of the convict made bricks.

L6 took this photo of the compost bins tucked against the wall.  Just the same as ours!

Beautiful colour!
 Hard at Work!
We helped at a working bee for one of DB's friends.  These are a regular occurrence - approximately once a month or so by the sound of it.  There is a real co-operation and sharing.  A social occasion, as well as helping out your friends.  Also a lot of sharing of equipment & materials.  "I don't need that left over wood under my house, could you use it?", "This couch is uncomfortable for me, would it suit your studio?"
It was a privelege to be invited along.  And I got to see a couple of wonderful gardens.  The soil here is quite poor, very sandy, so raised beds are the order of the day for vegetables.  But the wildlife is prolific (DB &LL live on 100 acres of bush) so the beds have to be fully enclosed to keep out the possums, wallabies etc.  So I now have another use for all that poly pipe - to support a curved roof of netting over my gardens and keep the possums & brush turkeys out of my garden.
Another wonderful idea was using left-over or old guttering hanging on the side of the vege enclosure to grow strawberries and herbs.  I'll try to get some photos to show you.

The highlight of the working bee for the boys was the fires - to burn off the bracken etc we were clearing from the paths, and the toilet.  The main task of the day was to dig a new toilet pit (easier than expected due to the sandy, but still firm, soil - but I wasn't involved, and move a fully enclosed dunny, complete with rainwater barrel & sink for hand washing, from elsewhere on the property.  And here it came!  Sitting atop two large logs and being dragged behind a 4WD ute!  With two of the workers hanging on behind as if riding a sledge!
Once it was nearby we slid two beams underneath and, on the count of three lifted.  Under the expert direction of one lady, we lowered it into the exact position first time!  I really hope I can get hold of some photos for you.

We also helped DB clear an area near his wood BBQ.  The boys enjoyed helping with this as well - the fire again being a big drawcard!
L6 pushing the wheelbarrow full of bracken.

J4 empties the wheelbarrow & throws the contents onto the bonfire.

SMD fully rigged out in safety gear to 'whipper-snip' the bracken near the BBQ
 Port Arthur
We had a lovely day at Port Arthur. And I got another couple of ideas for our garden.
We did explain as much as we thought they could understand about Port Arthur - and the massacre.  We were living in Launceston at that point in time.  Vivid memories of hearing & seeing the reports live on the Sunday night - while at indoor soccer.  But going back now, it still strangely has a wonderful sense of peace about it - as it always did for me.  It is just such a beautiful place.
Love the woven fence around this vege garden at the Commandant's house.  Might try this as a garden edging near the shed - using the Sacred Bamboo.

A beautiful robin the the memorial garden.  And a lovely screen of native grasses.  Where can I put something similar?
 Well - it is my last child-free day before starting back at work next week.  Still some jobs to do, but I have to sort my tax out first (Damn!) or I'll be in trouble with the tax office.

The seeds have arrived from the Digger's Club today as well.

I hope you haven't been completely bored by this long post.  I'll try to keep them a lot shorter now.

Happy Easter

No comments:

Post a Comment