Saturday 13 December 2014

Let's have a conversation.

gedNot much else I can do really as it's not like I have been getting much done in the garden or on the allotment and it is once again such a long time since I sat down to write.

The weather has definitely hit winter these last couple of weeks but as yet we haven't seen any snow. I would really like a good covering of snow...not for me but for Trojan!! I am sure he would love running around in the white stuff and playing with snowballs and I was really hoping for some last year but it didn't happen....Oh well, I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens with that!!

I have been pretty busy the last few weeks and with just under two weeks until Christmas I am ready for a break and a finishes next Thursday until the new year for both myself and my Hubby so it will be nice to get some time off together.

I am content in the knowledge that today I finished my Christmas shopping but I still haven't wrapped anything and at this moment in time I am not surrounded by Christmas decorations either...I am hoping to remedy that this evening though...I do love the glow of the Christmas lights I the evenings and I even enjoy the Christmas decorations for a short while!!

I haven't been feeling great the past few weeks but I keep muddling on..... I'm sure many of us get that way as we see less sunshine and I am ready for the days to start getting longer which won't be long now either.

I have been getting plenty of baking done and going on some lovely long walks with Tro. I like the cold frosty mornings best when we crunch over the fields as opposed to collecting them as we go and feeling 3 stone heavier with all the mud I have collected on my boots by the end of it!!

I don't really have any wish lists for Christmas apart from a long walking coat to keep me dry in the rain which my Hubby has bought me and already let me have so that I could stay dry and warm in some of the miserable weather we have had of late. I kind of like not having and Christmas wishes family are all great at picking things out for me and then it means I get lovely surprises on the day!!

I didn't mean for it to be so long between posts and I really wanted to get into writing for the bee blog too but when I sit in the evening my mind goes blank and that is me done....maybe with work winding down I will feel a little more into writing although I think I should start with the Christmas cards first...I bought them a few weeks ago and still haven't managed to post any....that is definitely something I need to get sorted.

So this evening it will be house decorating, present wrapping and tree decorating....then tomorrow it will probably be house cleaning but I am sure I will find time to snap a few pretty shots of the decorated house for you, So I guess it will be Monday before I think about writing a blog on Grantham Beekeepers although I know I have a meeting then for the allotment then we are taken into Tuesday and that is nearly halfway through the week.....and this is just how life has been for the last many wishes and so much to do but with so few hours in the day it is sometimes hard to keep up.

I guess all we can do is our best...and breathe and relax at times too!!!

Not entirely sure this was so much of a was really more of a waffle but I guess you area all used to that by now.

Hope you are all well and managing to find some time to relax!!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Flock of Yellowhammers.

Just click on the photos to make them bigger!
A flock of Yellowhammers sining merrily and having fun in the fields.

A flock of Yellowhammers sining merrily and having fun in the fields.

A flock of Yellowhammers sining merrily and having fun in the fields.

A flock of Yellowhammers sining merrily and having fun in the fields.

A flock of Yellowhammers sining merrily and having fun in the fields.

Tuesday 11 November 2014


Out walking with Trojan across the fields earlier in the week we found mushrooms popping up all over the place.

I do not know how to identify them so have no idea if they were safe to eat so left them be, Trojan didn't think they smelt too appetising either!!

None the less...they were great photo material!!

mushrooms, poisonous? edible? Trojan, dogs, fields.
This one is upside down but I left it this way
because I thought it looked cool!!

mushrooms, poisonous? edible? Trojan, dogs, fields.
They are such delicate things to emerge from
such solid ground.

mushrooms, poisonous? edible? Trojan, dogs, fields.
Trojan had a good look at them but
wasn't overly impressed!

mushrooms, poisonous? edible? Trojan, dogs, fields.
With this one you can see it hasn't long come
up and see how heavy the earth is.

mushrooms, poisonous? edible? Trojan, dogs, fields.
I'm kind of fond of this
quirky picture.

mushrooms, poisonous? edible? Trojan, dogs, fields.
Trojan having a good old sniff,
didn't try to eat it though.

