Honey, Geese and Garlic

3 jars of honeyI spent some time the past few days extracting honey and have quite a good amount all bottled up and ready for gift giving.  I took a comparison photo with two jars of honey that came from the same hive, but at different times of the year.  People often wonder why the color of honey is so different and what it means.  The color of honey is in direct relation to the type of flowers the bees are foraging or feeding on at that time of the year.  Here we have thousands of Clover blooming during the Spring season and later in the year Goldenrod blooms.  The thickness and the flavor of the honey is also affected.  Most beekeepers will define their honey as “wildflower” since we can not be 100% sure what our bees are feasting on.  Those that have hives in orchards or huge fields of a certain crop can be more certain what type of honey they harvest since the bees will only fly a certain distance from their home hive.

honey colorsAlso this week the pair of geese that have been fighting to keep our lake as their nesting grounds are ready to settle in.  I really don’t think it is a smart move on their part since Sammy the cat can be very territorial.  All I can hope is that they decide to nest over by the cove where Sammy rarely visits.

pair of geeseThe garlic has decided it is time to give forth some good growth and being that Spring arrives in a few days, I couldn’t agree more!  This year I have close to 2000 heads of garlic planted – 7 different hardneck varieties.  I have had better luck with the hardneck in this clay soil than the softneck garlics.  I do hope to find a good softneck variety that will thrive here for braiding.  Early spring I will have garlic scapes from all these hardnecks and plan to can up most of them to enjoy all year long.  It is a blustery cloudy day today and I am hopeful the weather will give way to Spring and let the winter chills pass on for the year.

 Here’s to hoping …. Happy Spring!!

early spring garlic

Random pictures this week @DebBeesHive

honey in comb

Beautiful photo of honey in the comb soon to be extracted … so delicious!

barred owl

Barred owl watching the chickens near the barn!

wood ducks

Wood ducks strutting their stuff in the lake!

I have been busy as of late “pinning” tons of information and photos, ideas, gardening tips, crafts …. lots of GREAT stuff!

Why?  You may wonder …

I have been asked to join (and I have) a Pinfluencer Group by Pinterest regarding my interest in Gardening.  We are a group of about 200 Pinners who share information and feedback with Pinterest.  Please make sure to follow my boards and share your Pins with me!  It is VERY Fun and quite addictive … and the ideas I have found … Wonderful!

http://www.pinterest.com/DebBeesHive

Beauty in the Hoop House

sun on hoophouse

This morning as the sun appeared it sent a gaze right on over to the hoop house as if checking to make sure all was well.  It appears it was knocking on the door and asking to come in!  It was still too early to open the door … another hour or so to go.  Our first year with our new hoop house and we are learning each and every day.  All summer long we had a shade cloth over the entire house and it helped greatly.  Now during early Fall, if the sun shines on the hoop house it will warm up to 90-100 degrees in no time.  Opening the door and watering the plants keeps them alive.  If you have a hoop house and are growing inside there is not one day you can ignore it.  You have to check and maintain what is growing inside every single day.

microgreens in hoophouse

We have raised beds along the sides of the inner hoop house along with raised tables which are so very convenient and easy on the back.  Right now in early November we have a variety of micro greens growing in the beds.  Arugula, mizuna, kale and spinach … it seems the little lettuces are not doing so well.  They could be just a little too fragile for the ups and downs in the temperatures right now.  The raised tables are closer to the top or roof (basically higher up than the raised beds on the ground) and the plants don’t take the heat as well there.

The  lower bed here has Red Russian Kale, radish and arugula growing.  They are lower and seem to thrive a bit better in the cooler atmosphere.  These tiny greens are planted very close together, but since I eat them at the micro stage, they don’t become overcrowded.

kale radish arugulaThe mizuna below has a peppery cabbage flavor and appears feathery.  It did well but seems like it may be dying down a bit.  Another factor that has to be monitored is the humidity … if these tiny greens receive too much moisture; they die and rather quickly.  So maybe the mizuna is not dealing with the humidity well??

mizunaI am planning a huge micro green salad for Thanksgiving dinner and also sending the guests home with packages to enjoy afterwards.  Since we will be celebrating with our guests in 2 weeks, I think I will have a wonderful harvest.  I need to sit and plan what I will plant next and I wonder if it will make it into the colder months that are ahead.  January and February will probably be the coldest months so I have to figure what will work if anything.  Spinach for sure ….. what else?  Kale possibly …..

collage microgreens

baby snake collageThis teeny, tiny baby snake was out and about today.  The temperature was in the high 60s but I was surprised to see it with all the frosts and chilly weather we have had.  It had no idea who or what I was!!  I made sure the chickens didn’t see it as it scooted off to safety.