Well, I must apologise for the lack of updates recently, starting in my new branch on Monday, attending a Managers Meeting on Wednesday and working my new (3 out of 4 weekends working) rota means I've been a tad bit busy to say the least! The new branch I'm working at is 25mins from home, along a route that is fairly traffic free, so Im saving a good hour a day on my commute, which is great! The branch itself is a smaller one than my last, with a slightly smaller team, but I have to say that it is exceptionally well designed, well laid out and looked after by the team and so far appears to have a fantastic team of highly committed staff! There's a few areas I've found that I need to look at, but nothing major, so the stress levels here will (I hope) be much reduced! I'm back in my old area now, working for an Area Manager I've known for 20 years, who was originally my store manager, and was instrumental in developing me to progress within my career, which is great, not only because I know and trust the guy, but also because I find his style of management one that gets the best out of me, he's supportive when needed, but challenges you to deliver and is always pleasant to deal with, so I'm looking forwards to seeing how the next few months develop at work!
Anyhows, my new rota means I dont get the same 2 days off every week, I get 1 weekend from every 4 off and a 2 day break on a Weds / Thurs every month, plus 2 days off a week for the other 2 weeks, so not as many days off with hubby as I'd like, but a small price to pay for a much reduced commute! This week Lee, Pat, Colin and Sarah did the bee inspections on Wednesday (whilst I was at a Managers Meeting), and were able to take 23 frames of capped honey from the hives, which we all extracted on Wednesday night! 2 of the batches (from hives 2 and 3) were lovely smooth light coloured honey, but the 3rd batch (from Hive 6) appeared to be very heavy, possibly 'rape seed' honey, and looks like it will granulate very quickly, so we are thinking of using this to make a few gallons of mead! In total it appears we extracted about 70lb of honey, 20lb of which is the rape seed honey, so the 50lb from hives 2 and 3 will be bottled on Wednesday next week! They also reported that they think there will be more frames ready to extract next week, so fingers crossed we may yet get a good honey harvest this year!
Walking Bella along the Manchester Ship Canal I spotted this marker buoy, which with the reflections looked as if it was floating in the air, as Im always one for a photo out of the ordinary I thought Id snap it, what do you think?
I hope you find the piccies to your liking, photography is something I enjoy, but rarely get the chance to go out and take piccies, or to display them! A few months ago at the Stockport BBKA meeting we had a talk on photographing bees, with a practical session, at which we were allowed to take our cameras into their apiary and then the resulting digital images were critiqued by the guest speaker, a beekeeper who is also chairman of the Stockport Photography Club. I was glad to have my pictures approved, and delighted when he invited me ti join the Photography Club, but unfortunately working a rota means its not possible atm for me to do so! However, at the Honey Show in November there is a photography competition, so I will be entering that! I was fortunate the other day to be loaned the use of a 100mm macro lens for my cannon, so I had a quick play with it today, capturing a couple of images of our bees having a drink, I'm hoping that next Wednesday I'll be able to take it into the apiary to see if I can get some prizewinning photos for the show!
Anyhows, onto todays harvest and some piccies from around the plot!
So, although the nights are drawing in, the weather is beginning to feel autumnal and the weeds are becoming a problem, there's still plenty of crops still to harvest over the next few weeks!
As I've not produced a balance sheet for a while I thought I'd include one in todays post!
Balance Sheet Update - 27th August 2010
Total Veg Plot Costs 2010
Rent + Subs for 2 full plots £100
Seed Spuds £20
Onion Sets £6
Chicken Manure Pellets £8
Plastic 'wannabe' Polytunnel £61
Bamboo Canes £8
Flower Plants £28
Scaffolding Boards £100
Watering Cans £8
Soft Fruits £16
Arbour materials £ 40
Cold Frames (2) £30 (1/2 price at Argos)
Birdfeeders (for arbour) £10
Total Costs £ 504
Next years costs should be significantly less than this year, as we wont be building the arbour, buying the polytunnel or cold frames or scaffolding boards!
Total Veg Plot Harvests 2010
Rhubarb £ 35
Fartichokes £ 4
Volunteer Spuds £15
First Early Spuds £15
Second Early spuds £10
Broad Beans £52
French Beans £65
Red Onions £20
White Onions £50
Runner Beans £36
Chard / Spinach £2
Total Veg Plot Harvests £ 766
So, a total nett profit of £ 272 so far this year, with a large amount of harvests still to come! The toms are definitely late this year, we've still a large amount of fruit on the plants in the greenhouses and polytunnel, but its very slow to ripen, however, at least they have started to crop about 10lb or so twice a week now!
I'm working for the next 4 days, but then I;ve got Wednesday and Thursday off, so I'm hoping to be able to post a couple of full updates then, but if I get the chance to get to the plot over the weekend for half an hour I'll see if I can get a quick update in for you!
Hope your crops are harvesting well and your balance sheets are healthy! Thanks for reading!
Sue and Lee's Vegetable Allotment pages, detailing all that we've been doing on our allotments, from clearing the 8' tall weeds that they were covered in when we started with our first plot in October 2006, through to where we are today, with 2 neighbouring full sized productive organic vegetable growing plots, 2 apiaries and 6 Beehives!!
Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
40th Birthday BBQ on the plot!
All in all a great day, Lee got some fab birthday gifts, a bottle of Jamesons, a pyrography kit (for making plant labels next year), socks, 2 belts, a very nice bottle of port, a fab extrabright led wind up torch, a fleece, a wall mounted thermometer and a large wall mounted clock (for the plot), a personalised pen, a tool box and the keyring with the enamel bee and watering can charms on it! I've also managed to bag him a load of homebrew gear off ebay, so we'll be picking that up on Wednesday, just in time to start some Elderberry wine off!
Hope you get the chance to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours with fellow allotmenteers and friends on your plots, thanks for reading!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Greenmen, Building a Hedgehog House & Pruning the Trees!
Once we'd done this, we decided to finally get round to building the hedgehog house in the corner near to Apiary 2 (on Plot 1)
At this point it started to rain a bit, so after watering in the greenhouses and harvesting about 10lb of toms, we decided to call it a day! Not sure if I'll get an update done tomorrow, as we're BBQing and its Lee's 40th birthday, but I'll get some piccies and hopefully be able to share them with you on Monday, after my first day at my new branch!
Hope your crops are still doing well, and that your weed infestation is much less than ours! Thanks for reading!
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