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text 2018-02-10 09:36
Gettin' Figgy With It...



Our neighbour two doors down is a young divorced dad, more intent on reclaiming bachelordom than on what's growing in his garden (he rents the house), so when MT saw his massive fig tree loaded with huge fruit, he asked said neighbour if he'd mind our picking a few.  Not only did he not care, he told us to come over any time and pick all we want.  So we did.  Today was our first go, and we learned a lot for next time (wear hats, bring a ladder), but we ended up with 1.5kg of figs (just over 3 pounds), so I made jam!


Next haul, I'll take pictures of the fruit - they're huge!  And I'll be making fig paste.  ;)

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text 2018-02-01 05:58

I promise not to swamp the feed, but...we just went out to check on the Bettys and NOW we have proper action shots!



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text 2018-02-01 02:14

The newest members of Arca de Noé arrived last night, after dark:

No, not a tombstone.  Or a filing cabinet.


This morning's view:


There are bees pouring in and out of it, although you can't see them in the photo (my action photo skills rely entirely on chance and luck).  They'll spend the day today, we're told, just buzzing around in a cloud in front of the hive trying to figure out what the hell happened last night and why everything has been moved.  We'll give them a wide berth until they've sussed out the neighbourhood, but tomorrow I'll be planting a few more flowering plants to make them feel properly welcomed.


Allow me to introduce you to the Bettys (here represented by their spokes bee, Betty):


Happy days!

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review 2018-01-27 10:07
The Bee Friendly Garden: Easy Ways to Help the Bees and Make Your Garden Grow
The Bee Friendly Garden: Easy Ways to Help the Bees and Make Your Garden Grow - Doug Purdie

I think I mentioned in a post just after Christmas that MT got me bees for Christmas.  An old schoolmate of his runs a beehive management business, and either Tuesday or Wednesday next week, after dark, he's delivering our hives to us.  MT has decreed that all the bees will be named Barry.  I've pointed out that all the worker bees are female, which temporarily stumped him.  I'm sure by the time I finish this review he'll have rallied.  Stay tuned.


Anyway, my garden is pretty close to jungle status as is, but I'm always looking for excuses to plant new things, and our bees need to feel welcomed.  But I know not all flowers are bee friendly (size, shape, and whether or not they make pollen/nectar), so I wanted a list of particular plants the bees would love.  Our bee guy recommended this book, and MT bought it for me for my birthday, and I guilted him into giving it to me a day early, because he also gave me this cold.


The Bee guy did not steer me wrong.  This is a great book for anyone who just wants to attract more bees to their garden.  It's a tiny bit preachy - he's (rightfully) passionate about NOT spraying your garden - but there's a lot of compelling reason to preach it.  Without bees we can kiss about 80% of our food goodbye and bees are in serious decline world wide.  


The Bee Friendly Garden is strongly geared toward Australia, primarily in the chapters where he discusses native bees (some of which are SO cool), but more than half the book would be useful to anyone, as a lot of the suggestions are geared toward the European honey bee and the plant lists are almost universal in their availability.


I now have a list of plants to look for at the nursery.  Now I just have to find a place to put them.  


Update:  MT has named all the bees Betty.

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review 2018-01-26 10:41
Nature's Ways: lore, legend, fact and fiction
Nature's Ways: Lore, Legend, Fact and Fiction - Ruth Binney

MT caught a cold and shared it with me, so I'm short on attention span and long on grumpiness at the moment (and on a 3 day weekend too!, she wails), so I'm clearing out the books from my TBR that are 'easy'; bite sized chunks of fact rather than narratives that require more than 2 consecutive minutes of concentration.


Nature's Way is just such a book.  1 page of small nuggets, each relating to an animal, plant, health, superstition, etc.  Each one covers more myth, legend and lore than fact, but they're interesting, even if not likely to be useful even on the odd Trivial Pursuit game night.


Easy to flick through, put down, and pick up, it's perfect for those times when you're brain is too busy mustering up an immune response to focus on anything ... else.

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