The raspberries are currently still standing…..

Found a bug on my raspberries I hadnt seen before. As an upstanding citizen I captured it until I could identify it, in case it was a foreign species bought in on a plane which could decimate the agricultural industry of this country. Set about trying to identify it, only to discover there are 2000 species of Hemiptera alone in the UK. ITHINK it was a Pied Shieldbug, 3rd Instar…anyway put it back, it seemed very relieved. I expect it is a bug which is catastrophic for raspberries..

Aha! It appears to have worked.

Thought I would have a bash at regrowing my spring onions (scallions)  but cut them right down to just above the roots, before I read you were supposed to leave the whole root on. I put them in water for a few days and then repotted them, working on the hypothesis that they could root. They started to shoot quite quickly. Anway, this is the progress over a fortnight. Its good news for me because I live alone and get sick and tired of throwing out dried up ones from a large bunch. I only ever use one or two leaves now and again. The pot will have to come indoors during the winter. I tried Pak Choi but that didnt work, I think its been too hot ( we are in the middle of a heatwave here)  so am now trying with lettuce.  The sites say grow them all in water. How can it have any nutrients in if they are grown in water, I ask myself?  Last winter we had week after week of continual rain,storms and floods, the worst in living memory, I have onl2014-07-12 16.50.4620140726_192410y just been able to get my roof mended having been on a waiting list since Christmas. Now we have unusually hot weather ( for England). Who says global warming doesn’t exist? They should have been here last winter, never known anything like it! It felt like the end of the world, it was unbelievable.

Mosaiced CD wall plant holder -Stash bust project number….14

This was harder work than I expected as I found the CDs hard to cut. It does help if you soften them in hot water, but I am an old fogey and I found it hard on my hands.  I crazed the CD’s in the microwave, see windspinner post.  I did think of tiling the upper surface area but bunked off. It has to be sealed of course if it’s going to survive our winters!  Still, it looks OK, I can’t say I am looking forward to cutting up the hundred or so I have got left! Surprisingly, the grout did not dampen the shine. It’s currently rather precariously balanced as my numerous talents do not extend the drilling holes in walls! Every time I have tried it the thing falls down…( we can’t all be good at everything!)

I am not touching it!

I am not touching it!

Update on the update from the worlds worst beekeeper!

Capped honey.  Can you see which way up the hexagons should go? I wouldn't want to confuse the bees!

Capped honey. Can you see which way up the hexagons should go? I wouldn’t want to confuse the bees!

I promised I would give you an update on my bees……….well, hive A, the one that I took the bees from is a strong colony and is producing some honey. Hive B…dead as a doornail. No sign of any bees whatsoever. Hmmm…well it did reduce the numbers slightly in Hive A so may have had some benefit I suppose. It did work last year!

So I have decided to buy a mated queen, first time ever.

Prior to that I went to buy some foundation from Thornes. Now remember I was moaning about the old guard in beekeeping and how they mystify beekeeping and I never do anything right?

Overheard chummy conversation between shopkeeper and customer…..

‘ Of course there is a right way up for the hexagons’


‘Oh yes, if you put them up this way the bees can’t work out what to do with the foundation, that’s the right way, like this’

I am standing the other side of the aisle looking at the foundation in my hand…a right and wrong way to put the foundation into the hive? I turn it all ways, can I see any difference? Not at all. Meanwhile the conversation has moved on to judges at honey shows,

‘ You have to be a bit careful with this because some judges claim it produces a smell of pine resin. I’ve heard of some exhibits being disqualified!’

‘Really? Oh that’s a bit naughty isn’t it?……… Humph humph… After all I am sure it doesn’t state that in the rules!’

‘Oh yes, it’s very nit picky, but some judges have done it!’

I then go to purchase my stuff, and asked for some liquid smoke.

The man who was discussing hexagons is now standing next to me.

‘Liquid smoke! Surely you could just use water! Derisory laughter ‘ humph humph’.

Seller. ‘It actually smells of smoke!’

‘I thought that had been banned, it was for some time I am sure, you weren’t allowed to use it. humph humph’.

I mean for Gods sake! You see what I mean! Can some people please get a life? Does the world revolve around such minutia detail?

Armed with my non kosher liquid smoke ( which shows the depths I have now reached as a beekeeper), I look into the hives and find the bees in a good mood for a change. Perhaps they are starting to appreciate someone who doesn’t fuss about which way       up the hexagons go! I will try to move a new queen into a nuc next week….its clear I should be banished to the Outer Hebrides for undermining standards in beekeeping. It’s the thin edge of the wedge you know!

Mosaiced mini pond

I have a confession to make, I did buy the fish and the lilies, or at least my daughter got them for my birthday at my request. Koi are considered auspicious by the Chinese. The rest consisted of an old plate, the usual grout, and some slate tiles that I just happen to have jostling for position with all the other accumlated stuff in my place. I could have put the tiles closer but I wanted them to be firmly grouted and the surface of the plate was shiny.

Quick and simple, after completing it I sealed it with, yes some stuff someone gave me, and bingo. I am hoping that no bird takes a shine to the fish, I am beginning to get paranoid about them!2014-07-03 09.06.072014-07-12 15.38.19

Where’s the complaints department!

I have since cleaned this and regrouted it!!! Poor quality pic because I cant find my tablet to took it with my phone, which didnt like the glare...

I have since cleaned this and regrouted it!!! Poor quality pic because I cant find my tablet to took it with my phone, which didnt like the glare…

Remember I did a half penny stepping stone and recently put it in the ground? I went outside and noticed some of the edge tessera were missing. ”Odd”, thinks I, “must have got knocked off when it was put in, perhaps they were not attached well enough.” Looked to the tiles, couldn’t find them. Grouted in some more, go back a day later, more missing and so on. I then noticed the sand around the tile being disturbed. It took a while to twig but the bloody birds are pinching them! I keep replacing them and more disappear! Memo to myself “Next time don’t put the tiles up to the edge!” Some Jay or Magpie is having a lovely time improving their home decor at my expense!

I only have about another 20 stepping stones to go! Plus a raspberry popsicle recipe!

Lovely weather yesterday. Sat outside drinking rose wine and eating pickled cockles! ( I like cockels they remind me of the seaside) This is now my 6th paving stone all but completed. At this rate I could well be dead before I finish the path. I am going to have to do some pique assiette ( broken plate)  random ones to save time! Fortunately some of the tiles were given to me by a kind freecycler, and the glass drops were really cheap in the pound shop.

On another matter, I am knee deep in raspberries, so I made some raspberry popsicles.

Raspberry and mint popsicles.

Crush some raspberries and add finely chopped mint. I added a bit of my own honey to add sweetness, not too much. I then topped the mixture up with orange juice, added one or two whole raspberries in the mold and filled to just beneath the brim with crushed rapsberry liquid.  Fussy people may want to strain the raspberries to get rid of the pips, but I think they are good for you!

Sorry I am not precise about measurements but just adjust proportions to taste, remem2014-07-04 14.59.19bering that freezing dulls the taste slightly.

Freeze for at least five hours in an upright position These ingrediants could be frozen as ice cubes if you want flavoured ones for drinks