Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fall sprouts are coming up!

      I was so excited to walk out to the garden and find the seeds that I planted eight days ago are coming up! They didn't come up like that before! The spinach seeds are the only ones that didn't come up yet, but I'm sure they will. I will sprinkle more seeds into the beds, as I didn't plant the whole bed yet. That way we will get progressive plants as the season advances. I am so happy with this progress! I want to pickle my own beets; and how neat it will be to use the beets from my own garden! I love pickled beets and just finished up the last jar from the grocery store, today! The more I read about pesticides and gmo's, the more I want to grow everything we eat! It will take time to get to that point, however.

      I don't know if this is the right time of year to obtain a doeling, but I read on Craigslist where we can get one. I can't get her just yet; and I'm afraid that she won't last until I can get her. That's OK. though, because I'm always reading where to get a goat. The problem is, they are usually billies.  I am really excited to keep goats, and hopefully it won't be too far in the future! This one is a Dwarf Nigerian. That way we won't get too much milk at a time. I look forward to this adventure! It may not happen until Spring, but I think that will give us more time to prepare the area.

      Isaac hasn't been too bad on us, just a little rain and a lot of humidity! I am glad the sun isn't shining because it would be even hotter! I am so ready for some 'cool down'! I wonder if we will see cooler temps in September? Hope ya'll have a great weekend! Blessings from Bama!

Delicious blueberry muffins made with honey!

I almost touched this when I opened the gate! Sorry for the blurryness!

These are everywhere! They were all over these passion plants yesterday, but this is the only one there today. 

How long does it take for the passion fruit to mature? How do they taste? 

Of course, it loves the fennel! I wished I had a photo of the mature butterfly! They are the rust colored one, I think.

Do you see the seedlings coming up? These are beets.

These seedlings are turnips. That is a Thai hot pepper plant.

Swiss chard here.


Monday, August 27, 2012

We're in the honey!

      The day is finally here! We harvested our honey! It took several days to get to the final step, but it has been well worth the wait! The harvest began Wednesday evening extracting the frames from the top part of the hive. There are frames of honey in the bottom that we will not harvest because that is where the queen lays the eggs and also what the bees will feed on this winter. There were seven frames ready and three left for another few weeks. The frames were removed and left in the room where the extracting is done, so they could get de-humidified. Thursday night, we got to remove the caps and open the comb so the honey could be slung out. The machine looks like an old fashioned, stainless steel washing machine. It took time for the honey to run into a large bucket, but we finally got it all out. The next few days was spent pouring the honey through different sizes of strainers to remove any impurities.  We finally finished last night. There may be something I left out, but you get the gist of it. Photos below will show some of the process.

      Can you believe the hurricane (Isaac) is following the same path as Katrina? I'm praying that it won't be as devastating, and that people will be able to evacuate before it's too late. It was heading for Mobile, but has changed directions. I hope it fizzles out before landfall!

      We were experiencing pleasant weather, but alas, August has returned! Now for September! I find it so hard to work outside when the humidity is so high! So many weeds! Too hot sun! Nice ac room! We (the hubs) did get the smoker on yesterday when the sun went behind the trees. The chicken turned out nice and smokey! I believe it's going to work even after that crash! It's hard to believe that the days are getting shorter! That means less time for the hubs to accomplish yard work and other tasks that need daylight, and more for Saturdays. One day, all of these projects will be completed, I suppose! Have ya'll completed any long awaited projects lately? We're very close to having the shower door completed. Once we get the sink installed, I can use the master bath! Six years in the waiting! What's a couple more months? 

      As the season changes, so will my projects. I will focus more on cooking, and hopefully, sewing and craft projects. Then the new niece will be here. I believe we'll have a very busy Fall! Hope ya'll stay safe! Blessings from Bama!

Removing the frames.

Brushing the bees off of the frames. The frames are then placed in the box, behind the man.

More brushing. At one point, the bees were getting agitated and the guys received a few bee stings!

Removing the caps from the honey. The knife is very warm.

He then used a pick to remove the rest of the caps.

Frames inside the tub.

Frames being slung.

Honey pouring from the bottom of the tub.

The first straining of the honey went quickly.

Just had to show you this beautiful, dark honey! Second straining.

The final straining took a very long time!

Win came over for a while. She loves peanut butter!

Her facial features are getting more prominent.

The bees are cleaning off what is left of the honey.

They will take it back to the hive.

Getting ready to bottle some honey.

This step took a couple of days because the honey drained so slow.

See? Such a small stream of honey.

Chocolate chip cookies for Skylar's lunch.

Finally got them all done!

Now I think I'll take a swim!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Drying apples and making fried pies!

      We recently were blessed with several bags of apples. They are a bit tart, and just a little sweet, so they are perfect for: pies, apple butter, dehydrating, well, anything! I decided to get on with them this week and it took about three hours to peel, slice, and core them. It seemed like forever, and I sure was glad to get them done! They turned out so nice! They taste good enough to eat! I never was a big fan of grocery store dehydrated apples, so I was pleasantly surprised with how these taste! I hope to acquire more apples in the near future and will probably dehydrate some, as well as make more apple butter. That stuff is so good!

