I thought I’d give you a quick update on what I’ve been doing in the garden so far this year. We’re only been a week into January, but I’ve been quite busy outside. Have to admit that the only reason I’ve done so much is that the weather this past weekend has been lovely. Although I don’t do too much outside over winter, I’m always eager to get out when the weather is obliging. And it was obliging  – high 60’s, low 70’s, blue skies, friendly breeze. Can’t get much better than that for January!

Tree trimming for the Bees!

New bee site

After telling you that I’m really very conservative when it comes to tree trimming, I’ve been busy with the chain saw.  Thank you Tom & Stuart for helping. Down at the bottom of my yard I have a raised wooden platform that the kids used to play on. Well, they’re all big now so I’m repurposing it as a base for my bee hives. I needed to open up the area a little to provide better morning light whilst keeping shade for hot summer afternoon sun. There was an old but not very healthy oak that we removed as well as a couple of cedar trees. Still got to do a bit of clean up in that area & a little more oak to cut up for firewood.

I only trim my oaks in mid winter or high summer when the beetles that carry oak wilt are not active. And I always paint newly cut surfaces to prevent  oak wilt from getting in!

Oak wilt is a devastating disease – Learn about it!  https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/OakWiltFAQS/

Just seal the wound

Color doesn’t matter!

In the above article you’ll see the importance of painting freshly cut surfaces. Aerosol prune sealer is readily available and is generally black in color. However, color doesn’t matter.

I couldn’t immediately find my can of prune sealer so I used what I had at hand. It’s red but I don’t mind and it will fade with time. The important thing is to seal the wound. In early, January the beetles shouldn’t be active, but it was around 70ºF- so who knows?

My thought is “Better safe than sorry”.

I think it’s always important when tree trimming to regularly stand back and look at the area you’re working in. What you never want to see is ugly gaps in your landscape because you’ve been a little enthusiastic! We made quite a change to an area that was a little neglected and are very happy with the look we achieved.

Bees

Stuart and I made it to the January monthly meeting of Comal County Beekeepers Association.

It was very interesting and we certainly learnt quite a lot. Most important to us is making contact with the local beekeeping experience. Everyone seems really keen on sharing information and knowledge to the benefit of our winged friends.

We heard about Horizontal Hives at the meeting and we both got quite excited. These are supposed to give bees a more natural home. Makes sense that if bees are living in a more natural environment then they are going to be happier and healthier. We’re going to be learning a lot over the next couple of years.

Can’t wait to get our first bees in April – going to be an exciting journey for us.

The Wood Pile

Original site of wood pile

The owners before us simply put their wood pile in-between two large oaks. For twelve years I’ve not been terribly happy with that situation! Some might say I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes….

New firewood rack

A little idea flashed in my brain and I repurposed some of an old trampoline frame to make a firewood rack away from these oaks. I used some muscles moving piles of wood into their new location – but am much happier with the new arrangement.

Still got some a pile of wood to move (see photo above) – mainly older seasoned firewood. The newly cut logs will be put at the back to dry and be ready for next winter.

It’s good being able to repurpose items. The old trampoline frame is strong and perfect for it’s new use.

New Chicken Coop

Not much more has been done on the new chicken coop, mainly because Stuart hurt his left hand – bad news when you’re left handed!

New chicken coop 12/6/19

Once he’s constructed the sides and front we’ll reuse the roof from the old coop and probably the old doors & hinges. The more we can reuse, the less waste we’ll have at the end. And most of what’s left will be kept for a new nursery coop at some time in the future.

Plans for my new water feature are coming together in my head.I even have some rough scribbles on paper, so I hope to be able to share that with you next week.

Caroline xo


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