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Showing posts from 2014

Honey collection from Native Australian Bee Hive...

Over the years we have expanded from one Australian Native bee hive bought for a Birthday present to seven hives of various shapes and sizes! For the first few years we concentrated on building strong hives and getting the splitting right. Last year we started putting honey supers on the  hives in order to start collecting some tangy bush honey, sometimes known as sugar bag honey!

We had a hive that was made sub standardly and decided to split the good half and transfer the other half into a new hive entirely. This gave us the old honey box that the hive had come with to deal with and see what honey we could get out of it...

Here's what we did...


This is the empty hive after we had done the split and the transfer. The left is where the Tetragonula Hockingsii brood was; the right is the stored honey. 

First we simply tipped it on its side and let the honey drip out at its own pace. Its sitting on a board over a large plastic container with the back slightly raised with a small we…

Tetragonula Hockingsii hive transfer - moving native bees from one hive to another!

Recently we spit our Native Hockingsii bee hive. The two halves didn't match and my husband was keen to try an experimental hive that he envisioned while reading all the bee books he bought me for Christmas! So the first half was a straight split were we joined the good half to another standard sized Felhaber hive half.

The other half was too small and made from substandard wood. So instead of continuing to make do, we decided that we would try the fairly traumatic task of transferring the bees out of the hive entirely and put them in a brand new hive type.

Here's what we did...

*Please note: Another long involved post for those hungry for backyard bee information but pretty pictures for those who are keen but not yet converted to the fun of native bee keeping! Only my Mother is obliged to read it all!


The first half of the split was standard - here is the link to that page.
So that leaves us with the second half in the front of the above picture with the board against the sp…

Some more pillowcase aprons..!

I have had a lot of fun making these for Christmas presents this year! They are all made on the same pattern and techniques as I used before...

Waist Apron link
Full Pinny link


All bright and summery hanging on the line!
This one was made from two pillowcases. I cut the flower off one pillowcase and after I had made the pinny from another orange pillow case with the stripes on it, I sewed it onto the front. I suspect the pillow cases went together on the bed as the colours were so close... or maybe I just got lucky at the op shop that week!


For this one I did a few simple pleats which I found easier to sew than gathering. So If you aren't feeling like you can tackle gathering, a few folded pleats might be the way to go. They sit flatter and are easier to sew. I also cut a strip off the bottom and then sewed it back on upside down to add a bit of interest and detail. If I see a bit of ric-rac I'll run it along the join but so far the right piece has eluded me...

 This one is so …

Tetragonula Hockingsii native bee hive split..!

We have several native bee hives and this year needed to split our Hockingsii hive. It was a mismatched hive made from two halves that didn't actually fit together as each half was made by other people. We decided to do a normal split with the "good half" that was made to a standard size and to "destroy" the odd half and transfer the bees to another type of hive completely. If you are interested in a normal Hockingsii split, this is the post for you. If you are interested in a transfer, I'll post that next as they are two different techniques and if it's your first split, the two lots of instructions could get confusing...

I did the normal Hockingsii split all by myself with the husband photographing (and jumping in with the drill when he realised we hadn't taken off a brace or the feet - giving me a chance to shake off a few bees!)

I'd recommend you to have a spare set of hands available as its a lot harder than it looks to do when you have so …

When life hands you lemons, make lemon butter!

We still have lots of lemons on the tree even after I made a batch of preserved lemons and since we also have lots of eggs I thought I'd wip up a batch of lemon butter. Some places its called lemon curd and other lemon honey - but they all seem to be a very similar recipe; Eggs, butter, lemon juice and a bit of sugar.

Its really good on toast, can be used in a filling for lemon meringue tarts and is great over ice cream... or with a spoon straight out of the jar.... Yuuuuuuummmmmm!

I like the traditional New Zealand way of making Lemon butter so here is the recipe straight out of the book but doubled so I could make even more yummy lemon butter!

Here's what I did...


In a double boiler or a bowl over a simmering pot of water melt 120g of butter with 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of lemon juice.

When the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted crack four eggs into a bowl... and whisk them before adding to the butter/sugar/juice mixture. Some people add the grated zest of the …

Preserved lemons - easy to make at home...!

We had quite a good crop of lemons on our tree at the moment despite the annual stink bug plague! I have been making a bit of lemon butter and the odd lemon drink but we still had plenty on the tree. I had heard of preserved lemon but had no idea how to make it and if I did, how I would use it. There was a recipe on the last bag of salt I bought and plenty of variations on line. I figured it was going to be more of an art than a science - and since I had plenty of lemons, I had enough to play with and see what results I got!

Here's what I did...

There is a few ways to cut your lemons for this recipe. I chose the straight quarters but you can just cut the lemon into quarters without cutting the lemon all the way through. I decided that I probably wouldn't use much at a time so I chose small quarters or sixths depending on the size of my lemons.
I tidied up my lemons so that my pieces only had flesh and skin. I cut all the pith and ends off. Then I covered each piece thoroughl…
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