Would you be amenable to exchanging tips and tricks regarding aconite growth; seed to harvest? I was certain I had my methods down to a science but the batch I received from you was quite potent and I wonder if there is something I could be doing to better care for my specimens. I thought it might be considered rude to ask for your secrets outright, but now that we have had some correspondence and you can be assured I am a serious herbologist it seemed appropriate to broach the subject. You mentioned homemade honey in your last letter. Do you keep an apiary?
Would you be amenable to exchanging tips and tricks regarding aconite growth; seed to harvest? I was certain I had my methods down to a science but the batch I received from you was quite potent and I wonder if there is something I could be doing to better care for my specimens. I thought it might be considered rude to ask for your secrets outright, but now that we have had some correspondence and you can be assured I am a serious herbologist it seemed appropriate to broach the subject.
You mentioned homemade honey in your last letter. Do you keep an apiary?
I'm happy to give you any advice I have, though it may be thin on the ground. I'm sure a serious herbologist knows more than a poor farmer, but I've had some success with trying different manure mixes on different plants. I've only tried the clover and chicken mix on the aconite beds; I've attached the quantities in the mix to this note, though I don't know how available the materials are to you.
As for rude - nothing of the sort. If that knowledge I stumble on can help someone else, I don't see any good comes from keeping it quiet. I just hope the potency of that crop wasn't a fluke - it's a rather acrid-smelling manure to deal with for nothing.
I keep several hives - or, given their happily rich production, they rather keep me.
Expertise comes from experience. Farming is a separate skill set from greenhouse horticulture. I don't know more, I just know different. Thank you for the exact contents of the mixture, though you're correct in assuming I may have some difficulty acquiring chicken manure. Do you keep chickens as well, or do you have a supplier?
I appreciate anyone who willingly shares knowledge. Keeping successful endeavors secretly guarded is snooty and helps no one in the end. I will let you know if my batch of aconite fares as well as yours and we can compare notes.
Excellent! It's rare to meet another beekeeper. I only keep two hives as my space in the city doesn't allow for more, but their production has been down lately. My cough remedies have suffered for it. Have you been as long at beekeeping as you have farming?
I have around a dozen hens and pullets as well as a rather irritable rooster, so a rather endless supply it feels like most days. If you can find someone local with a brood, I would imagine they'd be all too happy for you to take some manure off your hands. I'm not sure if the breed of chicken affects the mix at all - my own brood is a rather mixed bunch.
I've had my hives for a little over 10 years now, but I suppose I've been farming my whole life - considerably longer, by a good few decades. It's on a much smaller scale now - my farm provides enough to live on and, in good years, sometimes a little more.
You said you kept your bees in the city? Have you looked at their harvest options - sometimes production slows because of poor nectar sources, especially if they're having to travel. Maybe consider some small flower boxes, if you have room - foxglove and snapdragon are beautiful, and quite hardy.
You must keep a lot of land or else your home is very crowded. I doubt there are many locals who keep coops as a rule, but that's a large assumption on my part considering I have a full-scale garden on a rooftop. I haven't had the time to look into manure availability in any case. It may have to wait until after exams.
Did you choose to downscale because you prefer to work alone? If the answer is too personal you don't have to share. I considered acquiring a plot of land once I've finished my studies but I don't think I'd have the time.
I have an abundance of foxglove, but I've left off the snapdragon. Unless they're medicinal I don't keep much in the way of flowers. Thank you for the suggestion. Do you keep melaleuca on your farm? I know it's indigenous to Australia but some magical horticulturalists have successfully transferred other climates. I don't have the space for a proper tree, but I've heard manuka honey fetches a high price.
It's both, if that doesn't seem peculiar. I have around forty acres, but more than half of that is woodland that I am more neighbour to than guardian of. My home is small, in comparison to a good working farm, but it does me. The chickens don't seem to mind, and I have a decent enough pasture to keep some larger stock, but crowded is how it feels most days. Quiet, but full.
It was not question of preference, in my case. Land definitely requires time, I'm afraid to say. A typical day, even on a small piece like mine, is usually dawn to dusk and - though I doubt you assumed as such - it is hard. Not just the physical work either, but the burden of care. My family like to say that land doesn't belong to you, you belong to the land. I'm not sure how to explain it, or if I even could.
Then, my family have always been rather old-fashioned, so.
I'm afraid melaleuca* is name that escapes me - my experience is limited largely to plants, mundane and magical, native to the British Isles. I wouldn't know what to do with an Australian anything, but if I ever come across one, I might consider it - I wouldn't want the bees to get bored. They are very fond, I think, of the pair of Japanese cherry trees I have planted in the back pasture - they were a gift some years ago, but they seem to have taken quite well, despite the black Irish weather. Very useful trees, oddly, if you have gnomes.
Good luck with your exams, if that's not too forward to say.
I've found that's the best way to live. I grew up with four older siblings. It was always very cozy, but never quiet. Part of the draw of country life, I think, is the idyllic nature of it as opposed to the controlled chaos to which I've grown accustomed.
Your family sounds very wise. I agree it's useless to try at taming something wild--best be led by what's natural. My brother works with hippogriffs and my boyfriend with dragons, so I've witnessed some professional, symbiotic wrangling at least second-hand. I also have a few venomous tentacula to whom I very much belong rather than the other way round.
Next time I go round the outback I'll see what it takes to acquire a specimen. And how interesting; do gnomes prefer a Japanese cherry to other, local variants?
Thank you. I've been studying for a long while and I'm looking forward to having done with it, though healing is a bit of a living practice. Always more to learn.