Waiting for the little Mites

I woke up this morning to find that my internet connection was down.  I was practically hyerventilating within seconds. Am I one of the addicted ones?  Grimly I  turned everything off. I reluctantly backed away from the keyboard and went for a longer walk than usual. Something is happening to the air out there.. clouds are building, maybe rain?.  That would be great. Then I did some house work (Not  too much, it is hard to get excited about housework.) Put bread in to rise. Sorted tomatoes for todays Summer Sauce. Hung the first load of washing out (I like hanging it out, it is the getting it IN that has always been my problem). Moved Mama and her Flerd to a new field. Then decided to check one of my hives for those wretched varroa mites. Fingers crossed as I have not had any yet.

The best way to pre-empt infestation by the mites is like everything in the organic world of growing, OBSERVATION, Prevention and Note Taking. Now, I cannot go and look into the eyes of every bee on my morning walk the way I do with stock. Though bees eyes are quite startling. But I can make notes about any unusual behaviour. I have not seen any deformed bees, neither have we had heavy unexplained deaths. No bad smells in there. But my notes tell me that this hive is not thriving. Maybe the mites are there.  I think like most parasites there will always be a presence we just need to make sure the balance does not tip in their favour.

I slide a white sheet under the grill in the base (to catch the mites when they fall so I can count them) dust the bees with powdered sugar and wait a bit.  I do not need to  dust each frame as I am only looking for mites not treating for them, so I just pour the sugar along the tops of the frames then brush and knock it among the bees. Thereby limiting the disruption. The bees are noisy and agitated around their hives this morning which is  another sign that a storm may be coming.  Mama and her babies are quiet. 

Now my internet is back on.  I had such a long wait that I have even sliced some more tomatoes for the dehydrater. I will dry them then pack them into jars and rehydrate them with olive oil and garlic and basil. Then store in the refrigerator.  I dislike the dehydrater because it is noisy and uses electricity (which we try not to depend on) but I LOVE Sun Dried Tomatoes. We cannot sun dry them here as there is too much humidity. So the next best thing is to pop them  into the noisy energy guzzling horrid little plastic machine.

Now we are waiting for the bees to clean up the hive and each other thereby dislodging some mites.  Oh I forgot to tell you, the Custard Squares I made for  Sunday’s dinner were great. The pastry was a bit dull due to the heat probably. The flakiest bestest pastry is made in the winter when the kitchen is cold.  I will link you to a lovely French site that I found, her Egg Custard recipe of so simple and very tasty.  I made this custard with freshest milk and freshly gathered eggs.  I use a little less sugar than she does. Next time I will use honey and see what happens.

The custard squares were made by baking the custard, in a pie dish, between two layers of flaky pastry. Chilled, frosted. Served in tiny squares. Maybe we will get some rain. That would be great. 

We had the custard with lavender jelly that  I made in the spring and home-made unsweetened yoghurt. And that was just the dessert!  OK.  It has been a few hours and still no sign at all of mites on the white card. So I have given that hive a tentative ‘all clear’ until next time. Though I will leave the white card in for 24 hours anyway.

I had better go and get the laundry off the line. It is starting to rain. YAY!


11 Comments on “Waiting for the little Mites

  1. Beautiful photos, of course! Isn’t it amazing the things we get done when the internet is down? I too enjoy hanging my clothes on the lines, mostly my husband’s work clothes, and then taking them down before the sun does some overkill.

    Love the animals settling down before the storm!

  2. Just not quite big enough to stampede my garden, (stamp being the operative word) but I am sure they would give it a go!

  3. Cecilia, loving your posts with the fabulous pictures, as always. My pesto sauce, or shall I say, your pesto sauce, turned out great! My husband, My John, is so excited about my newly found cooking abilities. And so am I!!! Thanks for all!!! Di

  4. It makes complete sense why they do, but I had never thought of mites on bees! Poor little things. I suppose it just comes with the territory of outdoor pets! love the pic of the cows and sheep together!

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