Sunday, August 28, 2011

༺ Garden Treats ༻

Besides having cantaloupe everyday, we are eating, freezing and canning bounty from our garden. One favorite is salsa, which I make from garden tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers. Here are the tomatoes that will go into the next batch !

garden tomato salsaMy 15 plants are just starting to produce. At the same time the tomatoes were turning orange, I had a few days of struggle with hornworms.
hornworm tomatoe
Each morning, as I was watering, I had to search the tomato stems for worms. These fellows can strip the leaves off the plants really fast. Luckily, they seem to be fewer in number now, so my tomato plants should thrive for the rest of the season.

The nights are getting cooler, the plants are getting crunchier, and the horn worms are moving on! Yeah for Summer Bounty!

Monday, August 22, 2011

❤ Honey Day ❤

Last week we took the plunge and extracted honey from our bee hives. The bees have kept to themselves for the most part, since they came to the farm a few years ago. I grow flowers for them, and faithfully put out water for them every day. They chose this blue dog bowl as their favorite watering hole. So with much anticipation, we borrowed the necessary tools from our local bee association, and set out to see what the bees have been making in their hives.

honey bee waterThe extraction site included buckets, a hot blade, an extraction tank with motor, towels, and a suit to visit the bees in. Here's the work area before we started.

hive honey extraction
My work included scraping the frames, spinning them in the extractor, and changing the bucket when it filled with honey. The frames have two sides of combs. Each side needed to be shaved with the hot blade to remove the wax cap over the honey filled cells. Once both sides were exposed, the frames went into the extraction tank.

honey bee hive The tank holds 4 frames. They rest in a big wire cage, so that when the extractor is turned on and spins, the honey drips down into the tank and comes out of the spigot.

We used a strainer to filter out any wax that make it through. The liquid gold was so beautiful as it poured out !! The last step was to put honey into smaller containers. Here's a picture of the final product.

honey jar
The effort was really worth it. The honey tastes fantastic. I'll use it in my granola recipe and we will enjoy it in all kinds of other foods and recipes. Thanks honey bees !

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

༺ Zinnea & Violin ༻

As the long hot days of summer continue, I'm active with gardening as well as learning to play the violin. It isn't unusual to have a daily salad this time of year full of goodness such as fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. The cantaloupe and watermelon are getting ripe too ! In addition to the vegetables, I also planted some flowers. The bees enjoy them and so do I ! Here is a picture of some zinnea flowers that I grew from seeds I saved last year.

garden flower zinneaLater in the day when it is too hot to be outside anymore, I turn to the violin. I get music ideas from a few online violin tutors I follow. Recently I heard about a song called "The Lover's Waltz".

violin lovers waltzI decided to try playing it after hearing how lovely it was. YouTube is a great resource, and here is one version of this piece that is a good one to follow along with. The melody gets stuck in your head, so listen at your own risk !!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer season.