A Tale of Two Hives

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We were rejigging the strawberry patch. I have made an Observation about the vegetable patch. During a couple of weekends in late spring, They put plants into the ground, and then spend all the rest of the summer pulling other plants out.

Andy says its called Weeding. It seems to take up an inordinate amount of time.

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There was a strange noise – it started as a low hum, and got louder and louder. And then a black cloud came low over the trees. Aaarghh, a swarm of bees coming straight at us. Run for cover.

We made it indoors and luckily they buzzed off quite quickly. But from whence had they come? Time to check out our hives.

Hive Bee was fine and dandy. Lots of bees and lots of lovely, sticky honey.

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Sadly the same could not be said for Hive A. It was completely infested with Wax Moth, and it must have been our bees who had just emigrated. The hive was in a right old state. Quite repulsive. Upsetting. And needing some urgent action.

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As there were no bees in residence, no viable colony, it was an easy decision to simply destroy the whole lot. All the frames were thrown on the bonfire and burnt.

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And the shell of the hive thoroughly cleaned out. It will be treated with a blow torch too to get rid of any remaining eggs. And will be beepopulated next year.

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To end on a happy note, here is a Carpeneter Bee either pollinating or being pollenated by a Passion Flower.

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Walking with Destiny

One of my very favouritest places in all the world is The Lake.

We go there often, and run and run. And swim and paddle. Chase fish. And birds.

Genepi rescues drowning sticks. Often we have the whole place to ourselves.

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Today we had some Special Visitors.

Let me introduce Destiny, my No. 1 lady. Mother of my children. We had a planned pregnancy. Six kids in all.

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She brought our daughter, Gibsie (Genepi’s sister), together with the Big Aunties, Eden and Delphi.

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And we all went to The Lake, all 6 of us. Plus Dallas and Isabel, our chauffeurs.

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Genepi and Gibsie played racing games. They are both dead fast. And they love being together.

Destiny did sticks. I did my own thing. And the Big Aunties had a play fight.

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Eden is a Pyrenean Mountain Dog (with a hint of polar bear). Delphi is a softie, with gorgeous eyes (don’t tell Destiny I said that).

 

Reine Claude keep falling on my head

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Reine Claude plums (aka Greengages)

I’m avoiding walking under the ancient pear tree at the moment. Too hazardous. If ┬áthe falling pears don’t get you on the noggin, then the wasps feasting on the rotten fruit might.

So, when Andy and Dallas started collecting the plums, I was hesitant to participate, being au fait with the perils to be had in an orchard. Indeed, for every plum plucked by hand, two fell of their own accord.

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Genepi is more gung ho than me, so braved standing near the trees.

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They collected basket after basket of fruit, mostly greengages, but also some Bramley apples, dark plums and pears. Now the kitchen table is laden. Question is what to do with it all. Dallas ran a few ideas past me, but frankly, for fruit-based recipes I’m next to useless.

Although I do like to help in the kitchen.

We have just finished a big batch of Greengage, Apple, Chilli & Ginger chutney and some Greengage & Vanilla Jam.

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Mouse helped to reduce the glut, by turning a plum into a football. For about 2 minutes. Then it squished all over the tiles.

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Greengage & Apple Chutney, with chilli and ginger

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Tangy, with a good hot kick. Its worth taking the stones out of the greengages. And allowing the chutney to mature for a couple of months.

Greengage & Bramley Apple Chutney, with chilli and ginger

  • Servings: 8 jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 2kg greengages
  • 6 Bramley apples, cored and chopped
  • Fresh Ginger, handful, some grated, some chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 400g sultanas
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 red chillies, chopped
  • cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsps each mustard seeds, ground coriander, cumin, cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75cl cider vinegar
  • 1 kg sugar

Directions :

Put everything together in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for a couple of hours, Ladle into warm, sterilised jars and seal.

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