Monthly Archives: August 2012

State of the Garden

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melons + corn + winter squash + sunflowers
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scarlet runner beans + popcorn
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a mountainous pattypan squash plant
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little legs + picking grapes
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a garden friend

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Stolen Sweetness – Taking honey from the hive

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I don’t know what got into me last week, but one day I opened up the cover of the hive to see if one of my colonies had touched the new super I put on it two weeks ago. When I saw a framed of capped honey I got the wild idea to pull a couple of frames for harvest. Walking out to the hives with my boys I usually am excited to see what’s going on, but the idea that I was going to pull frames gave me butterflies. So much so that when I opened the hive and pulled the first frame of honey (which is so much heavier that a brood frame), I dropped it! In case you were wondering how to anger a large pack of bees, that’s exactly how to do it. I got stung through my pants, just once, but I deserved it.

I was able to pull two other frames out without harm to myself or my bees. With the help of my very helpful (and well suited up) five year old and a big feather as a bee brush, we got those two frames in a trash bag, bee free, and into the kitchen. Now came the problem of what to do with the frames. Ideally I’ve learned you only want to cut off the cappings so that you can return the empty comb back to you hive. But to get the honey out that way you need an extractor, which I didn’t have so I cut all the comb off, down to the foundation, using a small serrated knife.
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I held this over a sieve fit into a mixing bowl.
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I was really curious as to how much honey I would get from one frame. Typically I’ve seen honey yields listed in pounds, but being a visual person that never held much value for me. Well now I know that one medium super frame of honey fits into a quart canning jar with just a little extra to save for tea & toast.
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We’ve been preserving vegetables and fruit for 10 years now, but the feeling of putting two full quart jars of honey into our pantry was immensely satisfying in a different way.

Now that I’ve gotten a taste, I’m curious to find if I can steal some more sweetness. To those beekeepers out there, how much honey do you recommend leaving a first year hive? Both of my hives now have about two full medium supers each and are still bringing it in. Should I leave it all to them or will leaving them with one full box be enough?

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Abundant Weekend

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“Abundance can be had simply by consciously receiving what has already been given to us.” -Sufi saying
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How to Make Fruit Roll-ups : : A Picture Tutorial

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(a longer tutorial found here)
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1. Find a plum tree.
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2. Pick and rinse 24 plums.
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3. Put on a simmer with a couple tablespoons of water. Wait about 15 minutes.
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4. Remove 24 seeds. Blend with a stick blender.
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5. Add sugar to taste.
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6. Lightly oil two parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
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7. Spread or tip pan until covers parchment evenly.
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8.  Fruit should be about 1/8″ thick. Very pretty.
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9. Place into a warm oven for about 12 hours.
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10. Take it out when it’s done.
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11. Roll up while still warm.
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12. Cut when cool. Store in freezer in ziplocks, should last a year. Perfect for school lunches.

(if skins of fruit are bitter, it may behoove you to skin the fruit first, in which case, use 28 plums)

Enjoy! (again, more detailed fruit roll up directions here)

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