A little note to explain some changes to this site and a heads up where it's heading from here. Since you last heard from me here we moved on the web from the 'Little House on the Hill' URL to karenretra.com, plus had a bit of a revamp of the site's look, while bringing across all the past content. If you're reading this in an email or feed reader, feel free to visit the site and check out the new look and layout!
Hopefully it's now easier to find the resources and specific content (videos, native bees, etc), in turn making it easier to share them or direct people to those. I'm also forewarning you that I will likely add some backdated posts. If you receive our news via email or other update services, you'll get notice of those as they go up.
Please use the site as you like! Maybe it's enough for you to know the content is here, should you want to refer to it. Alternatively, follow along (or keep following along) if you're keen to get notice of each and every post. And, of course, if none of this is your cup of tea you can opt out at any time! I know social media has taken the place of personal blogs and websites for many people. But for me, this is how I'm keen to play. (With a note that you can also find me on some of those platforms, too!).
Meanwhile, at our place (physically, not just online)
... it has also been 'same, same but different'! Here's a quick overview.
- I've been having a lot of fun spotting, noting and learning (more) about native bees, pollinator insects and nature in general ... and will share some of those experiences here. Similarly, my work has been varied, as ever. NB: My Mum can't keep up with which jobs I have at any particular point in time, so I don't expect anyone else to even try. Within the mix, I've been fortunate to be presenting quite a few talks and workshops, particularly on food growing and gardening, as well as native pollinator insects.
- Ralph's shed is a triumph with even more features added and productivity within it going strong (I'd show you, but he might kill me and some folks might suffer shed envy, so I need a little time to think carefully first);
- The garden continues to grow, admittedly with an increasing focus on (or takeover by?) plants for bees/insects and habitat more broadly, and less produce than in the past. Ralph's grateful for a reprieve from gluts of eggplant and we're still in surplus much of the time. The garden is my research lab, refuge, thinking space and exercise all rolled into one, and I don't know where I'd be without it.
- Our single hive of backyard honey bees have had their challenges in recent years, but have been travelling well of late on their dedicated deck (with views to the Murray River and Huon Hill, no less) in their decorated boxes with Warre-style roof. This season has delivered a bonanza of flowering for the bees, so we're also well endowed with honey; thanks girls!
- Our little house on the hill is about to become a slightly bigger and rejigged house on the hill thanks to some renovations. We'll try to justify that with the notes that we both work mostly from home; that the lounge room-as-Karen's-office has worn a little thin (think no room for a couch let alone a dining table!); and the bonus of clever design and incorporation of reused materials by Ralph.
So there's the Claytons update! If you stick around (or pop back), I'll share with you those promised posts, including a bunch of photos and videos I hope you'll enjoy.
A few photos to whet your appetite, in case that helps!