Friday, February 28, 2014

My Bees Hate Me.

I have 2 beehives now.  The first was given to us and hadn't had anything done with it for a couple of years.  The bees are dark and nasty, aggressive little sods that want to sting anyone that goes near their hive.  If someone actually gets up close and starts to work around it...they come out in the thousands and chase you away.  Well they try to anyway and a few months ago they did, they chased me away every time.   They made me squeal and run walk quickly away.   Now though, not so much.  I have put me big girl panties overalls on and braved the swarm of people hating bees. 
I've been out there a few times over the last week, since the husband put on another super for me.  By myself which is good 'cept there is no-one to see how brave I am being.

The hive now has 4 boxes and the top one needs extracting.  Soon.  I was going to do it yesterday but this hive is in amongst bushes and long grass and after seeing that snake the other day I wasn't going to be in there.  So yesterday I cut back some branches and whippersnippered the long grass around the hive.  They didn't like that!!    I quickly left and went back later to rake it all clear.  Spoke to husband last night to find out my next step.  "Crack the hive" he says.  Ummm, OK...How do I do that.
This morning before Vinnies I dressed for success and went out there to 'crack the hive"   Smoker stops smoking so back in and get that going again.  I *fixed* this smoker yesterday and I think I fixed it wrong because it doesn't seem to stay alight as well now.  I will unfix it if it happens again.  With bees buzzing around me and dive-bombing my head I tried to get the hive tool under the top-box.  It was stuck down tight but I eventually managed to get it under the edge but when trying to prise it off the edges broke away.  This box is/was the original box and has wood-rot through it.  Tried a different spot, then another. I did manage to get the tool under and shifted the box a little bit over.  This is supposed to make it easier and cleaner when I go out to lift the box off for extracting.  Another Hmmm here.  The box is heavy and too high for me to lift off.  My plan is to extract a few frames at a time until the box is light enough for me to lift.  If husband helps me he will lift it off but either way it needs to be *cracked*

And I was supposed to buy some kilo buckets to put the honey in.  I haven't and I can't find my big bucket so not sure what to do with this honey tomorrow.  I need to stay on top of things.  Not sure why I don't but it sure would be less stressful if I did.  I now have a few things that need doing by tomorrow whereas I have had a couple of months to get organised but didn't.  HoHum.

Eventually we will re-queen this hive and the new bees will be quiet and docile....  My new bees will not hate me...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pip: Permaculture Magazine

A couple of weeks ago my daughter was here and told me about a new Australian Permaculture magazine that was hoping to get printed and *out there*.. She talked me into pledging and I thought it was a good idea but then promptly forgot about it.  As I do. 

But I'm sorry that I didn't put something about it on here so that a few more people may have seen it and become involved.

It may be too late now but I still hope that someone might find it interesting.  Here is the link, go have a look and let me know what you think of it.

Have you seen it before and did you think it was worth becoming involved with? 

So Much To Do. Because I Don't Do It!

I have been spending a bit of time working out in the gardens but still haven't planted enough of anything.  So much for getting the food production up.  I'm blaming the hot weather but really it is me not doing anything.

I went out for lunch last Friday then out the caravan for what was supposed to be a few days but turned into only overnight.     Mobile phones have a lot to answer for...Get home Sat lunchtime, have the grandkid there who is staying overnight and because it is hot we are mostly inside where it was cooler.  We'd go out for a bit then come back in then out again, in again...Early evening I go out to do a few things, wandering round barefoot as I do, as I tell the kids not to do...I keep thinking that the bleedin' grass needs mowing again and I only did it a week ago...I finish up and walk around the front as husband is getting home so we sit down out there and no sooner than we do when he says "snake"  I look and see the tail disappearing into through the drum gardens into the messy pen where I have put chooks to try and get the grass down...Bugger!   He says it was maybe under our chairs and w disturbed it.  Hmm, I am the one now disturbed.  It is too overgrown in the pen it went into to see where it went but he says it was in a hurry and will be gone real quick.  Yeah right, he'll say such things to make me feel better but I know it is in there waiting for me to forget about him and walk in there with no shoes on to dig up some spuds or try and clean up a bit.    I really need to staple my boots to my feet so that I have them on all the time so my toes wont get eaten by these things...HoHum, maybe I just need to keep ALL the grass and edges around the house clear and tidy, free of piles of weeds, buckets, bits of wood other hideyhole places ALL the time.
Needless to say, early the next morning I was out there mowing and whippersnippering.  Got must of it done but by 8.30 it was so darn hot I finished up.  And here we are 2 days later and I haven't done anymore since. 

