Wednesday, September 29, 2010


My new TopBar web page is up and running my fellow TB enthusiasts, check out and please feel free to comment ! It is all new to me so I am still finding my way around wordpress, but we will get there, I`m convinced about that - my new motto is . . . . `spread the topbar love`
I will still be posting on Bees in the Antipodes also, so how exciting is this !!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sepia Sunday ?

Sorry folks, I am a day late, but hey, I`m here !! The pic above is moi and my darling Dad on my wedding day in 1973 - oh so young and unworldly-wise I was, not quite 20 and thank heavens I didn`t have a crystal ball to foresee what the years to come were going to bring or I would have started running !! But that is heaps more stories, watch this space . . .

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sustainable Cambridge . .

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking about natural beekeeping using TopBar hives at the Garden Expo in the beautiful old town hall in the picturesque Waikato town of Cambridge. This pretty little `tree town` is about 20mins drive from Hamilton, is surrounded by expensive horse studs, many dairy farms and lots of horticulture. The town has a very English feel about it, with wonderful old oaks and elms planted throughout, beautiful old houses that have been restored, the centre of town having lots of quaint antique shops and splendid cafes !

Tree Town Apiaries had a stand in the hall, Simon had made a great 2 frame display case, I am hoping he can make me one when he has the time. His 80 hives are spread out around the town, some as far out as Maungatautari mountain where his bees gather the delicious nectar from native trees growing on this bush-clad icon of the Waikato valley.
The Lily Pad garden art studio had a very interesting stand with lots of fresh, organic veges and funky garden art displayed through-out. There is also a very tasty cafe out at the Lily Pad, where all the produce is used in the kitchen. There were lots of other stands, blogger won`t let me put anymore pics up ! The Permaculture group were there with info on compost, worm farms and all things sustainable, another had a hen and chicks in a movable hen-house on wheels (I want one), my friend Burton with all his freshly organically grown veges and other interesting, informative stalls.
Being the `horsey` town Cambridge is, there has to be a statue featuring this popular sport somewhere, and here it is . . . . . a beautiful mare and her foal, so real you just have to stroke them . . .

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Proud Mum !

My beautiful, talented eldest daughter, Meg, at her exhibition held at the wonderful Soul Gallery in the city last night. Her paintings are quite different this time, alot lighter in colour - she always paints how she feels, gone is the dark, sadness that once was seen and felt in her work, in comes the happiness and light - Meg is in a much better place these days !
Soul gallery in Hamilton is a beautiful place to visit - full of fantastic New Zealand art - a wondrous place to spend time just browsing and buying, check out
Meg`s paintings usually have her daughter, Lia, in them somewhere. Lia, my sweet grand-daughter is 13 now and growing up so fast - how about the old wooden clothes line !
This painting represents Meg and her fiancee Cam - birds always feature in her paintings, not sure why - something to do with freedom maybe . . .
This is my favorite, I love the green she has used, the young woman striding out, the old house - it was sold by the end of the evening - not to me ...
This was titled `row my own boat`, very appropriate I believe !

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sring is in the Air . .

The beginnings of spring down here in Aotearoa brings un-predictable weather - rain and wind that batters the fragile fruit blossom and leave drops of water hanging off the end of buds. The fresh green new fronds of the tree ferns uncurl amongst the Rhododendrons in the Gardens.
Stunning orange banksia flowers are like bright candles on a dull day. Birds and bees love these interesting blooms which provide a welcome food supply over late winter and spring.

Kowhai buds on the tree in my garden, full of tiny waxeyes and a pair of fantails who dart around catching bugs. The bees don`t usually visit this native tree until the flowers finish and they are able to reach the nectar - it makes them abit sleepy !
Fruit tree blossom,, so exquisite in its form and colour - nature has formed this perfect flower that when pollinated, will form a seed to carry on it`s life. .

The first cherry to flower here, Prunus companulata or the Tui tree, now considered a weed tree as the birds spread the seed out onto the bush, with this pretty tree grows robustly in our temperate climate. It is a beautiful spring sight with its cerise pink flowers and carpet of pink on the ground.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bees in Whaingaroa..

Yesterday, a friend and I ran a beekeeping taster at Barbara`s scenic west coast property - the wild Whaingaroa (Raglan) coast. Barbara has been keeping bees for 30 years and has 2 hives in a paddock next to their gorgeous `Raglan` home which looks out into the bush and waves.We had 6 people including 2 children arrive, all keen to learn.
The smaller hive has the gentle Italian bees, the other, the slightly more aggressive Carniolins, both busy in the sunshine.
Thanks to another beekeeping friend Cally, we had enough suits for everyone to get up close after a session inside learning some of the basics. It was lovely and sunny with the bees quite calm.

The horse in the paddock next door was very curious, she even put her nose into the open hive ! She didn`t get stung which was amazing as there were alot of bees flying around .
A chat about the bees with lots of questions. I really enjoy these days, it is great to educate and pass on my passion for keeping bees.
I had taken my small model TopBar hive and written info on using a TB , I think acouple of the people might think about using one.