So what do you thing to my 'shroom' shots?? I rather enjoyed playing about with the camera...Trojan never minds how long I take either as it means he has more time to explore!!
Can any of you identify mushrooms?? Do you know if these would have been palatable or poisonous?? Maybe you know a good book you could recommend to me as I would love to know which ones I could pick fresh from the fields.

Monday 10 November 2014

Tree Surgeon.

Well I am not a tree surgeon but I did recognise that the trees on the bee plot especially needed a really good pruning.

The fruit this year in a lot of cases was small and bitter tasting. Also as they had been left to there own devices they had got so tall I couldn't reach a lot of the fruit and had also ended up being a little more bush like as opposed to tree like.

apple trees, pruning, bitter fruit
These are just two of the trees that
needed some serious attention.

apple trees, pruning, bitter fruit
Can you see the difference? All the trees here
have now been pruned if not overly well
and I hope that next year we will have
some lovely sweet fruit.


Sunday 9 November 2014

Decisions, decisions?!?!?!?!

Today was a much nicer day than yesterday for which I was really happy about as although I loved having a cosy lazy day yesterday I was a bit headachy by the end of it and relished the fact that I got to take a lovely long walk over the fields with Trojan and the neighbours with their dog Sonny.

A lovely autumn walk
Trojan, Sonny, Eva and Benjamin.

Then after dinner I went up the allotment and finally managed to get the shed on the bee plot completed, this has been a work in progress over the last couple of weeks just spending an hour here and there on it.

Slats put on the roof to further strengthen and support the felt, rafters put up inside for extra roof support, a good coat of creocote to preserve the wood and the windows sealed to hold the glass firmly in place.

old shed to new shed.
The shed is still a work in progress here.

As you can see from the photo above I have also laid some slabs at the front to have a solid surface to walk out onto. They aren't totally level but it adds to the ambience of the least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!

So you may wonder what all this has to do with decisions...well, as well as everything listed above I also got guttering put up both side of the shed, I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo but this shed is over 10ft long and at present I have one water butt set up at the back...but of course I have guttering on both side so should I get another water butt?? This is how it's set up at the minute.

Water butts, guttering and rain.
This water butt is going to fill up pretty fast!!

That really isn't the decision I need help with though, originally I was just going to have one but when I think about it now having another water butt is a no brainer as I will be able to collect a lot of water from this shed and will fill two in no time at all....the decision I need help with is should I buy another one or should I take one from my much smaller shed on my other plot??

This does however have water in that has been collected already. Should I just get another?? I don't think you can ever collect too much water!!

So what do you think?? I am probably going more with get another but would love other peoples opinions too!! is a photo of the shed finished...looks a little different to when we first put it up here

The shed finished.
The finished shed in all it's glory!!

And here is the now lovely tidy interior...

Tidy, well organised shed.
Tidy, well organised shed.
I got this all sorted today and also found some inhabitants...a family of mice which to be honest I don't particularly want in here but it isn't always easy to get rid of them. They were lovely little things, a family of 5 and had very glossy coats but I am sure that is probably from the beeswax they have consumed so I have put all wax in a sealed box and mouse proofed the drawers...fingers crossed this works but only time will tell. Pity I didn't get any photos of them but I was too busy trying to 'shoo' them out so never thought to grab the doubt I will come across them again though as I have noticed a couple of places where they can get access so this will need to be sorted out soon.

And just to finish off here is another feature that was added to the bee plot a while ago,

wind chime frame.
wind chime frame.

This wind chime frame is centrally placed just behind the pond. It makes lovely melodical sounds on a breezy day!!.

Saturday 8 November 2014

It's going to be a ramble!!!

The post that is...and did you really expect anything else from me after such a long silence??? Again!!!

Well I have been incredibly busy trying to get on top of things...and then relaxing and cooking and working and cleaning and improving...inn fact October was a very busy and productive month!!