I was at Vinnies yesterday, Monday is my all-day day.  It was quiet and there weren't many customers but close to closing time a few people came in.  I was in the brickabrack room looking through  tidying the books when this bloke comes in, says how hot it is outside, how he and his wife are on their way home, mentioned her having a van...I went out to meet her, what a woman, I want to be like her.  So I came home and got poor ol' neglected Wanda out and will spent some of today getting her cleaned up so I too can go on an adventure.

I also need to get onto the bee stuff as apparently, according to husband, I am too slack in that area and need to keep on top of them and why haven't I put that extra box on yet...Ummm because we looked at them not long ago, I suggested it, you said they weren't ready yet...Apparently they can become ready within days, I know the Redgum is out and I need to keep a check on them...HoHum, I am a bad beekeeper.  Must get out there and have a look today but not sure what I am supposed to be looking for...He ended up putting the box on one night after work...when I was out the beach relaxing.  Thanks Darl, I'll *check* the other hive aye?  No he did that one too.  He is such a darl, I am such a slacko.

And, I have the cheek to ask for a bucket of honey so I have a spare.  So funny.  He works with an Apiarst, does bees all day then comes home and has to do mine, the ones I really really wanted and will learn all about so he doesn't have to do anything with them and then I ask for a bucket of their honey.  I do have a bucket of Redgum in the shed, processed by me from the scrapings left here last year but you can never have too much honey can you.   I'm waiting for them to get onto the Jarrah though as that is my favourite but they don't do that every year and I only have a small amount left.  Maybe 3 kilo, haha, like that is not much.  When I/we/he do my next extraction here we'll be rolling in it.  Or not as that would be very sticky.

Breakfast now then the van.  Or should I look at the hives before it gets too hot?  I have to get the mower out again and the gardens need more mulch on them...Oh, it's all so hard!  Coffee first then decide.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cut Down On Chemicals.

There is a lot of information out there in webland on why it isn't good to use so many chemicals and telling people how to stop using *poisons* on themselves and in their homes and some sites even come up with ways on how to go about it.  In theory, I think the less chemical/poisons we use the better.  But!  I live with a smoker so how serious about it all can I be?   I can't change the smoker but I can choose to buy and use less of the man made muck that seems to be everywhere and in everything.

I have Fibromyalgia and many many years ago I started to think that all the chemicals and poisons that we used wouldn't be helping.  Tiredness and stress were big contributors for me but I was pretty sure that different chemicals that seem to be everywhere and in everything played a big part in it all too.

After a bit of thinking about it all I decided to see if I could try and cut some of the chemical use out.  But there were so many, everywhere...  In everything...Where to start?   And now, so many years later I can't remember where I started, what *poison* I stopped using first.  I knew that a lot of the deodorants made me come up with a rash but I eventually found one that didn't and used that for a couple of years until it too started stinking and making it hard to breath when it was applied.   So I stopped using deodorant unless I was going out somewhere but I was more stinky so I started spraying myself with Vinegar.  Normal white vinegar as that is what I had.   It didn't stop the sweating but it did seem to inhibit that stinky smell that comes with working hard and getting up a sweat.  I know, who'd have thought, me doing enough to get up enough of a sweat to actually be smelly.  But yep, it happens.  Not so much now though.  Because I spray myself with Vinegar.    I also like putting powder/talc on after a shower but read that that wasn't good for you either.  But I liked the feel of it.  So I started using Cornflour and Bi-Carb as a powder deodorant.  The first time I tried this it seemed to work OK but after a week or so I noticed that I was getting a bit of a rash so stopped using it.  Started again after reading about others using it but changed the amounts that I used.  I now use slightly less Bi-Carb than Cornflour and that seems to work without the rash and soreness.  I put in on after a shower and again in the morning before getting dressed.  If anyone decides to try this mix then you may have to experiment with the amounts until you find what works for you.  Others use different concoctions on themselves, some are quite complicated but I am a simple soul and like simple things.  I am also lazy and tight so the more simple the better for me.

