Meanwhile down on the farm / orchard; life is full on. It is always a busy time with plants of all kinds GROWING. We have been having very, very hot days last week and still over the weekend which is ideal for the bees pollinating the Kiwifruit and Avocados.
As I have written about pollination in detail in previous years I won't go into too much detail this time.... (but if any readers are interested you could look back in the archives listed on my right border for Nov 2007 and 2008 ) .
( the close up photo is of female Kiwifruit flowers )
We have had 15 hives of bees in the Kiwifruit blocks since last weekend ( and longer for the Avos.) As well we have had 2 rounds of male pollen blown by leaf blowers .This is very expensive but helps to get really good coverage especially in any shaded areas along shelter belts ( as the bees tend to like being in the sun ). The male vines begin flowering slightly earlier than the females and gangs of pickers come around picking the male buds that are almost open - the pollen is then milled and stored then reblown later on. ( keeps well in the deep freeze )
The flowering is all but over now so I will take some photos next week to show the progress of the little fruit forming and growing which happens really quickly.
The avocados are quite different and much slower. They take a year to grow ( from pollination to picking ) their flowers are minute and about one in 1500 actually sets a fruit. At the moment ours have fruit set smaller than a pea. ( Our small crop for this year has not yet been picked, so 2 crops are hanging there )( that is quite normal! )( we are already eating some of them - they are LOVELY ! )
So all week as we have been working in the heat under the vines still tying in and thinning fruit we have had hard working little bees all around us. That can be a bit freaky but we get used to it. NEEDLESS to say I have been carrying a deodorant in my pocket just in case I get stung...which luckily I haven't ( maybe it works as a deterrent too ! )
I have been working on some little sewing projects if I get a chance - like this morning when we sat and watched the ALL BLACKS play ENGLAND (rugby ). Sorry Anne B - did you watch? (there will be a lot of coverage, as usual of male sport in NZ, over the next few days. ) It was lovely to see the new Hillary Trophy being presented by Lady Hillary in person.
Our group has been making little Christmas stockings which we fill with sweets or tiny treats which we are giving to the FOOD BANK - which is really struggling this year with so many more folk than usual needing a little help. I had forgotten to take photos before but took one of these 3 extras I just made. Also in the pic are a couple of coasters for a gift - all made using the lovely Laurel Burch fabrics from my 5" jelly roll.
The other photo shows work in progress with the latest thing I am making. letters of the alphabet each as a 6" quilted square to hang on a line as a banner. So far I am working on the letters for HAPPY CHRISTMAS, but intend to make enough to spell out BIRTHDAY ; NEW YEAR ; and maybe ANNIVERSARY.
I need to get out and pick my strawberries which are producing lovely feeds every few days for me.