The allotment certainly resembles more of an allotment now than it does a pasture and there are crops growing nicely for the winter.

I finally got all the potatoes out of the ground, half or the plot had had a winter dig in preparation for the colder months and most of the trees have had a real good pruning.

Still a few trees to prune but I ma waiting for the green bins to be emptied this week before I can finish those and at that point I will be able to get the last bit of winter digging/weeding done too!!

Last weekend the weather changed and the temperatures dropped phenomenally...can't complain though after all the lovely weather we had in October...and so warm.... there were times when I was still just working in a t-shirt!

Right now I am sat on the sofa and outside it's cold and wet....this is a gives me time to sit and relax and let all of you know what I have been doing...and even though it's raining I am happy with where I am right now as regards work done an yet to be done on the plot. I have even managed to get the garlic and broad beans in on time this year...Yay me!!!!

Another one of my work colleagues is pregnant and I have something in the pipeline for that which I will share with you on completion...and now the colder and darker days are here it is time to get out my knitting and finish those jumpers I started last is for a friend and I would really like to get it to her before Christmas...Laura if you're reading this, don't worry I haven't forgotten!!

Trojan is as adorable as ever and is currently laid flat out and occasionally snoring in front of the T.V. but don't worry, it's not on....I don't like him to watch too much hehehe!!

As for the hubby and the boys they are bickering about WOW...the joys of computer

Of course on top of all that I have been playing a lot with the dehydrator and coming up with some delicious...and a couple of gross goodies. I do have a cook book for it but most of the time I have just been winging it with creativity and seeing what happens!!

I'm quite surprised.... this isn't as much of a ramble as I expected..... and I now seem to be running out of things to say. I do have plenty of photos to share but thought I would do that over the next week so as not to inundate you with too much after such a long silence and I am sure you will all appreciate more pictures and a lot less words over the next week after this!!

So I guess that's I have time to catch up with you all.

Have a great weekend!!

Sunday 12 October 2014

Spinning the Honey.

So I have been back to the allotment and got a little more done but I figured there are only so many times you want to hear me say 'I weeded' and only so many photos of dirt you want to look at so instead I will transport you back to May!!

So back on the 30th May I removed my first 'super' from the hive to be able to get some honey.

It was quite an exciting thing to be doing and I also had some help from my friend Kate and my nephew James.

Kate was shocked to find that she was scared of the hives last year when I first got them but really wanted to help with the honey spinning.

James my middle nephew bless him was my muscle and carried the honey laden supers home for me to start spinning.

Now for the fun pictures to show you how it's done!!!

Frames from the supers, uncapped and ready for the spinner.
Frames from the supers, uncapped and ready for the spinner.
Uncapping knife and wax cappings ready to go back to the hive to be cleaned up.
Uncapping knife and wax cappings ready to go back to the hive to be cleaned up.

Frames loaded into the spinner, (4 will fit in), ready to be spun.
Frames loaded into the spinner, (4 will fit in), ready to be spun.
Then turn the handle and watch gravity do it's thing and spin the honey out of the frames and into the drum.
Then turn the handle and watch gravity do it's thing and spin the honey out of the frames and into the drum.
Then open the tap and watch the liquid gold pour out of the tap into the filters!!
Then open the tap and watch the liquid gold pour out of the tap into the filters!!
So that's all there is to it...easy right?? Well not as such. I got 28 12 ounce jars out of one super so you can imagine how incredibly heavy they are to carry initially and when you first load them into the spinner it is hard work starting to spin but gets easier as the honey comes out.

also it is vitally important to check that the tap is sealed tightly before you start to spin as otherwise it starts pouring honey out straight away...and yes you have probably guessed right in the fact that I didn't check this so I did lose some honey on the chair and the floor, Trojan didn't seem to mind one bit though and thoroughly enjoyed trying to clean it u before me!!

