Archive for the ‘cake’ Category

IMG_0390Flip to the Bee Side – Paul tells his tale about his bees

As I walked past my five hives of bees this evening, not paying much attention, I heard a deep buzzing noise coming from one of them. I bent my ear close to the hive entrance(there being no flying on this damp dusk) and the buzzing increased as if they were being disturbed. I glanced up and realised that I had failed to observe a medium sized swarm of about 5000 bees, clustered on the outside of the hive 6 inches from my face. Yikes! I thought, along with some other less Enid Blyton like curses!!

Have a Go Beeman.

My challenge, I decided, was to find a way of collecting, hiving and feeding the swarm, within the twenty minutes of daylight left to me. I had to think quick, and this is what I did.

Cakus Interuptus

Firstly, interrupt Pauline making Rhubarb cake in the kitchen to boil the kettle and make some sugar syrup. Then search for a suitable way of scanning the  bees off the flat wooden exterior of the hive. My eyes alighted on a box of 12 Schweppes tonic waters. The empty cardboard box, with it’s end cut off made a perfect scoop for bee collection. So I hoped.

Job Done!

I trotted off to the bees in the field, got my kit on, and slowly slid the tonic box, whilst holding it tight, flat against the hive, until all the bees slipped into the box. Amazingly, I collected all but three bees in a matter of seconds. Two minutes later they were in the new hive with a feeder full of syrup and a reduced entrance to discourage other bees from robbing.

Moral of the Tale 

a swarm in the hive is worth two in the bush !

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An amazing group of ladies came to visit the garden today. The extraordinary and entirely outrageous Worthing Blueberry Muffins chapter of the Red hatters tripped into the tea shop in a variety of hues but predominantly purple and red. The purple actually synced quite well with some of the predominant colours of the garden at the moment. But it was wonderful to see them inching through the plantings, in full sail like an armada, with their red hats like dancing pennants. Sometimes unseen (but audible like a flock of birds) and then a flash of red through the hazy grasses and swirls of colour.

They purport to be women of a certain age(over 50) who take it upon themselves to trip around the country visiting all sorts of places , not just gardens, but the underlying theme has to be one of enjoyment, and I rather suspect, delicious indulgence ,as they made short  shrift of the courgette and apple and apricot cakes on the terrace.

It is a world-wide organisation spanning many continents and seems to be a wonderfully flamboyant bit of fun.It is all about growing old disgracefully and  not at all about “wearing the bottoms of their trousers rolled” ! (sorry TS Elliot !)  These ladies I promised to mention by name , as they all take on personae as befits their character. So we have Princess Protea,Duchess Esme,Madame Gigi (intriguing),Lady Jules,Lady Chatterley (real surname happens to be Mellors so her name could be nothing but!)Baroness Bustickle (saucy!) Scarlet Poppy,and Goddess of the Glen .Some of the hats were positively bizarre but I loved the fun and fantasy of it all.

Apparently it all goes back to a poem by a lady called Jenny Joseph who apparently is distancing herself from the whole chabang.

Here is the first part of the poem which I hope that Jenny will not mind me reproducing…. google her and her poem and find the rest for yourself !


“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick flowers in other people’s gardens .”

Didn’t see them picking any flowers .. but you never know !

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Popping poppy

Poppies Popping out all over !

Recovering from trauma of being incarcerated in the poly tunnel this morning. Went in full of beans and came out broken !

Simple enough you would think to pick some innocent courgettes for the world famous courgette cake. The courgettes were there , just, I had thought there were lots more than there actually turned out to be .. but hey I had only preprepared all the other ingredients so was sort of committed at this point . Next thing I knew the door had slammed shut . Thinking nothing of it I collected up the courgettes and went to pull the wee string that lifts the latch from the outside .And it came off in my hand …several expletives followed which attracted the attention of the boy sheep . Curly , Curly’s brother and Wills made a beeline for the tunnel and very helpfully made a great show of doing very little constructive to help ,rather they seemed more inclined to push through the mesh sides of the thing ,which while that would have given me an escape route ,would not have enamoured them to Paul ,and would rather more certainly have sealed their fate, and meant a quick  ticket to the big white freezer box in the sky. As I found to my cost, polytunnels are not the worlds best repositaries of tools to use to escape from places .. luckily though I managed to concoct a strange pointy hook thing using some dodgy bits of wire , to reattach string to latch and thence freedom! and a whole heap of sheep demanding breakfast and trying to nab some tasty courgettes as hors d’oeuvres.Hope this is not an indication of the day to come …still got cream topping to get on to cake..and pistachios to chop ; in between scrambled eggs and bacon ?maybe not

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