RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2015

Feed The Birds Big Garden Bird Watch

I’m going to be taking an hour out of our busy weekend and sit in the back bedroom peering out of the window with my binoculars, pen and garden bird check list :) I’ve stocked up the garden with fat balls and peanuts yum yum! :D

I took part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch last year and I really enjoyed it.  It’s surprising how many little feathered friends come and visit though out the day :) Are you going to be taking part?

I’ll let you know who turns up! Happy weekend everyone :)

Lottie Land Girl Kaz xx

Mud & Muck

It felt good today… Squidgy muddy mud on my dottie wellies.  I had a spare hour to pop down to the allotment to get some muck shifted on to our plot. I really needed some time to myself to have a think and just enjoy the winter sun – it felt good to be back getting stuck in. Muck magic

Tomorrow I’m going to my in laws for a yummy Sunday dinner, so I harvested the last of the carrots, some sprouts (I must remember to take pegs with me!) a little cabbage and a delicious perfectly formed parsnip.  It’s nice to take some offerings :)

1618618_768584536562614_685198157596082584_n Sunday Dinner HarvestI also amused myself with a very manly carrot… Our first ever rude veg – love it!  It put a smile on my face (immature I know hehe) but I really needed cheering up today.Cheeky Rude Veg
I hope you’re having a great weekend ;)

Lottie Land Girl Kaz xx

A Bee In My Bonnet

Back in September, I visited a farm on Snake Pass in the Peak District, with a group of lovely beekeepers from Cheshire Beekeepers’ Association. Some of the people from the group took their hives to the farm last August, using their strong colonies to feast on the delicious heather in the rolling purple tinged hills, surrounding the farm.Light the smokerSuited up, we all walked down to the where the hives had been kept. Smokers were lit and each of the owners started their inspection, talking us through the different sections of the hive.In we go It made me smile at the ooohhsss and aaarrrhhhs of the beekeepers, admiring the work of the busy bees and the glistening golden honey.

Bee inspecting

During the inspection, the beekeepers were looking for signs that the Queen bee was still laying eggs.  There was lots of honey for the bees to feast on ready for the winter ahead.  This made the beekeepers very happy, and doubly happy that they had lots of honey to enjoy for themselves. Heather honey is more expensive than most honeys. It’s a lot more difficult to extract and it’s a hard job for the bees to collect the pollen.   Because of that, I was told it can cost from £8 for 1lb (worth every penny I can assure you :D)

Bee hive inspectionHolding the bees

The smell of the honey from the hive was phenomenal. It was so strong. It was amazing being so close to the hive watching the little bees gorging themselves on honey, others busy running over the frames. The bees make honey anywhere they can.  I got to taste some that they had produced.  Making sure I’d walked well away from the hives and checking no bees had joined me, I got to taste heather honey for the first time…. yum yum yum! It was so delicious. The honeycomb was quite chewy, so when I’d finished I got rid of it. Making sure my veil was all tucked in again, I rejoined the group ready to take more pictures.

Capped honey

Fanning their scent

Feasting bees

The difference in the pitch of bees from the different the hives was quite noticeable. You can tell which bees who are nice and calm, compared to the bees who are getting quite agitated after being moved around. This is where I had my very first encounter, up close and personal… the bees in one of the hives we were inspecting were very loud, bees flying everywhere… then the sound got EVEN LOUDER!… near my right ear! That’s when I completely flipped when I discovered a couple of bees had got into my veil (presumably from a gap where I’d not tucked myself in!) On the allotment I often have lots of bees buzzing around me and it doesn’t bother me at all… what did bother me in this case, was how close the bee was to my eyes.

The group were helpful and told me to walk away from the hive, arms flaying trying to keep the bee away… then bbuuuuzzzz! On my right temple – owchie! Bee in my bonnetIt didn’t hurt at first, but soon after a throbbing feeling started to take over the side of my face and head.  I took off the veil when I was well away from the group so I could be tended to by my beekeeper friends. The sting was still in my temple and it had to be squeezed out (eye wateringly painful!)

I had some antihistamine gel put on the sting, followed by tea tree ointment. I learnt that when a bee stings, it released a pheromone that warns the other bees that there is danger and to come and attack! One sting was enough for me! I put on a brave face but it was bloomin painful.  I had a throbbing headache.

Joining the group again smelling very potent with my tea tree (plus feeling a bit of a wally for full on panicking).  Everyone asked me how I was doing, I said ‘I’m fine thanks’. I didn’t mention that I was feeling a little bit wobbly and my heart was pounding, but it’s like falling off a bike – get back on straight away or you’ll be too scared to do it again.  Getting close to the hives wasn’t high on my list, but I still took pictures and chatted to everyone.