As you take the cappings off you obviously get little bits of wax left behind and this ends up in the honey spinner, this is where the filtering comes in. This mean after you have done all this you then need to leave it to filter over night before you put it into your jars.

My first spinning took about four hours which I didn't think was too bad but I managed to shave an hour off this the second time round when I had more confidence, had got a knack for removing the cappings, oh and didn't have to stop to clean honey off the furniture and floors because I remembered to check the tap first!!

Friday 10 October 2014

I am such a wally!!!!!!!

Why am I a wally?? Well because I just sat down to write an update post to only realise that I didn't actually publish the last post that I you are going to get two for one here. It makes it a little lengthy but I hope you enjoy!!

I Finally got to the allotment!!

So at the weekend...Saturday to be precise, I finally got down the allotment. It has been so long since I managed to get down there that shamefully it looks like this....

a VERY weedy allotment
a VERY weedy allotment

and believe me when I say it looks like that EVERYWHERE!!!!

Because I knew I had so much to do I got up well I would like to say bright and early but we have got to the time of year where it's now dark again at 5am!! So anyway I was up early to get a few things sorted at home, get some washing done and then by 7am I was across the fields with a very happy Trojan. We had a lovely walk and when I got home my first load of washing was about dry. BONUS!!

So as I was saying I got up the allotment quite early but I hadn't been there 5 minutes when I encountered this.....

heavy rain showers
heavy rain showers
 Needless to say I sheltered in the greenhouse for a while as it was pretty heavy for a time.

It did ease off eventually and I did get a little of the weeding done but not nearly as much as I would have liked.

So that was Saturday done and dusted with very little in the way of work done but I did get to spend some time curled up with my book so it wasn't all bad.

Well that's it for now...but I have plans to catch up with everyone this week and try and get you all caught up on what's been happening my end so watch this space!!!

Two hours well spent!!

So this was going to be todays post...I have decided under the circumstances to keep it brief and to the point!!

It was a beautiful day today....quite warm. very little wind, blues skies.
The weather for the weekend looks pretty grim so I took advantage of a couple of spare hours and got stuck into this...

more and more weeds
more and more weeds
and yet a couple of hours later I was proudly looking at.....

freshly dug soil
freshly dug soil
Now don't get me wrong there is still LOTS more to be done but I made a nice dent it in today and though tired and a little achy I am very satisfied with todays achievement!!

Here's hooping the weather men have got the forecast for the weekend wrong whilst I'm on a roll!!

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Dehydration...not always a bad thing..... least not when you are applying it to your food!!

Let me start at the beginning. Last year a friend of mine signed a contract to carry out a job in London and asked me if I would like to borrow 'Excalibur' whilst she was away. Excalibur being a food dehydrator. Of course I jumped at the chance to have a play and enjoyed doing some experimenting. But as with all good things I received a text message and the playtime came to an end!!

So what was I to do??

Look into buying my own of course!!

There are lots of dehydrators out there, different makes, models and designs and, to be honest 'Excalibur' is probably the most expensive on the market but my friend had tried a few before going for that model and found that none were as good.

So this left me doing a little research and purchasing my own dehydrator.

UK Juicers

I got my dehydrator from!! UK Juicers as after much research nowhere could do me a better deal...including Ebay.

Postage was free standard next day delivery with a text giving me an hours delivery slot. The dehydrator was packaged securely.

Excalibur food dehydrator.

So this is the front of the dehydrator. The door totally removes in order for you to get the trays out. I went for the ten tray model.....

Excalibur food dehydrator.

....with the timer on it so that I didn't have to worry about putting it on whilst I was out. It is quite big and a little noisy so mine lives in the shed. This way it isn't take space up in the house and the noise doesn't bother us.

I also got.....

dehydrator parraflex sheets

some parraflex sheets too. These aren't necessary for drying dry foods but they are easier to use than cling film if you intend on making fruit leathers and such. I purchased 5 of these as I didn't feel I would need one for each shelf.

also included with the dehydrator was your usual users manual with some handy tips and a few recipes plus an extra book free of charge.

