Dear Louise,

I am sorry I don’t have evaporation figures for the last two weeks, mostly because I have been distracted – and because we have had enough rain to keep the evaporation pan overflowing most days. Sorry too that I did not get a blog out last week. My Internet connection is not what it used to be.

I am intrigued to know whether anyone has tried Hennie Swart’s method of putting tobacco into a 40 deg C high humidity Sauna for the first 24hrs. Impossible for me to do that in my tunnel or chongololo but, if I hear reports that it has made a dramatic improvement, we would at least know where to aim. Murray Green told me that the farmers they visited recently emphasized the need to hold it at 48 C for 48 hours. Again impossible to achieve in a tunnel; SLIGHTLY easier to achieve in a chongololo but not without an AWFUL lot of fiddling around. I have known for a long time that our continuous systems cannot cure as well as individual curers (especially in difficult years) but I keep hoping that the world will start to tax fossil fuels heavily so that these fuel efficient systems can come into their own.

I attended a Bee Course recently, not so much because I believe there is money to be made from bees, but because I wanted to learn how to remove two large swarms from my house! I think there IS a case for managing our bees a little better than we do, and there are now several people who can help you, should you have some problem bees.

Just as importantly, I was reminded of the services of PUM, a Dutch organisation that will arrange for retired experts (in any field) to come and give their advice. An excellent service and I believe Klaske Muijs is the current PUM co-ordinator.

Best4now, Bruce



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