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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cusine Club and Bees

Last night we attended the second evening of the Cuisine Club. The country chosen was Tanzania and the food style was Indian. As usual the table was groaning with variety and far more than six people could consume. Apart from a myriad of wines there was also an Indian beer to start proceedings and wash down the vegetable Samosa's.

We brought Andi ki Kari which is whole eggs in tomato sauce, Ugali a corn meal staple, boiled rice fresh cucumber salad and fresh tomato salad and a couple of chutneys. Some of the other dishes served included Spiced potatoes, peas and paneer, prawn curry, naan bread, cucumber and mint lassi. And as usual we finished the evening with a DVD on Tanzania.

I've become a bit of a lover of these fresh salads. Pretty much made identically. Thinly sliced onion has just a smidgen of vinegar and some fish sauce drizzled over it then scrunched well with your hands to loosen the rings and let the liquids penetrate. Then the tomato or cucumber is sliced but not too thin and mixed with the onion. A little salt is then sprinkled over it and stirred through. The salt just lifts the flavours.

During the day although we didn't seem to be flat out busy a lot got done. Jean focused on getting the Andi ki Karj and Ugali done and spending time with the the Ferdis aka Indian Runner ducklings. While I ticked off the remainder of items on my current short list i.e. cleaning up two paddocks of cow pats. Not that there many pats. It seems that rain accelerated the breakdown of the pats and so I was struggling to get many bags. Still any that is collected goes to good use.

Inspected the bee hive which is very active. They are approaching the time for a robbing. The four middle frames are capped and the next two outer frames capped on one side. I'll monitor their progress but expect to rob before Christmas. Having perfected the art of creaming honey the entire batch will go towards that.

A recent article in ABK (Australasian Bee Keeper) was on feeding bees. An excellent research article and informative. It covered using different blends of sugar i.e. 2 parts sugar 1 part water, 1 part each and just dry sugar and also something I hadn't considered that is not leaving the mixture too long as it can ferment to the detriment of the bees.

When we collected our nuc in August we started feeding them to make sure they liked their new home. The details of feeding we gathered from A.I. Root The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture (a free digital copy is also available) first published in 1877. I'm very impressed with this book. Although it is not written as a research document it covered all areas of feeding and why. Things like: dry sugar is easy but the bees need to make a lot of flights to collect water to dissolve it. Not feeding excessively and over stimulating the hive. Not over feeding during inclement weather as the bees get excited and go outside only to die. It spoke about quantities to feed and ensuring the feeder fed out gradually so as not to have spikes in the feed routine. There was so much information of great value.
The book is a reminder of our first hive collected from a farmer on the upper Manning River. He not only sold us a hive but also gave us the book "You'll fine this handy - keep it".

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