Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
First of all it is important to know that you DO NOT have to own a farm to have bee hives. You can raise bees in your yard or in the city if there are parks nearby. Bees need to have a nectar supply (flowers) within a two mile range from their hive. And believe me, they will find it. Honeybees are safe and keep to themselves for the most part if you leave them alone. Afterall, they have much work to accomplish in their short life spans, so they pretty much keep on task.
In order to keep bees, you need a hive. Modern hives are wooden structures that contain frames on which the bees store their honey.This is a part of the hive known as a "super". In it you can see several frames. The frame below is filled with honey.It is on several of these frames that the queen bee lays her eggs. Below is a picture of a brood frame with cells of brood food.Amazingly, the queens only job is that of reproduction. She mates with the drones (and she does that only once....midflight....and with many drones in a row). After that she returns to the hive and lays up to 2000 fertilized eggs per day. By the way, upon mating with the queen, the drones die. They serve only one purpose in the hive....stud service. The actual worker bees are all female. It is these bees that are responsible for raising the brood, building the honeycomb, acquiring the nectar and turning it into honey. They also tend to the queen, keep the hive clean, and serve as guards at the entrance.....all these jobs, held by the women!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Each Sunday, I place all the ingredients for an organic whole grain loaf of bread in the bread machine. I hard boil a dozen eggs (from our wonderful hens) and make a big pot of organic oat groats (steel-cut oats) for oatmeal.
I ladle individual portions of the oatmeal into glass bowls with lids and place them in the refrigerator. At the same time, I bring a quart of organic milk to a boil, cool it to room temperature, add yogurt starter and pour it into the yogurt maker. After about a half hour's work, we have homemade eggs, bread, yogurt and oatmeal ready to reheat in the microwave for a quick hearty breakfast each morning. One benefit of doing it all at once is....only one clean up.
I have been using pro-biotic yogurt cultures for added health benefits and they make a yogurt that is not quite as sour as regular yogurt cultures. To this we add a spoonful of homemade apricot or blueberry preserves...left from last Summer's bounty.
I guess you could say I am an old fashioned gal, who relies on modern conveniences to make life a bit easier. Guilt sets in if my family doesn't start each morning with a hearty breakfast.
Today I am trying my hand at baking sourdough bread. The sourdough starter has been on my counter all week ...nurtured each day with a feeding of organic flour and purified water ..in preparation for baking. Today is the day. Here are the loaves, just formed. They will have to rise on the counter for 4 to 8 hours before baking. Because the starter has been on the counter all week, no yeast has been added. The starter pulls yeast from the environment...and this "local" yeast should do well to make the bread rise....we shall see!
PS....I must have done something wrong....this is as good as the bread ever looked. From this point it never rose. Ok, back to the drawing board! If at first you don't succeed.......oh my, what a flop!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
It seems we all agree that Romance has many faces. It is hearts and flowers and gifts and hugs and kisses. But it is also more subtle. It is a glance, a whisper, a caress. It is the warm glow of a memory, it is the butterflies in your stomach feeling of expectation, it is the exhaustion born of fiery passion.
That is not to say that if you are alone, there is an absence of Romance in your life. Romance is a state of mind. You can live a romantic life of solitude by surrounding yourself with beauty. One dictionary definition of romance involves that which is fanciful or imaginitive. We can have Romance in our lives through our music and our interior design.
Take heart, Romance is all around you!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This is the time of the year that I start looking ahead to Spring and Summer's harvest. I have thumbed through the seed catalogs until they are limp. I am dreaming of the dirt that will eventually make its' home beneath my fingernails. In order to accommodate the next season's harvest, though, it is time to seriously make some room in the freezer. It is this time of year that I find creative ways to eat what is left from the past year. I still have a few packages of home grown blueberries that were spared from becoming jam.
I found a yummy recipe in "Country Woman" magazine (thanks Gracie for the great magazines!) and thought I would share it with you.....it is a winner! It is a wonderful reminder of summer with its' fresh citrus and blueberry flavors. Of course I adapted the recipe for my own use....using organic ingredients and removing "whipped topping" from the frosting ingredients. (I never buy whipped topping as it is not actually a food.....just a chemical impostor.)
Blueberry Citrus Cake
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
At some point I will say "See You in September" and take a break from Sew on and Sew Fourth. I will, however, continue to write my farm blog....as there will be so much more to tell once I am living full time on the farm.
Friday, February 6, 2009
And, I mentally planned my next project and started the stitchery for that. Hubbs had shown me a quote that he liked; and since we are building a log home and the quote is apropos, I will incorporate it into a wall hanging. So, I also bought the fabrics for the wall hanging. Here is the quote:
I am planning to use the embroidered quote and applique a white pine along the side of the quote and then border it in the pinecone fabric.....stay tuned! I should finish the stitchery this weekend.