Is it winter already?

Well, I think it’s safe to say that summer got away from me.  I started doing one farmers market on Saturdays for fun, but that Imagequickly became one on Sunday as well.  Add in a very busy few months doing political media relations, and kiss any “free” time goodbye.  I ended up being that person with a smartphone attached to her hand, which has never happened before.  So many of my carefully laid gardening plans went awry because of it.  Ahhh, another learning experience!  But I did get a lot of things done.  And some new experiences.  Like pickled scapes.  

ImageThese lovely little fellows were given to me by a local farmer, otherwise known as The Pumpkin Lady.  If you’ve never seen them before, they are the green shoot from garlic, kind of like a green onion.  I ended up making several pints of pickles scapes, and they were a hit at the market.

ImageThey joined things like strawberry margarita jam, cranberry orange marmalade, chipotle ketchup and cranberry mustard on my shelves.  I also steeped some in some white balsamic vinegar, which was amazing.  It smelled so good, and looked pretty in the little jars I put it in.  

Another one of my new adventures was beekeeping.  I’m really new to it and have a lot to learn, but my friend Brett, who brought me the hive, was terrific in helping me out.

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Because it’s the first year for the hive, we wanted to leave the bees lots of honey to help them get through the winter.  So after we inspected the hive and made sure the queen was well and laying her eggs, we took out one frame for honey collection and left the rest.

ImageBut without any equipment, like an extractor, how to get the honey off the frame?  Eventually, we suspended the frame over a foil pan to catch it as it dripped out after uncapping the wax with a hot serrated knife.

ImageIt took awhile, but eventually we got as much honey as we could from the frame and then put the frame outside on top of the hive to allow the bees to clean off the rest.  One frame gave us three beautiful pints of honey.  Really, the best agricultural bang for your buck and your time.  I’m looking at making a top bar hive over the winter and trying to establish a new colony using natural (no chemicals or antibiotic) techniques next spring.  And looking forward to a lot more honey next summer.

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So much more to do and plan for.  Today looks like a great day to fill the woodbox, wash some floors, make some yogurt and have a hot supper waiting for my husband and the kids.  Maybe make some cheddar cheese scones for supper?  

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Is it winter already?

  1. Jo Ann says:

    You will find beekeeping truly rewarding – if you haven’t already. We have four hives and they keep the trees and wildflowers pollinated and give you the “nectar of the gods” in return! We don’t have an extractor either, but my husband rigged up a series of filter and drip plastic tubs, which worked very well. Hope your bees winter well. 🙂

    • Thanks Jo Ann. As a new-bee (terrible pun, I know, but I couldn’t resist), I’m hoping for a succesful wintering, and will be ordering more bees after Christmas. Four hives sounds on par with where I’d like to go with this as well. We are blessed with very avid gardening neighbours who are providing a bounty for our bees and I’m hoping to add some fruit trees to our property in the spring as well.

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