Archive for June 13, 2013

An Abundance of Honey

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DearHusband and I checked the bees on a rare calm, cool evening this week. They are drawing comb, storing honey and our hives all look healthy and strong.

DH added a new level, or “super” to 3 of the hives.

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See how the wood looks uniform in color on the top super? Brand new frames hold a skinny piece of starter “foundation” wax for the bees to begin building their honeycomb onto. We use bobby pins to hold the foundation wax in place initially. The bees have drawn their pure white wax onto this piece, but not yet filled it with anything.

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Next year the wood will take on a more seasoned look, after the bees have made it theirs. I love the color and texture of old honey frames.

Cherry tree owners: you must own this!

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MyGirl processed about 1/2 gallon of cherries in about 35 minutes with this little gizmo. It is super simple. You push the metal arm down into a divot that holds one cherry at a time. It pushes the pit through a rubber mat with an “X” in it. The pit falls into a plastic, removable cup. On the up swing, the cherry falls off and rolls down the spout into your bowl. After each child tested it, it was determined that slapping and popping it does NOT work well. Splashing and squirting and giggling might happen, but it does not make the job go any faster and moms generally frown on cherry juice spraying all over the kitchen. Even if it does make the work more fun. Pushing it firmly works just fine.

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It cost me $20 from a local hardware store. It has a nice sturdy suction base, very similar to the base on my cast iron apple peeler. This is cherry pitter is made of plastic and imported. If I can find one made in the USA, or made of cast iron, I will buy it before next spring. What a time saver! Now I just have to get my apple cider press ready before the apples are ripe.

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Sadie

Sadie was a part of my daily life for 6 months before she went back to the farm where she was born.  The farm where she had stayed with me decided they didn’t want cows on their property and I couldn’t find any farms nearby that were suitable to board her, so she had to leave.  I am not ashamed to admit that I cried, openly wept, when we loaded Sadie and Honey into the trailer to leave.  I spent about 20 minutes every single morning sitting on a stool with my knees tucked under Sadie’s massive belly, hands on her teats, forehead resting against her warm flank.  When she first arrived at the farm, she would run away if we touched her.   Here’s a clip of my 4 year old son holding out a big handful of lush grass for Sadie- she snatches it and then jumps away quickly.

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Slowly, over time, she became less skittish.  Eventually, she grew to enjoy being brushed every morning from nose to tail before we milked her.  She would even look for the slice of organic apple she knew was in my coat pocket for her.  She was not much of a morning cow.  She really liked to sleep in and as the sun rose later in the morning, I really had to encourage her to go into the barn.  Sometimes I would take advantage of her sleepiness to rub her face and hold her horns until I’d annoyed her into getting up.

I'm NOT a morning cow.  Just 5 more minutes and THEN I will get up!

I’m NOT a morning cow. Just 5 more minutes and THEN I will get up!

It has now been 6 months since she left me.  When I arrived to help milk this week (I drive just under 2 hours each way once a week to help milk all my mentors cows and see Honey and Sadie) he had just finished milking Sadie and shooed her from the barn.  Sadie walked all the way around the barn, pushed through the crowd of un-milked cows, poked her head in the doorway and watched me.  When I was done milking an hour later, I went out to see if Sadie would let me touch her.  She did.  She stood stock still as I scratched around her nubby horns, brushed her sides and itched the bottom of her neck.  As I stepped back to admire her – fat and sleek from all the lush spring grass – she disappeared back into the herd.  Yep, I’m pretty sure she remembers me.  (smiling through tears of happiness)

 

Sadie waiting patiently for me to come visit with her

Sadie waiting patiently for me to come visit with her

June

Why June, you sweet cow, what are you hiding behind you there?

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Well done June! It’s a sweet little heifer, who already has her legs under her and a full belly of milk.

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Poison Ivy in my flower bed

I’m pretty sure I’ve determined the location from which I picked up poison ivy a few weeks ago. Anybody have a good solution for getting rid of this plant without chemicals?

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June Fruits

Guess what is for dessert tonight. Strawberry pie sure sounds good to me!

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Set fruit!

After last years late frost killed most of our fruit tree blossoms and ten the drought, we picked less than a dozen apples from our tiny orchard. THIS is a sight for sore eyes!!!!

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