Another year has rolled past, and the days are getting warmer and longer. We have had a long, cold winter, with the mountains constantly coated in white, white, snow. The frosts were bitter, which could be good for the garden – it gets rid of all the slugs and bugs and stuff. The frost also got rid of our lemon tree, covered though it was. Thankfully we still have some trees remaining:
2 peach trees, 2 nectarines, 1 cherry tree, 1 grape vine, 2 Feijoa trees, 2 pear trees, 2 apricot trees, 3 apple trees, 3 olive trees, 1 crab apple, 1 plum, blackcurrents, redcurrents, gooseberrys, raspberry patch, cranberry patch, elder trees
So, quite a few varieties. Unfortunately, the olives are not producing much, and the plum needs a good whack. The elder is a weed, popping up anywhere I don’t walk, but I might make a bit more elderberry syrup this year, and perhaps some elder flower champagne. The garden is looking pretty rough, but will be ready for early plantings soon.
The chooks are happy enough, but we have a new addition, Snowy, who came from the Mt Hutt retreat, as a sole survivor of their flock. She sleeps in a tree. From 6 chooks, we get perhaps 2 eggs per day – half the girls have retired, and just live for fun and worms.
As for the bees, the hives look good. I haven’t had a peek inside yet, though I have been tempted. The last sunny day, there were bees streaming in and out, carrying white and yellow pollen packets, and (hopefully) lots of nectar. I didn’t feed them this season, so what they have is all their own, all natural. When I merged the two hives, I didn’t get a chance to cut down number of boxes before winter set in, so one went through winter with three boxes. I can’t wait to see if that was good or bad. I will split if I can in October, as soon as I see any queen cells. I think there is enough woodwork for 4 hives, at least until harvest time. I will soon put in treatment for mites – in March I hit them with Apivar, which I think is a thymol based treatment. September will be Bayverol. I will also need to get my hives inspected sometime before November.
The harvest from last season was great, and there is only 5Kg left pottled up in the shed, another 6Kg in the little stall at work, and 4Kg in the cupboard for us, to last us to December. What a lot of honey has been tithed, sold, given, and eaten. Quite a bit ended up in food parcels, distributed by ADRA New Zealand to people who really, really needed it.
Another harvest was produced by young helper E. She witnessed some ex-students of ours shave their heads in response to one getting the 5-year clearance from leukaemia (cured! yay), and determined to help out – Brave E grew her hair long, and raised over $700 for Canteen (an organisation which supports kids and their siblings when cancer strikes) and had her hair cut, to make wigs for kids. Her long locks, which reached her bum, were plaited, then chopped off, in the front of the whole school during chapel. A very selfless and brave deed, and I am very proud of her.
Today has been a beauty, with the daffodils and blossom trees brightening every view. It is Father’s day in New Zealand today, so I took my lad fishing. Didn’t catch anything, but it was a fantastic time, just chilling by the pond. I am surrounded by family, and content.