Is Blogging Dead, or, Bees in the Garden this Week

I find it amusing that as I resurrect this blog, I read an article today that the ONE THING you should not do in 2018 is start a blog.  I think I can skip that stricture as I’m not really starting a blog, right?  I’m just continuing the life of this one.

That said, too bad I have already taken a hiatus.  The break was actually for a good cause.  I’ve spent the last two days in the garden, Friday at a community garden and Thursday preparing for my first presentation in my new Bees in the Urban Garden series.

So, Wednesday I went to the Historical Village and had a blast.  Thursday, we were at the library for the presentation.

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It was a great turnout, with about 24 people present.  The worst thing was walking into that room, all by myself and realizing I not only had to set up all my equipment, books, and coffee maker.  I also had to set up chairs, podium and move the cart of tables in the middle of the room!  Thankfully, it was accomplished (because I was, miracle of miracles, early).  My kind husband and friends facilitated the break down.

Friday, we had a blast at From the Ground Up, a community garden here in Pensacola.  We spent an hour or so talking with scholars about bees and flower pollination.  I hope they had as much fun as I did!  It was the slightest bit sticky when I realized I was discussing sexual reproduction of flowers with fourth graders.  Oops.

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Today and yesterday, I spent working in the garden, trying to get things ready for our beautiful Florida spring.  Here are a few photos of where we are now:

So, we have lots of room for green things to grow.  Also, I have 25 collard green plugs and 25 cabbage plugs to plant.  I absolutely can NOT tell them apart.  Maybe I actually have 50 of one plant?  Wouldn’t that be lovely?  😉

 

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You made WHAT with honey?

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Not quite sure what it is?  I’m afraid if you stepped into my kitchen, you would get a whiff of it immediately!  I love fermenting things.  It’s easy to do, great for your health AND the ingredients are usually lying somewhere around your house.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, this concoction is fermenting garlic.  The bubbles at the top assure me that the fermentation is in process.  And what is the liquid?  Well, that’s some solid gold from my bee hives.  These garlic cloves are fermenting in 100% pure raw honey.  Simply peel and crush the cloves, place them in a mason jar, and shake the jar once a day.  Open lid to “burp” the garlic once a day so that too much pressure doesn’t build up.  Then, you would have a fermented garlic bomb to clean and that could get real ugly, real fast.

But this is the beauty of honey.  It’s one of the perfect foods that we have and there are so many ways we can use it.  I bake with our honey consistently.  Sure, there are a few tricks that you need to master in order to bake well with the honey but once learned, you will never enjoy refined sugar as a sweetener again.

Some other things I’ve been making with honey this year:

Elderberry syrup.  My recipe uses organic elderberries, local lemons, organic apple cider vinegar and our own raw honey.  It proved popular among my taste testers and sold out almost immediately.

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Spicy Honey Cider isn’t something I sell but I do pretty much force it on anyone who comes through my door.  It’s a ridiculously fiery concoction that has been used for centuries as an all around health tonic.  One sip of it and you’ll know that you’ve been hit.

So!  Honey has so many more uses than just as a sweetener for your tea.  I’d love to hear what you make with your honey!

Candle making at the Pensacola Historic Village

 

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It’s always a nice day to be at the Pensacola Historic Village, but today was extra nice.  Located in the heart of downtown Pensacola, the village boasts an outdoor kitchen, two historic homes, the Museums of Commerce and Industry and several other large, historic homes.  I always meet fabulous people (volunteers and visitors!).  Unfortunately, it seems like no one from Pensacola ever comes to the village!  You all need to get yourselves here!

Today, I talked about what an important commodity beeswax was to the colonists living in Pensacola.  With two thriving ports (Mobile Bay and Pensacola Bay), we had lots of chances to ship out beeswax.  The poorer of the colonists would have used tallow candles but the wealthier colonists and the churches would have been fortunate enough to use beeswax candles.

Did you know that beeswax candles emit light on the same spectrum as natural sun light?  For this reason, beeswax candles are used as a treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Beeswax candles also emit negative ions when burned.  Unlike petroleum based candles, they help to purify the air.

As beeswax candles mature, or season, they develop a bloom on the surface (just like fine chocolate!).  Don’t burn your beeswax candles before this bloom has developed or you could be stuck with a goopy mess of wax!

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These candles are all freshly made.  They will need a week or two before being ready for burning.

Some more photos from today’s event:

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The Struggle is REAL

While writing is fun and gardening is fun and beekeeping is fun…let’s face it.  Watching Netflix is easy.  When the nights are cold and I’m tired from just trying to keep the dishes washed and the chickens and bunnies alive, sometimes James and I subsist on coffee and nuts.  On those nights, I think to myself that I should be reading or planning my spring garden or making candles–but my will is apparently weak!

That said, I HAVE made a few things that I wanted to share with you all.

And, they all contain something from our bee hives…

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And then, take a look at these finished tapers.  They are gorgeous…and just took two weeks of my life to kind of, sort of, almost perfect… Oh, and take a look at the beautiful and varying shades of beeswax while you’re looking at the tapers.  Those variations are all completely natural.  I didn’t think I would like the darkest beeswax at first but after they were complete, I love them!

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What are YOU doing on these days in between winter and spring?  I know many of you are facing real winter weather, complete with snow and ice.  Thankful for our plentiful sunshine and highs in the 60s!

The Bee by Edwin Curran

Bee Lore

The singing bee comes like a little ship,

And docks beside a rose for cargoed wine,

Its gossamer paddles spinning in the air

A little plane upon the flower vine.

It anchors in the bell upon its quest,

And lulls its motor in the crimson bower,

Then with its honey glides on to the west,

A tiny airplane stealing off a flower.

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Its paddles fan the wind in silver singing,

A boom of music down the garden dells;

The honey monoplane with motors ringing,

Its gauze propellers purring like soft bells;

And so it dips and soars and dives and noses,

A little ship among the summer roses.

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by Edwin Curran (1892-????)

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