I started Saturday enthusiastically with my planned activity; Sour Dough Bread ...
Unfortunately this was nowhere near as successful as I had hoped. The end product was edible, but I don't think I knocked back the dough sufficiently and ended up with loaves that had large voids, rather than a more light and consistent texture.
It went well with 30%'s Fish and Chorizo stew in the evening, but it was certainly nothing to crow about. I plan to make another attempt next weekend, but, if I am going to put the effort in to making bread by hand, I think I'd rather go with a recipe that uses yeast. They're more reliable and without the faffing around maintaining starter cultures.
Another activity that didn't go to plan was my attempt to mow the lawn. The mower started, ran for a few seconds, died a death and then refused to start. I performed a few basic checks and determined that the spark plug had died. The air filter looked well overdue for cleaning too ...
A service kit was ordered, but it looks like the lawn will go untouched until next weekend at the earliest.
The day wasn't a complete failure. TP and I managed a pleasant walk around the Three Miler and I did some preparatory work for the beekeeping I have planned for tomorrow. Supers and Queen Excluders* were removed from the shed and a hive was prepared** for relocation to Kathy H-R's garden early on Sunday.
---* Modern hives are modular allowing a beekeeper to add or remove sections depending on the Colony's needs for space and nectar storage. Supers are sections that are added to the top of the hive where the bees will store nectar and convert it to honey. A Queen Excluder is a wire grid that prevents the Queen from moving up in to the Super and laying there.
** The hive entrance is closed of and the floor and crown board are strapped tightly to the hive body to prevent any escapes. A car full of annoyed bees is never going to be fun!
At eight o'clock in the morning TP and I loaded the hive in to the back of the Land Rover and headed over to Kathy's house. The hive was set up in a matter of minutes and we were soon removing the foam entrance block and heading back home for breakfast.
I'd planned to complete my first proper inspection of my hives today, but I needed to wait for the weather to warm up before that happened. I therefore occupied myself by attending to the pork loin that I am curing.
The loin was removed from its bag and the cure mixture was washed away with cold water. It was then dried off, wrapped in muslin and hung from a hook in the kitchen. It will hang there until the end of this week before it is smoked.
The fourth hive was not so prolific. There are no concerns, it is just smaller than the other Colonies and it will be a two or three weeks before it needs Supering up.
I then returned to Kathy's garden and inspected the hive that had overwintered there.* The Colony was a reasonable size, so an Excluder and Super were added.
The remainder of the day was spent with a minor reorganisation of the garage before 30% and I joined a virtual Cocktail Party for a couple of hours with some old friends from our College Days. We had met up recently at a rather significant event and, since then, have made efforts to stay in touch more frequently than we have previously.
We had an absolute hoot, courtesy of Zoom Conferencing Services and were all quite "relaxed" before we disbanded and headed off for our respective Sunday Dinners. Another event is planned for next weekend, with the agreement that we will all "dress up".
---* The hive I moved this morning will be given a few days to settle down before I disturb it with an inspection.