Excalibur, preserve it naturally, complete dehydration food guide.

This is a great book with lots of recipe ideas and tips to help you make the best out of your dehydrator that usually retails at £18.95 so I was very happy to get it free of charge!!

So there we have latest purchase in order to help me to make the most of the produce I grow and also create some other things whilst I'm at it.

My total purchase cost was £328. So certainly not cheap but after getting the chance to 'try before I buy' I know this is a good investment for me!!

I will let you know in time some of the things I try out.

Still not totally up on everything but hoping to get caught up with some of my favourite blogs over the next few days and also hoping it won't be another week before I get another post up!!

Wednesday 10 September 2014

I have a plan.......


Sorry that's as good as it gets. This year I have been so bad at everything and organising to get things done has been none existent. Now don't get me wrong I have got plenty done...just not the right stuff at the right time and this had led to some disasters regarding planting, harvesting and making things.

I guess it has kind of been a busy year and I have helped others out quite a bit and then with committee commitments as well I think I have let it all get away form me. I haven't had chance to catch up with my favourite blogs let alone write posts of my own but things are going to change. I need to get back that me time where I kick back in front of the computer and enjoying both my reading and writing and I am going to worry less about what others may think of my haphazard ways.

This isn't sounding very organised so far is it?? Oh well...I guess I will sort something out...I think the main thing at the minute is just to take one day time and not let things get on top of me and I will catch up eventually.

Many things have happened over the past few weeks (or is it months?? I could check but that might be depressing so I won't even bother!!) We had an  event in the village which was nice and I had a little stall selling my honey...yes that's right I got some of my own honey which I will tell you about later in the week.

I tackled my jungle of a was really bad...but it is again now so I need to get back on it again.

We had the annual veg and flower show. It went well but due to my bad planning this year I didn't have much to enter though I did get a second prize for my Blackcurrant jelly.

I went to a wedding.

I did tidy the wouldn't know it to look at it now though.

Oh and I have had plenty of trials and tribulations with the bees.

These will all be posts to come and I am hoping to get the time over the next few weeks to write plenty on short instalments so as not to bore you all to death and include plenty of photos...after all photos are so much nicer to look at than reams of writing on a page.

With that in mine I will let you all go now...after all my thoughts are kind of scatter brained and I am really going nowhere so I will give you a nice random picture to look at now and my next post will be a lot more coherent in my next post and have some sort of reason to it. Well at least I hope it will!!

Happy Wednesday to you all!!!

Grantham town to Barrowby Vilage.
This is the walk from our local town heading towards
our village. I love the fact that you get the greenery
before you reach the village.It's a welcome sight
after leaving the built up areas.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Hi Peeps.....

I neglected to tell people that we were going away...of course we are now home but at least there was a real reason for my silence this time.

We had a lovely time on holiday at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest. Of course Trojan came to and was a really good boy and loved walking in the woods.

Whilst we were on holiday Trojan also had his birthday. Of course we don't know the day he was born so decided to make his birthday on the day we first brought him home and this year that just happened to whilst on holiday...what better way than to spend your birthday!!

Then yesterday just 1 year, 1 week and 1 day after bringing Trojan home I held a party (it is a very uncommon thing for me!!) Lot's of strangers coming into the house and yet Trojan was an absolute star!! He greeted people he had never met before with his head held high and his tail wagging. He played ball and rolled over for belly rubs with people he had just met and waited patiently and took offered food gently. For those of you that have been readers for a while you will know what a major accomplishment this was for him.

Love him to bits, our family wouldn't be complete without him!!!

Of course we have many photos of holiday but here are just a Of Trojan and his buddy Louie on holiday!!

Trojan loved the rivers and lakes
Trojan loved the rivers and lakes

Lovely Louie
Lovely Louie

Tired boy
Tired boy

Waiting patiently for a treat!!
Waiting patiently for a treat!!

So that is all I have for you right now.....just a little titbit to keep you going until I get a decent post put up and believer me there are still a few!!

