Compost Heap Completed September 2012
Compost heap complete with hinged roof
We finished off the compost heap by putting on the front planks. The bottom three planks are removable so we can dig the compost out from the bottom when it is ready. Then we started putting all the bags of garden refuse we were saving into it.

We had fairly good rains through the month and I was a little worried about the decaying vegetation getting too soggy so we also fitted a little IBR sheet roof.

Then we sat back and waited for decomposition.

  Beekeeping Course

Building our first brood box - hammer and nail experience required

  It was all about spring cleaning. Spring is maintenance time for beekeepers. It is a time to visit your apiary, install supers in prepararation for the new season nectar flow and remove all the abandoned hives to be cleaned up for new swarms. We were shown how to remove the frames from the hive without damaging them and how to clean up the boxes and frames.

In the practical session we started building our brood chambers. Then we headed off to the Crystal Park Cemetry nearby where Peter keeps a few of his hives. There in the car park we all fitted our super white and sparkling clean new bee suits, covered a lot of the safety rules (these little bee guys can get very dangerous), waited for the crowds from a local funeral to disperse and then started working through his hives, taking away any abandoned ones and checking that all was ok in readiness for the summer nectar flow.

Brood box frame
Martie in her bee suit

Alien Nation invades Crystal Park Cemetry ...

Peter also gave us an old hive so that we could transfer our little swarm on the farm from the catchbox into a proper home. When we got home we put it on an old shelf behind our frangipani next to our front door, intending to take it to the farm the next weekend.

It was peak flowering season and everything in our garden was in flower, including our avocado tree in the front yard and the bees were very busy there. They obviously smelt the wax and honey leftovers in Peter's hive and in no time we had a swarm move in. We would have to get another hive for the farm - and we had a thriving bee hive at our front door!

  Ploughing Practice


  Now that we had decided where we were going to build, first step was to clear the site of all veld grass. What an opportunity to borrow Kevin's multi-tine ripper and try my hand at a bit of ploughing to loosen up the top soil so we could remove the grass clumps more easily. After fitting the ripper we had the whole area loosened up in an hour. And how's those nice straight lines, people?

  More Little Gardens


  We were thinning out our Wild Banana (Strelitzia nicolai) and Crane Flower (Strelitzia reginae) plants at home so we thought we'd take some of the plants we removed out to the farm. We dug two separate little gardens and planted them, the Wild Banana in the north corner near the top gate and the Crane Flowers as our new road exited the forest. They looked great.