Cheese

hmmm honey

It’s amazing what you can learn talking to people and asking questions. It was great to be a part of such a friendly group. What a fab day out and a great experience (including getting stung – I’ve now been initiated into the bee world :D)

Lottie Land Girl Kaz xx

A Day For Hibernating…

Winter DaysI’m sat here, the fire warming my toes and my cup of coffee warming my insides… I’ve had a really relaxed day today, the weather has helped… Battering against the house (I’m pleased to say the roof is still intact – I was a little bit worried!) It’s been nice to just slow down for a while.  The first week back at work has been a tough one after a lovely festive 2 week break.

I’ve had my nose in the January issue of The Simple Things.  I love this magazine, so many inspiring things.  I love the photography and the articles.  It’s got me thinking of things I’d love to try this year…

Making our own bread – now the last time I made any bread was when I was at senior school in Food Technology (around 1998!!) I think it’s about time I try again!

I’d love to enjoy some freshly baked bread with some homemade pumpkin soup – we’ve yet to make some with our pumpkins from last year!

I want to draw more.  Using my pencils, pens and watercolours.  I’d love to join a local arty/drawing group and get creative :) which reminds me, I need to get my plot plan drawn out…

I’ve seen an orange marmalade recipe that I’d love to make, along with other jams this year.

Watch the birds in the garden – make lots of birdseed cakes and take an hour to gaze out of the window and see which little feathered friends come to have some food :)

Visiting different allotment sites this year… It’s going to give me growing ideas but also I want to keep up with my photography and build on my portfolio – there’s nothing better than wandering around other people’s plots with the butterflies, bees and ladybirds giving you a guided tour.

Make the most of the summer evenings, enjoying a glass of wine on the plot.  We didn’t do much of that last year, something I defiantly want to rectify this year :)

Read lots of books… I don’t think I got through a single book last year! So there’s a goal!

I really want to make the last year of my 20’s an exciting one :) to try new things, push myself to be more adventurous, be happy and enjoy life with my family and friends.  I suppose the above is a kind of resolution list, something I can look back on to remind me to take a step back and breath.  In this crazy world of technology – time seems to fly by, it’s easy to forget the little things that make you happy and relaxed.

Obviously, learning about bees is a big thing for me this year and I plan on saving as many bees as possible.  The WellBEEing hospital will be open for patients I’m sure! :) On the theme of trying new things, I’ve signed myself up to do my first ever 10k run in May *gulp* I’m running for Beechwood Cancer Care, a fantastic charity that has helped me and my family in the past. My training has started this week (ohh the achy legs!…) I’m running with some of my friends so we can support each other in the lead up to the run in May :D

There are so many great things to look forward to and enjoy this year, I’m feeling nice and chilled – ready to start ticking things off my happy list :)

Happy Saturday everyone :)

Lottie Land Girl Kaz xx

Bees, Shows and Plot Plans

Christmas is overSo it’s all over, the house has been de-christmassed, all tinsel is out of sight and I have to admit, it makes me sad :( the only saving grace is now my elf ears have retracted, my grow your own hat has popped back on my head and my mind is whizzing with thoughts of our allotment, bees, juicy strawberries and the plot bursting with veg and a buzzing flower patch. Sunner Summer DaysWe’ve had such a great 2014 I’m hoping this year will be just as good, if not better.  Christmas dinner will be top of our list to plan so we get even more veggies than we had last year – it’s all about the timing, something were getting there with, but it could be better :)

Chrmbo dinner

2015 is going to be a great, I can just feel it! Me and Mr.B(ee) have got an interesting time ahead of us… we start our practical course in beekeeping on Monday.  I’m looking forward to going back to college and learning lots about our favourite little buzzies :)Lottie Land Girl BeekeeperI’ve also been given the opportunity to go to a local horticultural society and talk about ‘Life on the allotment’ I’m very excited (though I have to admit I’m a bit nervous – it’s my first ever talk!)

Allotment life

Earlier in 2014 I won a photography competition that The Edible Garden Show set up on their Facebook page.  The prize was two tickets to the show in March.  I can’t wait to go again, I missed it last year.  It’s a great weekend, lots of inspirational speakers.  We went to a talk by Alys Fowler a couple of years ago – I love what she does.  Are you going? It would be nice to meet up if you are :)

Edible Garden Show Winning imae
This is this the photo I entered :D

So, lots to look forward to and many more things to come I’m sure.  It’s time to gets my pencils and paper and get working on our plot plan for 2015, I’ll be sure to post it when it’s done :)

I really hope you all have a fantastic 2015 (the last year in my 20’s!!) Here’s to adventure :)

Lottie Land Girl Kaz xx

Living the 'Good Life' the Brown way!

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