Tag Archives: bees

This week in guerilla gardening

This morning there was a little outing.  Planting at a culvert beside the local train station with cyclists whizzing past and runners raising eyebrows.

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It’s interesting working so close to the train line.  I moved into this neighbourhood because of the public transport, and the lucky find of a place we could afford, discovered when I took a wrong turn on my bike coming home from work.  The place was for private sale with a handmade sign and we had given up on finding anything in this spot.  I appreciate the public transport, and rail freight too, a great deal.  But some days I also reflect on the spectacularly ugly way we do these things here. I live in hope that the future will find better ways and that these trains will be powered more sustainably soon.  I put in more weaving rushes on the banks of the channel, and some saltbush above it.  There was a whole purple towel just inside the fence for the railway, but well past the end of the path.  Curious.  It can join the dyeing towels.

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And then there was weeding.  The best way to keep the poisoners at bay!  Several of these plants have come up.  This one is in bud.  Does anyone more knowledgeable know what they are?  I think my parents have them in their garden, where I think they give off a curry (fenugreek, perhaps) kind of scent in midsummer.  Wandering about on the interwebs, Mum and Dad probably have Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum) and … this may not be the same plant, but I can’t readily identify it as [locally] native or a weed.  Identification is a work in progress. Maybe the recent flooding rains have borne seeds here, as I have seen it nowhere else nearby. The plant growing in this reveg site I am working on also comes up in the older graves on the West Tce cemetery, where they have recently been poisoned along with the sow thistles.  Poison, even in cemeteries.  Friends, let me push up weeds if needs be, when the time comes.  Weeds may be plants growing where they are unwanted but routine and repeated poisoning is not a great alternative.

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It’s one of the things I love about guerilla gardening, and thinking of it as caring for Kaurna land in some small way, that I understand more and more of the small ways of the place around me.  Both its suffering under trash and poison and the way plants grow and spread and long to live and small creatures find ways to get by or thrive.  The previous round of plantings have survived and begun to grow.

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I weeded out the things I recognise to be weeds (less fumitory, more prickly lettuce and flax-leaf fleabane this time).  I left the unnamed plant.  It may be native and is a handsome, hardy, silver leaved plant in any case.

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On the weekend I weeded on my way home from the train station and there was a broken bucket to pick up and use, into the bargain. Chicken happiness, neighbourhood weeding, and trash turned into recycling, surely the trifecta of the guerilla weeder.

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Then there were weedy poppies alongside the railway line. Beautiful.

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And shirley poppies at home in abundance.

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With bee revelry into the bargain.

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One landed on my thumbnail to inspect me.  I am not allergic but even so it gave me a start, then I blew gently on it, and off it went.  Blessed are the bees and those of us lucky enough to be able to appreciate them.

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Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

Ply time!

A while back I had used almost every bobbin I own, each with a different colour of thread on it.

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Over time there were even more bobbins of singles than this pictures shows…  finally there has been a season of plying, skeining and washing, and now I have this pile instead.

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Logwood purples, purple-greys and purple-browns, a cochineal pink (and a cochineal-logwood exhaust), three indigo blues, two madder exhaust-oranges, and a coreopsis exhaust yellow.  I didn’t take good enough notes of the fibres–some are on merino roving (the madder), some on polwarth, some on grey corriedale. Maybe there is a little of Malcolm the Corriedale in there too!

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And there has been even more bee swarm action in the neighbourhood.  These bees have taken up residence on a rainwater tank, with some support from a ladder! And… I am so over tending the silkworms 🙂

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Filed under Natural dyeing, Spinning

A little light neighbourhood commentary, and more bees

Since I’ve been a dog aunty, I’ve been walking the neighbourhood even more than usual. It has given me lots of opportunities to see the local bird boxes in use. That is a rainbow lorikeet sitting on top of the box.

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And this, I believe, is the lorikeet wondering what I am up to down there.  Or perhaps the lorikeet is watching the dog!

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This morning, I went to check on a swarm at our friends’ house, and to look in on their chooks.  There have been three swarms in their neighbourhood in addition to those at our house over the last couple of weeks, so our friend the beekeeper has been a regular visitor.  Passing through the same park on the way home… I was admiring the activity of the bees who have moved into a big river red gum (E Camaldulensis) that leans to one side near the creek.  I don’t know if you can see them in this picture–but this is the entry to their home, viewed from below.  In the past I have seen musk lorikeets wing their way out of the same hollow.

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This is one of the trees I tied a handmade banner to a while ago.  You can see it here, dwarfed by the immensity of the tree.

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When I got closer, I realised that someone had added their own commentary to the banner.  In a good way!

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Filed under Craftivism, Eucalypts, Neighbourhood pleasures

Week 5 silkworm update with bees

It has been a big week for the silkworms.  The stage of audible munching has been reached.  I come out in the morning and there is just about no leaf left.  I now have 3 trays of silkworms.

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Minutes after I add more leaves, holes appear and heads poke through them.  keeping up the supply is a big job.

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Meanwhile, the critter action in our backyard ramped up to a swarm of bees, hanging from a metal arch with a rose bush on it.

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I found a friendly beekeeper who agreed to come and collect them.  I didn’t realise I would be a participant.  He took pity on me and lent me a cover for my head and face and upper body.  He was wearing shorts and a t shirt!  I shook the archway and he held up a box and caught the swarm as it dropped in.

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They seem to have settled in.  Here they are heading in and out in the morning sun.

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The beekeeper noticed a second swarm in next door’s tree.  We hoped they might be two parts of the same swarm, but apparently not.  That koala shaped blob silhouetted against the sky is a mass of bees to high to reach.  They might be with us for some time to come.

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Meanwhile in backyard news, the biggest carrot ever grown at our place.  I guess I still think of myself as someone who does not grow carrots, and forgot to check on them.

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And the leeks and rhubarb are in.  Rhubarb with ginger and vanilla and orange this week.  Mmmm.

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Filed under Fibre preparation, Neighbourhood pleasures