The shampoo and conditioner were the next to go.   That was easy as I have short hair and I am lazy and tight and rarely go to the shops so not buying this was a no brainer.  Just don't buy it any more.  See, easy.  There is a bottle in the shower still that has been there for close on 2 years.  One day I might take it out and put it away but I leave it there in case the shampoo that the husband uses gets empty and he needs it.  That is my excuse anyway.   Me, I just rub my head while standing under the shower and the dirt and sweat gets washed away down the drain.  

Soap is over-rated too.  You know if you use a flannel/wash cloth you can get just as clean?  Yep, you don't need soap in the shower to be clean.  A rub down with a flannel works really well.  I do use  soap when washing my hands at the bathroom basin, after being in the loo, after digging out in the dirt, sometimes before eating...

I use detergent for washing the dishes but usually nothing for clothes washing.  The clothes are washed in a twin tub machine in cold water.  I do sometimes use some homemade laundry powder on husbands work clothes but mostly not.

All those smelly toilet sprays that you can buy?  You don't need them.   I have a box of matches and a spray bottle with Vinegar with a Vanilla pod in it in there if anyone wants to spray anything .  And those horrible scented toilet and use unscented but cloth is nicer and works better...

Most of the awful over scented cleaners are not needed and there are dozens of natural recipes that will help you get your house clean if you wanted to use something.  A regular wipe-over with a damp cloth works just as well...or so I have been told...

Over the years I have been trying to cut down on toothpaste use and even when we were kids we were taught to just use a tiny bit.  You don't need to cover all the bristle on the brush like they show you in the ads.  I have at various time used salt, nothing, Bi-Carb, but always seemed to *forget* and go back to toothpaste.  It was there, it was easier...Over the last couple of weeks I have made a concerted effort and now believe that I will stick with the Bi-Carb.  I have it in a pretty container on the bench next to the toothpaste and brushes so it is now no harder to get to.  It used to taste horrible too or was that all in my though, no yucky taste and no foamy mouth like the toothpaste.  I think it is more the brushing that cleans your teeth not the paste so maybe even the Bi-Carb is not needed but for now I will stick with that.

There are so many ways that you can cut down on the use of chemicals and I know that many of you already do but if not why not try and rid yourself and your home of something this month.  Choose something to not use, try it for a few weeks and let me know what you think.  Do you need to go back to spending lots of money on products or can you use less and be just as happy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February, 2014. What's Growing...

We are getting a bit of food from the gardens still, enough to not have to go the shops every month but there are a few things that I have bought lately and no longer want to.   Watermelon is one of these things.  I love Watermelon and it is one of the things that I look forward to with the warm weather but I cannot seem to grow them.  Last year we had 2 or 3 but none like the ones that the shops sell and we didn't get any this year though I planted some.  This year, next Summer, I want to not have to buy any. 

We are growing and eating:
Sweet Potato. Potato, Tomato, Capsicum, Chilli...surely there is other stuff out there...Will soon have Eggplant, not that we are that keen on that but these 2 plants came up by themselves and are doing really well with fruit and all so if I can't give them away we will have to find a way to eat them.
There are pumpkins coming on and the JA's are flowering...So much should be available but sadly, because I slacked off too much, the quantity and variety is not there...

