The last two days have seen us getting up close to animals other than our usual farm ones.
Yesterday a Damian found a giant brown snake in the process of eating a lizard. After many calls we finally got a handler to come and take it away, though it was less the cooperative about going in the bag. This was our third close encounter with a large brown near the house in a few weeks so we are hoping it was the same snake and now we can enjoy a break.
This morning our day started with our first ever attempt at harvesting honey from our Warre hive. Elody and I did very well, the bees did too and it all went very smoothly. Sadly there was either brood or uncapped honey in every comb we checked, so we couldn’t harvest anything. I need to research a bit more how to manage the Warre.
Tonight we shot a kangaroo… our own way….This old mama roo has taken up residence around our house. For years she has spent most of her time near us raising her babies. This year she also has a gorgeous joey who is too big for the pouch but still gets his head in to nurse. Over the last few months she has become very slow and calm and is always right next to the house. Recently, she has become very skinny and we have been concerned about her health. We contacted Wildcare who sent out some experts to assess her. They thought she is just old and in OK condition considering, but they suggested treating her with a spot on wormer just in case. So here is Damian getting as close as possible and shooting the medicine on her… let’s hope it helps!
Our beekeeping neighbour invited us over to see his hives as he was opening big them up today for an inspection.
He has 3 standard Langstroth hives which looked healthy but pretty quiet.
From the viewing Windows it seemed that our bees were doing great and had filled their 2 boxes so we had been charged beside ring adding a third one to make sure they didn’t swarm in the spring. The neighbour initially advised against it but when he saw how strong the hive was he agreed that we should add one, so we did.
We pulled out a few frames of the top box and saw there was lots of honey but also brood. To my surprise the whole thing was not stuck together and we only broke one comb with some honey spill, but hopefully nothing too tragic. Definitely next time we’ll be opening on our own so we can do what we want (which probably means do less and break less).
First ever hive inspection today. All well. We didn’t see the queen but there was heaps of brood, strangely they are bringing in very little pollen but they still seem to be raising brood so some pollen must be going in.
There was one chaulk brood cell but apparently one is OK.
We added a second box as they had nearly filled the first one.
we gave just finished our 2 weeks in Queensland and we’ve picked up a bunch of ideas for expanding the farm visit business.
The main ideas that have emerged from this trip are:
1. Educational bee hives
2. Overnight farm experience
3. Berry patch
1. In order to safely have the kids interact with the bees we may need to have a hive with a clear side and adjoin it to a window. This could be done by cutting out a viewing window in the craft shed or by using the sunroom. Placing walls made of fly screen strategically can then help make sure the bees stay away from kids.
Must also workout what kind of hive, currently leaning towards a foundationless langstroth where the bees have 2 bottom boxes to themselves which I never open. The top box can then be a Flow hive light with 3-4 flow frames in the middle and foundationless frames on either side to get comb and wax.
2. For this we need to fit 4 beds in the blue room. This can be done with a loft bed, or a queen and bunk. A cool idea would be to build a platform above the current queen for 2 kids mattresses to be. We would also need a decent veggie patch
The experience would be a summer only to start with so that meals can be served outside or in the sunroom.
People would arrive around 4-5 pm and be served one of Damian’s berry and mint mockstails on arrival. Then we’d go and pick some veggies for the pizza. While that’s being made we can collect eggs.
After dinner we’d go for a spotlight wildlife tour.
In the morning we’d milk the goat then have the milk with pancakes made from our eggs and berries and honey and yoghurt.
After brekkie we’d feed everyone then finish with…. Need a final activity. (Maybe cheese making it honey collection. Take home a small jar). They leave at 11 am.
3. Would be nice to have a mixed berry patch where people can pick their own. This would be on top of our house berries