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Permie for Pennies in France

 
gardener
Posts: 2989
Location: Southern alps, on the French side of the french /italian border 5000ft high Southern alpine climate.
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David, when i saw this, i thought of you!

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/02/honey-on-tap/
 
pollinator
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Seen it already yawn having bets on how much it will cost . I recon 300e plus for just a " haus" Bucket for the " bobos" to put money in

David
 
pollinator
Posts: 1140
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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kids trees urban
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Are you in Angers or Anjou? I might be able to send some people your way who'd love to visit and have a tour, if you're willing, in May.

Good luck on the projects, it looks beautiful, all those old nut trees coming back to use. Thanks.
 
David Livingston
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Angers was the capital of Dutchy of Anjou but the French changed all the adminestrative areas along with lots of other stuff during the revolution so only old fashioned types like me still call it that .
Pm me if your friends want to visit unfortunetly we are not equipped for people to stay and you will have to make their own way here

David
 
David Livingston
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Its been a nice day today so I finished putting out the Bait hives.
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Bait hive in the monster tree
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Bait hive among the brambles and wildish plum trees
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Bait hive on top of the prospective bee house - a Dadant with a Warré style quilt/roof
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The first primrose of spring ;-)
 
David Livingston
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Had a great day playing music out side it was so warm about 16+ C in just a shirt !
The girls were busy bringing in pollen
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one of the girls on Lessor Celandine . This is flowering all over at the moment
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A girl on the Azalia
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a busy entrance to the hive
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Been a while since I posted . Its very busy here in France .
Firstly the bees are in good form and have been drinking walnut sap . No I had not heard of this beehavior either but here is the photo to prove it ( see below )
Yesterday the first drones appeared so sex and swarms will not be far away I think , am I fully prepared ?
Bait hives are up

I have also taken on a new micro project . In that I am thinking of reconditioning a hen house and run to act as holiday spot for my chickens when I get some . Although I believe that free range is best I also believe this view is shared by Mr Fox and a couple of other locals . So when I am away and cannot put the chickens to bed a strong safe place is required .

Lastly while we were out one day our neighbour dug out his ditch and then continued digging ten yards onto the LLs propertry. So we aked why we were not told about this but it appears the LL knew nothing about this fun and games particully since this ditch is up the hill from the chateau and now full of water whoops
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bees on walnut stump
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newish hen house needs TLC
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new ditch maybe pond
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Up date on the newish chicken house and my new polytunnel
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steward
Posts: 3109
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
603
hugelkultur urban chicken food preservation bike bee
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I like the chicken run! I think it will be nicely shaded by the vines on top. Just get some nipple waterers and a secure feeder (like the kind that open when a hen stands on the step), and you'll be able to leave them to their own devices for a weekend, no problem!
 
David Livingston
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Thanks for the suggestions Julia thats what I was thinking . All I need to do is park my mobile hen house up to the door and block off the bottom .Alas The roof of the chicken house is totally wrecked . The vines as you call them are a mixture of bramble ,ivy and elderberry. My plan is to clean the outside of the cage before talking to the LL . He may say no to the whole idea , its unlikely but there you go . I will need to replace the netting on the top . Luckerly a previous occupant who kept goats left a whole raft of green plastic covered " pig fencing " that I could use I think the goats laughed at the fencing and used to jump straight over . The inside of the cage I will clean after the LL has agreed and I expect it to be totally slate covered and thus I will get some nice soil too .
I wonder if I grew something the Chickens could eat over the top would that help ? Anyone any ideas ?
 
David Livingston
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Yesterday was wonderful 26c! in April Its due to be colder from today only 20ish still feels like summer for a chap from Co Durham England .
I took out my scythe yesterday cleaned and sharpened it and started on the hay . I just might be the slowest person with a scythe in the world but then I only do a little bit day after day so it soon mounts up .
My bees were fanning it was so hot
I hope the sun comes out today and I will take some more pics
David
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Here are some pics I took today
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Some of my graftsare working :-) This is a plum tree
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a nice quince flower - the quince tree is doing much better now I have removed the other treees shadowing it
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Wild Orchid
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the flowering cherry out side the chateau
 
Julia Winter
steward
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gorgeous!
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Thanks Juilia

Other news I saw a bee investigating one of the bait hives - fingers crossed !

David
 
David Livingston
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FIVE BEES around and in and out of the bait hive !!! come on girls !
 
David Livingston
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Yesterday we had our first swarm !
Just after two I was in the green house looking ofter the tomatos when I herd a buzzing I looked out side and the sky was full of bees !
Obviously a swarm was it sitting there two metres up un a readly availabe branch er no it was 4m up our biggest pear tree . I managed to put them eventually into a box . The problem was which hive to place them in . I was going to use my Warre but it had blown over a couple of days earlier and was still wet and in need of repair so I placed the bees in the Perrone . But there are problems ...
The bees were great no stings very gentle me I feel like a clumsy oaf and worry about them

David
 
pollinator
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I just discovered this thread. No entries in a while. Are you still at the same place? I imagine that you have become quite entrenched.
 
David Livingston
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Yup doesnt time fly , I sort of got out the habit of posting So here are a host of pics I took today
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This is how the chateau is looking with shiney new gravel , not my idea ;-)
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Our House front
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out House back
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What used to be the jungle from the west With three of the plum trees now grafted two more next year
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what used to be the jungle from the north with one log hive and another bait hive in the tree plus I am using monter tree as a dry place for fire wood storage
 
David Livingston
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Here are some other pics
I've been busy fighting bamboo
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behind the chateau last summer
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and now
 
David Livingston
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three Pics from my bedroom window faces north window and one from the bench I built looking in the opposite direction ish
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David Livingston
pollinator
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lastly the orchard
All the flowers you see are pears , I will be happy if one in thirty flowers give a fruit
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Another log hive and a Warre awaiting bees With the new Walnut trees
 
David Livingston
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update on chicken house
Still not finished as I need to find someone to look after chicken when we are away
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Julia Winter
steward
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Thanks so much for sharing more pictures - what a life! The building are gorgeous, even more so the grounds as you improve them.