We are still getting Grapes but lost most of them to birds and wasps because I didn't get the netting and bags on them soon enough.  Figs are ready but the tree is in the chookpen and they like them too...Strawberries...Not much other fruit but soon there will be apples.  If I get some bags on them to stop the Parrots and other birds.   The Strawberry Guavas are fruiting and ripe but we only eat those if I am out there in that pen and pick a couple otherwise it's used as free chookfood.  Hmmm, that doesn't sound like a lot of fruit.  Some Passionfruit but the main vine is way passed it's prime and none of the other 3 are anywhere near as productive.   Boysenberries are just finishing...There is one lot of bananas out there but they are a few weeks away yet.  Maybe I need to work on getting more types of fruit that we can have over the Summer months.  I need to learn how to grow Melons.  I will learn how to grow Melons...

The chooks are starting to lay again but these chooks are very hit and miss with their egg laying and we have this circle thing going.  I tell them that if they lay more eggs then I will be more inclined to feed them more bought food but they want more bought food first, I give it to them they don't lay as well as I think they should...What I want is a flock of chooks that can look after itself in getting enough food from the grass, the bugs, the mice, the scraps they get...Ideally, I will never buy commercial food again...Husband says that's not possible if I want eggs but I believe it can be.  I just have to get the right chooks, the ones that know what I expect from them.  You the bugs and lay me eggs and I won't chop your head off and eat you...Sounds reasonable doesn't it?  Or am I asking too much?  I *know* there are people out there that don't buy in food and they still get eggs...I want to be one of those people.  Buy nothing in, send nothing out...That is my goal!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gunna Grow More Food.

Another warm day here and more to come.   I have been getting the garden beds cleaned out and ready to plant into when it cools down a bit.   I need to do this as I have decided that I am going to plant many more vegetables this year.  I want to grow more than enough for us with plenty to give away too.  I know I can, I have before but slacked off last year and I did let most of the growing areas get out of control.

T came out and helped pull weeds and grass out of the tank gardens yesterday then I put a few chooks under netting in the big tank garden...was going to do that again today but am dog-sitting and he is too keen to get close to them.  He goes home tomorrow so over the weekend I will put half a dozen or so out there again and hopefully they will clean up all the slaters and other bugs and grubs that are there.   I have been throwing grass clippings on these gardens and the soil is not toooo bad but can be improved.  I have had the sprinklers on it getting it damp and next week, after the chooks have scratched around and done their job, I will cover it with chook yard mulch and throw on some cow manure too.  Anything really, then I will put the chooks back in for another scratch around.

I need to get stuff that I want to eat during the cold weather in and as I can never remember what should be planted when I will need to look up some sites that will tell me.   Gardenate seems to be an OK site and I do get emails from them but with this new computer I can't find the ones from last year.

I was going to buy some seedling a few days ago but was too tight to fork out the money for plants that I could grow myself from seeds that I already have...Now I need to make sure that I am not too lazy to get the seeds planted and growing so that I can get them in the ground.

What are your gardens like?  What do you plan to plant for Winter?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Have The New Computer.

I have the new computer, bought because the old one kept having problems and eventually they said no point paying out more money...a new one would be better.  Not happy but OK, I will buy a new one.

I was supposed to pick it up Thursday, it wasn't ready, went down Friday afternoon, payed the money and brought it home.  I connected everything, plugged it in, turned it on...nope, didn't work.  I just got a no signal message.   Rang the guy who wasn't much help, he had ideas but not anything that I could do then to get it going.  Feeling cranky now...  This morning I disconnect it all and ask Husband to connect it up again, you know, in case I am dumb and did it wrong.   He connected it all up, plugged it in and nothing.  Good, not me then.   The difference now is that he can, and did, look and see what the problem was.  It seemed that the signal cord wasn't connecting but he looked some more and noticed that it was too long to fit and unscrewed some screws to make it shorter and connected it.  Cool, thanks Darl, now I have a computer.    Jobs to do too though so no time for a play.  It saved me having to drive back to Harvey though to get the guy to work it out.

