Summer rains are not so good for bee keeping, wine grape growing, crop harvesting and sheep farming.
Not all of these challenges effect us, but a couple of them do.
Bees.. The unusual weather, cold nights and higher than average rainfall, has affected the nectar release in the flowers. The bees are collecting plenty of pollen to feed their brood, but nectar is in very short supply so they're not making enough honey to feed themselves or for us bee keepers to extract. Like anything where we depend on nature, bee keepers have good and bad years too, so there will be no honey for us to top up our supplies this year.
Most people think that it's a given that we can take honey every year, but it's just not so.
Sheep... Damp warm conditions are a perfect environment for fly strike in sheep. The blow flies lay eggs deep in the wool of the sheep. where they hatch into maggots that feast on the flesh of the host sheep. Fly strike is not confined to the tail area of sheep, so no amount of mulesing will prevent fly strike. Don't get me started on that horribly cruel practice, needless to say, we don't support that kind of treatment for sheep.
Checking our flocks of sheep that are situated about the area on various blocks is a daily event now, and the job is made much easier with Meg the kelpie sheep dog.
Occasionally a sheep will need treatment for body strike. Using hand clippers the wool is taken off the affected area, the maggots are scraped and flicked off, (yep, it's an awful job but it has to be done). The area is treated with a fly strike preparation that kills any eggs, dries up the area, and repels further fly strike.
Chillies, Goosberries, cucumbers, beans and dragon fruit are along the bottom part of the patch.
A message to all of those people who have been here to various functions in the past month and saw this garden looking very messy, you can now return and see why it was looking so messy.
The seeds that fell, are now coming up. The empty seed heads and spent plant stalks have been cleared away, given to the pigs to munch on. There is some order in this little patch once again.
Not too much order though... I don't work nature like that. There are still some flowering plants that are yet to drop their seeds, the bees need to eat too.
Tomato plants from the prunings of Brian's tomatoes that were planted in October. I wrote about taking cuttings to make more tomato plants here.
When his tomato bushes have finished fruiting, there will be more tomatoes ripening on these younger bushes that were planted later, extending our tomato eating pleasure.
Self seeding rocket and the water container for lizard friends inside the enclosed self seeding vegetable patch. A rock on the edge of the water and small rocks inside the container to prevent any drownings from smaller lizards.
The little orange tree is making good progress since I pruned and fed it in November. It gets a weekly feed of liquid manure or nettle and comfrey tea.
I have so much more to tell you, and show you, but this post has become quite long enough and I don't want you glazing over.
I bottled off my kombucha and put a kettle on the gas to make another batch just before I snuck away to write this. An hour has whooshed past and, yes you guessed it, the kettle is still on the gas, almost empty!! Ooops!
Time to get back to the tasks that need doing.