I particularly appreciate the "before and after" pictures, it must be gratifying to see what you've accomplished already. I'm sure with all your bees the numbers of pears will increase!
 
David Livingston
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FranklyI think the work I have done is worth more to the LL than the rent I pay which I admit is not much as its about 40% of the going rate .
As for bees only two of the hives have bees a dadant in the orchard and a perone hidden behind the open Barn
but yes I am lucky I know . All I need to do is find a partner to help with the animals I would like . My GF is not relly interested in either hens or goats /cow etc

David
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David Livingston
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Bee update
Tuesday I "supered " the dadant hive no sign of drones today bang they are all over the place . For those who don't keep bees drones are about twice the size of the workers do no work that we know of, don't sting ,eat get fat and only really show them selves when sex is in the offing . Plus lots of bees investigating the two nearest bait hives . So yup it's swarm time . Just when I will be away tomorrow , it's like they know or some thing
 
David Livingston
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Well I was expecting my bees to swarm yesterday but arrived home last night to find a few scouts looking at one of my log hives . Ok I thought tomorrow or may be sunday when my inlaws are here .
Anyway through out the day things got busyier and busyier at the log hive, my warre and dadant were ignored ! .
Meanwhile my resident bees seemed not bothered collecting pollen ( colza hawthorne and apple I think ) . After dinner I began to wonder if these where my bees ? Then at 5:30 out of the sky they came from the south by six they were in the log hive . Great Stuff I will post a pic of the log hive next week . Now to see what happens when my girls swarm Tomorrow ?

David
 
David Livingston
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Here is the pic of the hive will post more later . Its the log at the front
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Julia Winter
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That is so awesome! They just showed up and moved into your hive. I got a top bar hive two springs ago, I was hoping that would happen, but I had to collect a swarm myself this spring to get some bees of my own.

I had scouts checking out the hive, but they didn't pick it. The swarm I placed there at least a month ago is doing really well, so I'm happy.
 
David Livingston
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I think its always a good idea to have a spare hive set up as a bait hive as you never know . It took me an afternoon to make this log hive for free out of an old log that was a bit rotten and not much good for fire wood. What have you got to loose?

David
 
David Livingston
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This morning I discovered the bees I had thought were happy in their new log hive sat outside on the surface of the hive ! WTF was going on .
I could only think of three possibilities
1 this was another cast swarm that followed the first
2 the first swarm had two queens and one had been kicked out / fled ?
3 the bees did not like the hive and where looking for something else
I noted that some of the bees at the entrance were trying to encourage the others to return by releacing scent . Plus the weather was pouring with rain and getting worse.
So I put my kit on even though all the bees where very placid knocked as many bees as I could into a box and poured them into the Warre hive ( its in the back ground of the pic above )
At the moment it's late evening here the bees have calmed down both hives have bees bringing in nectar and pollen so it looks like I have two hives
More including a pic from today tomorrow fingers crossed

David
 
David Livingston
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As promised pics from yesterday and todays dramas are about to begin

David
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David Livingston
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Well today both new hives started out very chaotic but over the day they have both calmed down. Both are collecting pollen and nectar and are looking queen right and organised .
I have decided to exchange one of the hives( the Warre ) for a fruit tree and an empty hive as its too close to the other hive ( with a French permie who lives about 12 km away )

David

 
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forest garden trees
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Hello David,

I live near Angers (Soulaire et Bourg). I'm very happy to find someone from Angers on this website. I will be very happy, if we should meet. We could talk about your project and mine (a forest garden). Are you interested ? I'm French and I want to be a farmer near Angers. This year, I' taking courses in order to become a farmer, I was a mechanical Engineer. When I saw you topic, I was very happy.
So if you are interested, let me know.

Bests regards

Sylvie P
 
David Livingston
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I am always interested in talking ( warning may involve cups of tea and cake )
I live near Marans
I have sent you a PM

David
 
David Livingston
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Not a good day today . It looks like both my new swarms have died , the cold weather and rain of the past 2weeks ment that they never really got started Cest la vie as they say in these parts . I hope the smell and "decoration" those brave bees carried out will help and attract other swarms in the future .
I had another problem with melons . I was given three melon plants and one had an attack of slugs (picture 1) the next one seems ok ( picture 2 ) but the third has a much bigger issue (picture 3)
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yes its a courgette
 
David Livingston
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I like flowers and two of the nicest ones in my view are actually on fruit trees and herbs
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Medlar
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borage
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quince
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The medow :-)
 
David Livingston
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We have also had some visitors
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French or Red legged Partridge
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Eric the hedgehog
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Georgina the hare
 
Julia Winter
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Hedgehogs are adorable!!

Sorry about your bee colonies. I hope you have better success in the future. My first swarm turned out to be queenless, but my second swarm (collected this spring, almost a year later) is doing great. I built a shelter over the bee hive, just used a small shed roof that had been left in our (messy, urban) yard and put it up over the hive. OK, then we put siding on the north and west sides, to stop blowing rain.
 
David Livingston
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A closer pic of Georgina taken last night about 4 ft from the back door
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steward
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Georgina is gorgeous! Looks like you have your own little Beatrix Potter storyland going on there. Lovely.
 
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