Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Come to Work with Me.

Yesterday afternoon during the big wind I took the camera with me to work as I thought I could show you what is happening where I work - in the orchard. Before you leave the house check you have stout shoes on and clothing for all weather and temperatures and you'll need a cap or hat to keep your hair clean. Wear some sunblock. Make your afternoon tea in a flask, get a snack and some bread for Percy Peacock( the supervisor ). Get R to sharpen your secateurs. Make sure you have a supply of clips ( vine ties ) and stocking tops and MOST importantly for me your deodorant....there are so many bees about it is my instant answer if I happen to get stung( it really works! )The photo above show my ( carpenter's ) apron I wear with my gear in it -  the blue top is the deodorant right at hand. On the back of the tractor you will need a beer box and cushion to sit on , the radio, and your storage cube with gloves, spare radio batteries, water bottle, plaster all those sort of things. All Ready?
      Please get in the tray on the back of the tractor, hold tightly as we drive down to block 2 b where I am working today. That is right near where the peacock patrols ( and sleeps in the sun ). There are 8 beehives against the casurina hedge in this block,
( if you enlarge the photo you can see them in the air. )
That's probably close enough without taking risks.  They go in and out through the slit at the base. Sometimes there are queues on the outside...or they may just be cooling themselves. The bees get buffeted by the wind and sometimes bump off my person. Just leave them alone, unless they are in your hair or mouth or ears. They will mostly just leave you alone.
This is the canopy overhead. So many flowers are now out. Luckily there is now dabbled shade to work in.

As you are working respect the bees and if they are busy you give them right of way. See how the wind has blown some casurina needles from the hedge onto the vines - it is a pretty strong wind.

Sometimes there is some competition - 2 bees in one just opened flower. They just work around each other. They methodically work their way around the stamens in a circle , usually going anti clockwise( not sure why ).Look closely and you can see all the pollen collected on the bees legs.( lets hope the bee has been to a male flower first to bring the male pollen into that flower.) They seem to know what they are doing....... just as well we don't have to organise or instruct them. ( 33000 x 21 hives = 651,000 bees ) Because it is so windy a large part of our time today will be spent clipping down any flower shoots to the wire to stop them breaking out. Also remove any old sharp stalks or cut clips or anything close enough to a flower that it will rub a fruit when it forms there.
Percy Peacock will hang around so it is best to give him his afternoon tea slice of bread early on or he will be under your feet. That won't stop him asking for more when we have afternoon tea. Between times he will snack on dock leaves or grass . Sometimes if he likes what is on the radio he will sit down happily and dose. Be aware that for no reason at all or if their is a noise he will honk very loudly and make you jump out of your skin.

You are working really well but it is knocking off time now, so if you liked the job you may come back any time at all.


Jennifer said...

I know it means a lot of work, but your little corner of the world is beautiful!

Meggie said...

Great photo of Percy! Loved seeing your work field. I am highly allergic to bees, and wonder if the deodorant would work for me.