Monthly Archives: February 2015

Pears, for eating and drying

Many of the people who come and help here bring terrific skills with them. Hi Wong is here for a three month internship. He is a skilled chef who enjoys innovating with what is available. He has responsibility for picking and managing the fruit harvest ready for markets. He is also a keen photographer. I liked this photo of Beurre Bosc pears he took this morning, they are such a beautiful pear and it is a lovely view from inside the net. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We have Williams pears picked already, ripening off the tree. Beurre Bosc are being picked now, and Packham soon. Pears are so sweet and are totally delicious dried.



We dry fruit in our old solar dryer.  This was made by John and Sharon Batt of Ruffy probably in the ’80’s as a mail order home business, I think when they were home schooling their children. It is a good design, and the time might be ripe for someone to start making them again. [The legs on bricks in water are to create moats to keep ants out of the sweet fruit.]

On the Farm

With good helpers, a lot is possible. As well as the busy summer fruit harvest and management, and with renewing the whitewash over the whole outside of the house, this week we replaced the rainwater header tank that sits 4.5m off the ground on the lower level of the water tower.  A minor engineering feat getting the old one safely down and the new one up these ramps, with ropes and many hands making everything safe.


8m long Ramps set up, ready to bring the old leaky tank down.

The problem was having a zincalume roof feeding (eventually) into a plain galvanised header tank. The ions work against the galvanising, and the tank does not last. The new tank is aquaplate, so polymer coated steel on the dark inside of the tank, and galvanised steel on the outside to cope with the sun and rain.

Backyard Bees 22nd March 2015

It is now more than 9 years since I came upon this our first bee swarm, when mowing in the young olive grove in November 2005. Luckily my neighbor Jeff Welsh had offered that if I found a swarm, he would help me to ‘put it in a box’.

collecting the first bees, Nov 05


It has been a learning journey since then of course, learning to keep bees. This year, with help from three strong hives sitting by the edge of the orchard, helping to pollinate, has been the best setting of fruit we have ever had. ​We took 40kg of honey already, and there is lots more out there in the tall stacks.

And they are great source of interest, watching the activity of the bees through the season, seeing which plants are flowering and giving a strong honey flow that year.

There is so much to learn about bees and beekeeping, and I am of course still learning!  This workshop will be the first I have run in this format, focused on getting started in backyard beekeeping, where the bees mostly live at one home base to find their forage from whatever is around.
Backyard Bees

Hands-on workshop

Getting started or getting better with bees

The principles and practice of (mostly stationary) bee keeping, including location, forage, life cycle, seasonal management, and equipment.

Sun 22nd March 2015

Murrnong Farm, Violet Town

10am – 4pm


Bring some lunch to share

Tea, cool drinks and fruit provided

with David Arnold

Book to secure your place

03 5798 1679