Time to play now, how do you connect with Windows 7?  Call the daughter and she comes out to have a look for me.   It doesn't connect to Internet.  Getting crankier.  Call the guy, talk about it with him...seems my modem is not compatible with Windows 7.   Quite cross now!  Drive the 25min back down to Harvey to buy a new modem.    Come home and dump the box on a chair, I am cranky and over it.    Husband comes in, we put it all together and I have Internet.     

So I have a new computer.  It took longer than he thought it would to transfer the old data over and even then not all of it happened.  I had to change to Windows 7, needed a new modem, I had to throw away the old bits and pieces...I always feel sad when stuff has to be thrown away.   I will take it to the FreeMarkets but who will want it...maybe someone.  

Sadly, I no longer love my computer.  I am hoping that it will come back though as I learn how it all works and I get back into everything.  Actually, I am looking forward to getting back into everything so maybe the love will come soon.  Maybe by Valentines Day I will love it again...

Friday, February 7, 2014



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Only took most of the day...

Finally got this to turn on...only took a million and twenty tries...Started trying at 5.30 this morning.  No idea how long it will stay on for though.   I have been told that it is the processor that is loose and doesn't keep the connection.  I was told to wiggle it.  Turn the power off and wiggle the fan unit to try and connect the processor underneath. 
I took photos of the computer laying on it's side, open to the world...The heart of it laying bear for all to see...I can't get the photos up though so you will just have to believe me about it all.  
Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't.  I am going out the beach tomorrow and will drop this off in Harvey on the way.  He will build me the new one, transfer whatever he needs to transfer...I will end up with Windows 7 which will probably bug me but I'm sure that I will get used to it.  I'm hoping that I will be able to get it connected by myself but if not I will try and get that book finished.

I need to turn it off now as I have too much to do but worry that I wont be able to get it going again later on...My life is sad, so sad.  I should rejoice if it doesn't start up as then I could defitately get the bookclub book finished.  And the floor washed.  I dropped an egg last night, yep last night.  Bit's of it are still stuck to the floor.  I am a complete and utter opposite to what I want to be. to have a pity party get the floor washed, the dished finished, the clothes put away, more stuff done...

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I am online for a bit but for how long only the Computer God knows.   I have ordered a new computer though so this one will proberly work for months now with no more issues...Too bad, it's agoing. 

I have been having trouble with this one for a few months now, it works, it doesn't work, I take it in and pay money to get it fixed, it works, it stops working so goes back to the shop...He fixes it, different problem so I pay more, it works, it doesn't, he gets it going for free...He knows what the problem is and tells me it will be expensive to fix, not really worth it considering the age of this one...He will build me a new one and use the new bits that he has put in this one and give me a discount too.  This time round it hasn't worked for nearly a fortnight and I finally got it down to the shop this morning thinking to leave it there untill next week when he can build the new one.  He fiddles with it and gets it going, shows me what he did in case it stops working again and tells me to return it next week...It works but I need to be quick with using it in case it stops again and I didn't watch close enough to what he showed me to do...

In the meantime, if no-one hears from me it is because I can't get this one to turn on.  Or I am out in the garden.  Or trying to get a book finished because I joined a book club...

When this one started having *issues* I more or less decided that I didn't need it fixed.  I could live a pretty decent life without it.  I would get so much done, my house would get tidy, all the books would get read, I would build a bookcase so that I could bring in the books that are out in the shed...But no, none of that happened.  None of that will happen so I may as well get a new one that I can use whenever I want to so that I have something to do when husband is home watching crap on the TV all night.  It will save me having to go to bed at 7.30 because I have nothing to do and there is crap being watched on the TV.

I am now going to have a coffee and read some blogs. I might get to yours before this thing stops again.

Are you reliant on your computer?  Could you happily go without it if it didn't work?  Or are you like me and though you don't need it you like it, want it, will get a new one so you have it...