Archive for June, 2014

Bees in a box!!

Neil got a call from BT to say that bees had got into one of their roadside connection boxes, and the engineer had beat a hasty retreat and requested some help.  So today Neil packed up all his equipment that he might need for capturing bees and met up with the BT engineer and drove to this isolated location where the box was.  When he arrived it was not immediately apparent where the box was as it was surrounded and almost hidden by blackberry bushes. This is Sam the BT engineer with the box.


Neil then donned his bee suit and wellies and looked further into the cabinet.  This is what he saw:


Neil thought this was a large swarm and fired up his trusty smoker and gave them several puffs of smoke.  When the bees started to move it was apparent that they had been there for some while as they had started to produce comb with sealed nectar stores. This made it a bit more awkward as he had originally planned to brush them down into a large cardboard box that had a sheet in it. The plan changed to using a paint scraper to dislodge the wax comb and drop them into his small nuc box hive.  Due to the size of the swarm he took the five frames out of the box and deposited the bees and their comb into it.  He then brushed the remainder of the bees from the back of the box and removed any outstanding comb.

He sealed the nuc box up and brought it back home.  The BT box was closed back up and the hole where there had been a missing screw was sealed to stop bees getting back inside.

Back home he emptied the bees into a full size hive and gave them a feeder with one to one solution of syrup (water and sugar).  They are getting used to their new home and are taking down the syrup and will hopefully start drawing out new comb on the brood frames in his hive.

Maybe we will get some honey after all this year!!



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Visit to Burrow Farm Gardens and Charmouth Beach

Today, being our 20th wedding anniversary and also a lovely sunny day, we took ourselves out for the day.  The first place we visited was Burrow Farm Gardens.  It is 10 acres of beautiful gardens, ponds, bogs, woodland garden and beautiful views.  This was the Millenium Garden.


There were some lovely really large Iris flowers in this garden.



I spotted a really large wild foxglove.


There were several stone statues throughout the gardens.


There were quite a few specimens of this plant that looks like enormous rhubarb and has the most gigantic leaves, I don’t know what it is called.


We sat by the pond watching the ducks and admiring the view up the hill.


We had a spot of lunch in their tea rooms and then left for the coast.  Charmouth is just a bit further East of Lyme Regis and is quite unspoilt and not commercialised at all.  It is a stony beach and when we walked along the pebbles the wind came up although it was really sunny. This is me in front of the beach huts.


And this is Neil along the beach.


There was one lady in the sea having a dip but we contented ourselves with Neil skimming stones and me watching!!


And then of course we stopped to have an ice cream – got to be done when you are on the beach.  So all in all a really pleasant day out and all not far from here.

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Making Strawberry Liqueur

Having an abundance of strawberries I started to research what else I could make from them and came up with Strawberry Liqueur.

The first thing we did was purchase a bottle of vodka.  Depending on the size of your bottle you can scale up or down the other ingredients.


750g very ripe strawberries

750g caster sugar

270 ml water

700 ml vodka

Preparation method:

First hull and cut up the strawberries, then lightly rinse.


Next transfer to a large glass jar, I used a demi john.


Add the sugar:


Next add the vodka and the water:


Then shake it all up and seal the jar.


Store out of sunlight in the cool for 1 month, gently shaking the jar once or twice a day.

After one month strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.  Then strain again to rid the mixture of any remaining strawberry seeds, through a coffee filter.  Transfer the liquid to glass bottles.  Can be used immediately or improves over time.

So now I have a month to wait.  Until then I shall look up what else I can make………..

If you want to sample our strawberries for breakfast, we still have some vacancies in July and August in the B&B.

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First good haul of strawberries

The last few days we have had glorious sunny weather and the strawberries have come on in leaps and bounds.  In the week I picked a dozen ripe berries, but today I picket 2.3 kg of strawberries, that’s over 5 lbs.


I think we will have an abundant crop this year so I shall be making strawberry liqueur, strawberry cordial, and strawberry jam as well as eating them every day.  I do so love strawberries, they are one of my favourite fruits.

If you want fresh strawberries with your breakfast, come and stay at our B&B.

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Ilminster classic car show

It’s a week of the Ilminster Summer Experience and lots of things have been going on over the weekend.  The flags are up in the streets.


Today was the classic car show on the recreation ground.  We went along to have a look.  There were modern classic and souped up cars:


But the ones I like best are the little old car such as these:






There were also quite a few motorbikes, which Neil especially was interest in.


The Town Crier was out in all his regalia making announcements:


As we were standing there so a noisy hot rod car with a supercharger came into the grounds.  It had a stunning paint job and was originally an old Ford Anglia but quite transformed now.


So a different Sunday morning.  There is lots going on in the surrounding areas in June, lots to go to, see and do, so if you want to come down this way and stay in our B&B we would be pleased to see you.

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Growing our runner beans and an update on the veggie garden

We don’t have a greenhouse yet and we do suffer from slugs and snails here as we have had such a wet Winter, so I start off our runner beans indoors in the inside of loo roll tubes.


We end up with seeds growing on all the window ledges in the house.

After a couple of weeks they have started to sprout.


And when they are 8 to 12 inches tall I put them outside.  By putting the whole tube into the ground it gives the beans  some protection against the slugs and snails, and gives them a fighting chance.


I tie each little bean plant up to its bean cane so it doesn’t get blown around in the wind.  This year as part of our “no dig” experiment we have laid newspapers down around the bean poles to deter the weeds.

After 10 days or so they are already climbing the bean poles, so a success.  Just need to wait another month now before they produce some lovely beans for us.


Our other veggies are growing well too.  Here are our peas climbing up their pea sticks.


And our cabbages growing in their shrouds to protect them from pigeons and cabbage white butterflies.


This year we spread grass clippings around the potatoes and onions as mulch and again to deter the weeds.



The sweet corn are still small, they need some more sunshine to boost their growth.


We shall have a bumper crop of strawberries this year


And the gooseberries are already forming on the bushes


We are also growing lettuce, tomatoes, courgettes, radish, chard, parsnips, carrots, turnips and purple sprouting broccoli so we should have lots of lovely veggies if everything grows OK.

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