Monthly Archives: March 2016

Checking out the bees

Its been a difficult summer for the bees here at Violet Town this year, and for a lot of inland Victoria. There has not been much nectar flow available for the bees to make honey with. The Murrnong bees have remained healthy, with plenty of pollen, and plenty of brood. It is lucky that we left plenty of honey in the hives, because the girls have kept consuming their stored honey even through summer, when we usually hope to see them bringing in fresh honey. 2015 saw only 280mm of rain here, way down from the 625mm yearly average, so it has been tough for the plants, and one plant survival strategy is not to flower in dry conditions.

Mary holding a frame for inspection

Mary from the Februaryย Backyard Beesย course is holding up a frame of healthy brood.ย 

Some bee keepers have been moving their hives for better forage elsewhere, and some have been feeding sugar syrup. We were just at the point of feeling we needed to move our hives, when Grey Box,ย E. microcarpa, started flowering. Fortunately, with 125mm of rain here between Christmas and end of January, there seems to have been enough moisture available for the Grey Box to put nectar in their flowers. So.. phew, when we are around the hives, we can again smell the sweet scent of nectar and fresh honey.

The next Backyard Bees hands on workshop is on Sunday March 20th.

Produce no waste

The 2015 2016 Murrnong PDC is happening over seven weekends, one weekend a month, focusing on one of the 12 design principles each day.

Here we were looking at how the wood chip compost at Murrnong takes branches and prunings from forest and orchard, combined with goat bedding wastes and occasional other goodies, and lets the composty critters work on it for more than one year. This produces beautiful wood chip compost to go back to the food producing tree crops. No waste.

Shae checking out the compost

opening up wood chip compost

Getting started or getting better with honey bees

Backyard Bees 20th March 2016 A4

In this one day workshop we cover the basics of beekeeping, and consider some of the decisions that a small scale beekeeper makes.

You will also gain some perspective and insight into how small scale and back yard bee keeping fits into the ecology of our food production.

Together we will open some of the Murrnong hives, and learn to recognise what we see happening in there.

This is the second of these workshops this autumn, after the first one, on Feb 21st, sold out. Here is a picture of the group dressed up and ready to head down to the hives. The calm warm autumn weather, with the bees busy foraging, made it an ideal and peaceful time to look inside.

group photo Feb 21 2016

To book, email murrnong.com, or phone 03 5798 1679