Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Garden Bargains

Here in Norwich we have a discount store where every thing is 99p or less.  If I am in town I always have a poke around and generally come away with a bargain or two.  This week was no exception.

I bought all these garden decorations for under £10!  My favourite I think are the flamingos.





And I pulled the first crop of radishes as well.  The garden has been very dry and I have done loads of watering but yesterday evening and night we had a good long downpour, absolutely soaking the garden and the rain filled all my water butts right up again.  Supposedly we are in for another hot and dry spell – proper June weather at last.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Honey Flow

“A swarm of honey bees in May

Is often worth a load of hay.

A swarm of bees in hot July

Is hardly  worth a fly”.



This old country saying couldn’t be truer.  If you are lucky enough to collect a swarm this time of year, chances are that it will be quite a substantial size and you will end up with a decent hive of bees.  Swarming is the bees way of establishing a new colony and increasing in numbers.  Before swarming can occur, a new queen has to be raised.  Just before she is born, the old queen will depart with over half the colony from the hive and ‘swarm’ usually in a tree or bush and send out scout bees to find another suitable home. If you are really lucky, they may set up home in an empty hive left about for this very reason, but this does not happen that often.  Obviously your remaining colony with the newly hatched queen is depleted in numbers and will take the rest of the season to build up numbers again.  Bee keepers try and prevent this process of swarming, to keep their hives with a good number of bees, so to enable a greater honey collection.  Once the spring arrives, the bees have to be opened up weekly and each frame inspected for the tell tale signs of queen cell building, these have to be taken out, hopefully preventing swarming.  This is not as easy as it appears as with the vast number of bees climbing over the frames on inspection, a queen cell can be easily missed.


A frame filled with honey and capped over with wax


This frame is filled with honey but as yet uncapped

After inspecting my bees at the weekend, I noticed there is a lot of honey in the frames, some of it capped over with wax, which means that it is ready to extract.  We are well into the honey flow now with all the spring flowers in bloom.  I shall leave it 2-3 weeks and then take off the frames of honey to extract it.


So many bees, missing the queen cells is easy

To take these photos I had to remove my gloves to operate the camera, luckily I didn’t get stung!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Colourful Cushion Cover

Still working from my never ending stash, I have been working on this cushion cover for the past week.


As you can see one side is a giant granny square – slightly wonky, not sure what went wrong, probably due to having to re attach new colours on every row.  If anyone has any pointers concerning this problem, please let me know. 


The other side is done with the diagonal box stitch.  I love this stitch as it gives you a lovely dense texture and fairly rips along once you get the hang of it.


The edging was a sort of shell pattern by slip stitching x 2 followed by hdc, dc, hdc all the way round. I cheated and didn’t do a removeable cover, as I can easily undo one side if laundering is needed.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Visiting the seals 2011

We did this trip about a month ago and I snagged this post from my other blog, I hope you don’t mind!

You may remember last year around about this time we went to see the seals at Horsey.  Well as it was such a lovely day yesterday (Wednesday), after work we all clambered into the car and drove the 15 miles to Horsey again.  On looking back at last years blog I noted that we were a couple of weeks earlier this year.  It is always a bit hit and miss, not really knowing if there are going to be any there or not but last week the crew of Royall Courier managed to get through Potter Heigham bridge and walked over from Horsey Mill to the coast and reported that they had seen numbers of anything up to 600.  We parked a bit nearer to the beach than Horsey Mill because as it was in the evening we didn’t want to run the risk of being locked in the National Trust car park, plus Nigel being a bit tight didn’t want to pay the parking fee! 


The dogs enjoyed a roar round along the long track leading up to the gap in the sea wall, sniffing about for bunnies and just before we arrived at the dunes, I made sure they were securely on their leads.  We made our way over the steps on to the viewing platform and as luck would have it below us were several groups of seals basking in the evening sunlight. 




We made our way onto the beach and took it in turns holding the dogs so we could each get a closer look.  The pups were a fair size now and there were the most amazing variety of colours, ranging from all one colour of dark grey, cream and brown to allsorts of dappled, dalmation type colours and even one very rusty coloured pup.  There were also various ones bobbing about in the sea, lazily swimming in and out of the surf. 






At a rough count there must have been about 200 in total. On the evening air the soothing musical song of the seals could easily be heard as they playfully rolled about on the beach, play fighting, and jostling about for the best spots.  We watched them for ages and then reluctantly made our way off the beach back to the car, still hearing their distant lyrical calls to each other.  As we made our way back along the track, the sun went down quite rapidly but leaving the most amazing sunset which Norfolk is so very famous for.