Thanks for reading, EAT WELL!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thanks for reading, EAT WELL!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Luckily Andy had just built a bee hive, known as a "Top Bar Beehive" (to learn more about this user-friendly, very inexpensive way to keep bees, visit the Barefoot Beekeepers website at http://www.biobees.com/). A few weeks ago, Mike and Paula told us about them, and then invited us over for bee-a-palooza. At bee-a-palooza, Paula and I stayed upstairs to make lunch, talk about...well just about everything, and watch the boys, while Mike, Andy and Forrest went downstairs to build the hives (they're so crafty!). I digress...
So, we split up, I got the camera and my bee book, Andy and Forrest got the hive, and Paula stayed with the little ones. Andy got all suited up and grabbed ladders, saws, snippers, and anything else he thought we might need. He climbed up the ladder and grabbed hold of the branch with the swarm of bees on it. I climbed up the tree (the same tree with the swarm of bees on it, only I didn't have a bee suit as we could only find one!) and sawed the branch with the bees on it. Unfortunately, it was a lovely crab apple tree that Andy's grandfather had planted. Luckily, when Wes came home, she agreed that cutting the branch was the best thing to do.
After the branch was sawed off, Andy (like a champion) carried the branch to the hive, positioned the swarm, then HIT the branch so the cluster of bees fell off of the branch and into the hive! It was amazing!
When a hive swarms, it means that there are too many bees for that one hive to support, so they start raising a new queen. When she is ready, they kick out the old queen and half of the bees go with her. The cluster of bees we found were all worker bees that were protecting their queen. Each bee filled up with honey before leaving the hive, so that they could start building a new one somewhere else (this makes it really hard for them to sting, think about how fast you move after Thanksgiving Supper!). Luckily, when we tapped the swarm into the hive, the queen fell in with the rest of the bees. It seems like they like their new home in the blackberry field next to our veggies. It has been a very damp June, so we are hoping that they are able to find enough nectar to build an adequate home for themselves.
Needless to say, we were very late to the Tuesday farmers market, so if you were one of those waiting for us, we apologize!
That was the excitement of our week. Other than that, it has been rainy. I've been trying to combat the weed problem in the blackberry field, but it's really hard to do in the rain, not to mention, it's not very good for the plants.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The tomatoes are looking great! We planted about 50 different varieties of tomatoes this year. Most of those are paste tomatoes, as Andy wanted to find the BEST paste tomato out there. We planted the tomatoes under the caller ties of the greenhouse, then hung baling twine from the caller ties. We bought tomato clips from Johnnys Selected Seeds, a bag of 500 for probably $15. Well worth it! We will string up the tomatoes as they grow. In the picture above, you can see my little basil plants inte-rplanted with the tomatoes. They are doing pretty well, but they are very hard to weed around.
Here is one of the first baby tomatoes, it is a Juliette Roma tomato. Andy says 3 more weeks until we have the first ripe tomato... I can't wait! Until then, the broccoli in our big greenhouse is calming my cravings for crunchy, fresh summer veggies. We have about 100 broccoli plants with beautiful broccoli crowns ripening. The best part about this broccoli is that it is too early for cabbage worms, so there will be no surprises in your steamed broccoli!
In other farm news, the chickens are doing wonderfully! They are loving being outside, eating all of the bugs and grass they could ever want. Their crops are so full that they wag whenever they walk. It's pretty fun to watch them. The ducks, on the other hand, are not doing very well. I have lost all of my drakes this spring. George to a heart attack, Perchutto to a fox, and now Buddy to a very strange disease that his girlfriend now has. I have Marla and Maggie left, and they are showing signs of this disease, so I am going to put them on antibiotics, put them of fresh ground every day, and clean clean clean up after them.
Also, I am looking to start a small flock of sheep for spinning wool. I have decided on Corriedales. I can't wait to find some and get started! So if you know of anyone who has lambs or ewes to sell, let me know!
Okay, here is a broccoli recipe. It is simple enough to add to any meal, yet is original enough to really stand out in any meal! Capers taste a bit like little green olives (yum!), and are easy to find at the grocery store. Also, the recipe says to peel the broccoli stems... if you buy fresh, local broccoli, you should never have to do this!!! Enjoy!
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
1 Head Broccoli
2 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1/2 C. Vegetable Broth
2 Tbl. Capers, drained and crushed
1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut off and separate the broccoli flowers. Trim the tough ends of the stalks; peel if necessary, and cut crosswise into 3/8 inch thick slices.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and stalks, vegetable broth, capers and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the broccoli is tender, but still firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to high, and cook, tossing and stirring constantly, until any remaining broth evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Thanks for reading and eat well!!