Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bees, chickens and Artichokes (artichooks?)

Met the island beekeeper today, and it turns out he's an ex-zoologist. We chatted about the important secret things zoologists talk about - the sex life of invertebrates, just in case you want to know (the details of which are only for those initates into the inner circle who survived second year Zoology. Don't ask. I might tell you, and brain-floss is hard to get through your ears). Anyway, he grows berries (and honey) - might get a boysenberry cane or two from him. I said my dad had kept bees and I'd always thought I'd like to try it. He was really encouraging, said the Island needed more beekeepers, and he'd help me with a hive if I liked. We looked at Sue's chooks together, and I soon realised the core secret of chook-keepers. Every single one of them SWEARS by his or her breed. All others are inferior ;-). Honestly it's like AFL team rivalry. I want a bird which is OK for eggs and meat occassionally. Not for for being the best... well, not yet.

Artichokes are possibly my favourite veggie. So my delight today at getting some - all at the stage of take them now or they'll flower, was very great. I did manage to grow them with difficulty back in South Africa, but I've never had anything LIKE enough (enough in Dave's book too many to eat, and enough to pickle) I got some seeds too (from some that had already gone past the eating point), so hopefully will get some plants going. I wonder if they can be grown as a field crop :-)

First bell peppers (capsicums, sweet peppers) went out today and first cucumbers (the gerkin source) too.

Anyway, we got home from the chook-yard tour to discover the back door hadn't latched properly and our dear dogs (brought at great expense and heartache from South Africa) had emptied the garbage pail onto the kitchen floor, and transported the salt outside and eaten a carton of 2 minute noodles.

They were NOT popular.


  1. Hey Dave and Barbs - I would NEVER have been heard to say that MY chooks are the bees-knees!!!
    Having tried to eat one, as you know, I would never do it again. I've decided that the old moggy type chook is the best - and you know where to get the design for a chook palace. I had the power put on to the chook house in case they needed a reverse cycle airconditioner. (well that's the story put around by the ........ builder!! Never fear - help is near.
    Just don't do the cow thing yet, MATE!!!!!!!!!

  2. My Dad used to keep bees. He had a honey extractor made from a big metal garbage can. Ah, the memories of swarms and honey fights and munching on honey comb.

    We also kept chickens, too. I'm not sure of the breeds down there, but we kept Rhode Island Reds for Eggs and Cornish Giants for meat.

  3. My father just lost his latest hive this summer. Assuming a lack of nasty anti-bee pests like Verroa and wasps - and given the Oz quarrantine I expect those aren't there - bees are pretty simple things to keep. It helps if you aren't allergic to bee-stings though and not to have any neighbours (or idiot dogs or neighbours idiot dogs) nearby that can try eating them or otherwise not treating them with respect.

    Artichokes (or Arctic hokes as I first thought they were called) can grow in fields. They are also good plants that grow back each year once you've got them established unless you deliberately uproot them.

  4. My Dad was allergic to bee stings, but not fatally. There was a time when he would go to work one week with his right eye all swollen up, and the next week it would be his left eye. I have this delightful childhood memory of my Dad running around our house, with a swarm of bees following him like he was Winnie-the-Pooh, yelling, "Open the door!" We eventually let him in, and the bees went straight to the windows.

  5. The bee swarm is really encouraging, I can't wait! I am mildly allergic to stings, as in I get a little local swelling, nothing exciting, but I really don't want to get stung.

    The chooks are going to have to be hardy, and good at foraging, and lay eggs, and be good eating, and not need tooo much attention. But apart from that I am not fussy.

  6. Barbs? Have someone make up a sign, and post that over your chickens. That way they will see it every day and laugh :-)

  7. Right! I can see the wording already!

  8. On the plus side, some people voluntarily get bee stings as they are good for arthritis. :-) YMMV.