      Along with my apple ventures, I've been cooking and gardening. The weather has been so much more pleasant these past few days, so I can actually enjoy being outside again! That is, if I get out there in the morning and late evening. The temps are steadily climbing back to the nineties by Friday, so I hope to get things done out there before then. I hope to plant some beets, turnips, swiss chard, and spinach this evening. It will be interesting to see how the weather does until fall. Hopefully, these will make a harvest!

      Skylar started back to school Monday. He is taking his lunch! That was a surprise to me, and I'm getting it ready for him in the mornings. I made him some brownies for his snack. He likes them! But, he just ate a fried pie and decided he wants one of those in his lunch tomorrow. The pies are good, but I think they will taste better when I make the crust from scratch, instead of canned biscuit dough. 

      I hope to get to post on harvesting honey, soon! It probably won't be long until we do that! Ya'll have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

Maddie is enjoying some little tomatoes from the garden!

Love this apple, peeler, corer, slicer, from Pampered Chef!

The dehydrator is filled with apple slices!

Garden bed ready for fall planting!

In the process of cleaning out the beds.

These plus beets are what I'm planting.

Fried apple pies, along with a 'squash'.

Southwest black bean chicken, a recipe printed from Jamie cooks it up!

Pico from the garden. Wished I had cilantro!

Finished apple slices.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The pool is up, and almost ready!

      I know the season is almost over, but remember: we live in Alabama! It isn't fall yet! True, we've had some rainy and cooler than nineties weather on some days lately. But, it's still hot and very humid! If the season carries on like last year, we'll be swimming through October! We will see! The country has such varied weather conditions! I'm very thankful for the rain we had! It helped to fill the pool a little. The only thing is, mosquitoes! They will "Eat you up!" As the sun sets, or in a shady place. I usually don't notice them as much, but they have been bothering me! Another thing with the rain is, more mowing! We can't seem to keep ahead of the weed-eating! There are so many weeds! Or tall grass, to be correct. There seems to be a lot a Southerner has to deal with that others may not. Like I said before, got to love the South!

      I had Win again this week, for a few days. She is such a character! She keeps me on my toes! I got a few things done while she was here; but more after that. There will be many photos below, so you will see what we've been doing lately. Randy checked the beehive this week, but the honey isn't capped off yet. The frames are getting really heavy, so it shouldn't bee to much longer until we harvest our honey. I couldn't go out with him to take photos this time since Win was here. I'm really excited to see how much honey we get! I hope it will be enough that I'm reading how to use honey in recipes instead of sugar! We have been told that our hive is really strong! Most hives don't make enough to harvest honey the first year. I think it's because of the early Spring we had with all of the pollen. There are still bees getting pollen from our butterfly bushes! The honey will probably have an interesting flavor.

      Skylar starts back to school on Monday! I can hardly believe it's time already! He's been working hard all summer without much of a break! I made up some biscuits and froze the dough. That way, he'll have a nice hot biscuit and sausage every day if he wants one! They are not the best biscuits, though. I've been living in the South all of my life and still have yet to master the art of making biscuits! I will get it, hopefully! I'm already looking for another recipe to try. I can't believe it's the weekend already, either! Hope ya'll have a good one! Blessings from Bama!

Two eggplants harvested from the garden. I made the Parmesan with one and sliced and froze the other.

Some tomatoes and fennel seed from the garden.

Granola in the making!

I almost forgot to take a picture! I ground a chuck roast with the meat grinder attachment.

The meat after grinding. I added some carrots and onions for meatloaf.

This is the 'squash' plant that came up on its own. It is humongous!

Voluntary basil plants.

These are monarch caterpillars. They feed on the fennel plant.

The pumpkin vine didn't make it. Only the voluntary squash plant has survived, from those type plants.

Pear vinegar in the making! I have since replaced the napkin with a coffee filter and rubber band. It has white, moldy stuff on top. I need to read about that.

I got this much granola from the batch I made in the Crockpot.

It is delicious!

These small yellow tomatoes are from a voluntary plant. I did have these last year. They are delicious too!

Win putting her clothes on by 'herself'! Those are her shorts!

My shoes, Ran's socks!

The pool is almost filled.

Lovely Graham Thomas rose.

Close up.

I can't even begin to describe the intoxicating fragrance of this rose!

Close up.

This rose is almost equally intoxicating!

It's a climber. 

I believe this came from one of those caterpillars.

Isn't he lovely?

Bees are hard to photograph.

I have been growing fennel for several years. It just occurred to me that I could harvest my own fennel seed! 

Another lovely!

This one flutters his wings so fast, I could hardly get his picture!

Fennel seeds are not easily ground! I will use them in the sausage, whole!

Shredded and ready to be frozen!

My poor, thin biscuits! I will make them thicker next time!

The pool is filled! Now to attach the pump and add the chemicals!