Hope you are all keeping well and have been enjoying the summer!!

Monday 11 August 2014

Bertha, be gone..... can just go and leave us alone now!!

I should say that everyone has heard about Bertha in one way or another...starting out as a hurricane and then slowing down to storm standards as it travelled.

Luckily I suppose we were only hit by 'Bertha the strom' but i have had enough of it now.

Yes that rain was welcome for the land....but the amount of rain in such a short space of time has created problems in many areas.

Where I live we aren't prone to flooding but when the rains come as heavy as they did the drains struggle to manage for a while and the earth struggles to suck it in so we are left with some huge puddles and streets that...well I'll just show you....

Flooded streets of Barrowby
My parents moved to a riverside dwelling.

Flooded streets watering the verges.
Flooded streets watering the verges.

Taking a stroll down the road?? River!!
Taking a stroll down the road?? River!!

So as you can see...the heavy rain really did flood the whole street for a while. Trojan initially tried to jump OVER the road but when he only managed halfway drenching by him and me in the process he decided it wasn't so bad after all and strolled down the centre of it instead!!

The water didn't last long...once the rains eased and the drains could again cope it started to recede and it never does any damage to properties for which we are very thankful...none the less it's a sight to behold on the rare occasions this does happen.

These photos were taken last Friday...we have since had heavy rains again and repeats of this as well as some serious wind which isn't doing the fruit trees much. I have no doubt the the water will be good for the crops...however I was perfectly happy with our dry hot summer and hope that this doesn't mean the end of it!!

Friday 8 August 2014

Bee plot update and birthday Prezzies!!

So again it has been a while since I last posted but this time I can tell you that I have truly been a busy little bee!!

Summer break for the schools started two weeks ago which means it also did for me and I have used the time wisely getting things sorted and in place and I am now actually quite proud to share some allotment pictures with you.

Today it will be the bee for any new readers or for those that just want a little reminder just go here for a reminder of what things were like just a year ago and then revel in the wonderful pictures of what I , (with plenty of help from Juliette I might add...oh and of course Annabel and Elysia too.....) have achieved for the bee plot so far. It isn't totally finished yet but I have to say I am really pleased with the way things are looking so far!!

P.S., Busy weekend ahead so I will be catching up with you all at the end of it and showing you the veg side of the allotment plot too!!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Barrowby Allotments Annual bbq, 20 July 2014

So we are still casting back in time...this time a week yet again to our annual bbq.

It was a good day for us and the weather held out with nice sunshine right until the bitter end...unfortunatley not for the clearing up though!!

It was quite well attended and we saw a few new faces this year. I'll let the pictures tell you a little more (just hover over them for descriptions)!!

at 12 on the dot it was a mad rush for the food!!

Lovely homemade tarts with homegrown fruit.

A selection of sdrinks for the children.

A few people were photographing this memorable event...haha

Lovely relaxing settings for the bbq

everyone kept realy busy serving and socialising.

children were welcome

dogs were welcome on leads.

a selection of jams were available to buy from an allotment holder

visitors were free to take a stroll and look round the allotments.

It was definitely 'Service with a smile!!'

All meat and bread was sourced from the local butchers.

People mingled and chatted once they had their food and drink.

Allotments holders donated produce for sale to attendees.

Homemade Spiced cake, available fot £1  slice.

Another wonderful homemade cake.

A selection of beers for the men.

Wonderful salads prepared and grown at home or the plot.

A selection of wines for the ladies

Beautifully cooked meat.

a selection of chilli and fried onions.

rice salads

Kettle was on if anyone fancied a cuppa.

live music from the locals throughout the bbq was lovely.

And then there was the raffle with a good selection of prizes.

Can you spot me?? I was kind of hungry!!
The tart cut beautifully and tasted wonderful.

Hopefully the day was enjoyed by all who attended.

Well I hope you enjoyed joining us at the bbq, I will show you what happened at the end next time!!!