Category Archives: Homesteading

A Honey of a Day

Honey Gifts for Everyone

Honey Gifts for Everyone

It was a day of sweetness and friends. A bee-utiful education combined with ice cream sundaes and honey. The opportunity to learn more about the environment we live in.

Jim (my husband) and Michelene (my daughter) officially launched their bee business last evening. They hosted their first Honey Party as “Beefuddled Farms,” a name Jim chose a few years ago when he entertained the idea of creating a business out of his hobby.

Michelene Share Her Bee Knowledge

Michelene Shares Her Bee Knowledge

Michelene joined Jim in his bee business almost from the beginning. They learned together what it takes to make a hive from frames and bees. The hard lessons, like losing bees over a very cold winter, have also been part of the education. They have perservered. Two years ago they had to replace almost every hive they had but they did it. They used their experience to manifest a greater success for their bees.

There was finally enough surplus honey to host this bee party. Everyone paid a small admission to come and the reward was a Beefuddled Farms honey sample. There was also ice cream sundaes with teddy graham cookies and honey. In celebration of this event I made homemade lotion from extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, our own beeswax and lavender oil. I sold nearly every jar.

Some Serious Spinning!

Some Serious Spinning!

I have to say I learned a few things I didn’t know about bees. If you spray your lawn with pesticides, you are not helping the bees (how did I not realize this?). Planting bee friendly flowers and even a vegetable garden gives the bees something to pollinate. I know this for a fact. The flowers in our yard and the vegetables in our garden are lush and healthy.

You have to follow your own local ordinaces if you’re thinking of having bees. If you can’t have them where you live, consider purchasing honey from your local farmer’s market. There is a big difference in taste from supermarket honey to local raw honey. Not only does it taste better, but you are giving yourself immunities to local pollen. Just remember, no raw honey for children under two years of age.

There should be a Beefuddled website up soon. For now, follow Jim and Michelene on their honey adventures on Instagram at @BeefuddledFarms. If you’re on Facebook they’re at Facebook.com/BeefuddledFarms.

Thank You for the Beautiful Weather

Thank You for the Beautiful Weather!

 

Jim Scrapes the Frames. The Screened In Area Kept Bees at Bay

Jim Scrapes the Frames. The Screened In Area Kept Bees at Bay.

 

Scraping the Comb. Photo by Kris Hughes

Scraping the Comb. Photo by Kris Hughes.

 

The Sweet Honey. Photo by Kris Hughes.

The Sweet Honey. Photo by Kris Hughes.

 

After the Scraping, This is the Honeycomb. Jim Melts this into Beeswax.

After the Scraping, This is the Honeycomb. Jim Melts this into Beeswax.

 

Lotion on the Left, Extra Honey in the Middle, Gifts on the Right.

Lotion on the Left, Extra Honey in the Middle, Gifts on the Right.

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.”
Henry David Thoreau

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What’s in the Purple Bowl?

A few years ago we had a bonfire on the hill behind our house. It was a grand affair with many friends and lots of good food. When it was all said and done, there remained behind a purple plastic bowl, the kind you get in a dollar store around Halloween.

Since then, the purple bowl has had a place in our refrigerator. In it go all the leftover scraps of stale bread, ends of tomatoes, leftover peas, salad and any other type of greens or vegetable. Can you guess what we do with this bowl?

Our one dozen chickens are the lucky recipients of the treasure of the bowl!

When I come out of the back door with the bowl, they all come running. I’m guessing they don’t see that well (or are they colorblind?), but strangely enough they see well enough to recognize that purple bowl.

“The girls” as we have fondly dubbed them, peck away at the contents and sometimes fight over seeds (like from the inside of a cantaloupe) or especially something tasty like raspberries. Once I actually saw one of the chickens grab a raspberry and RUN like a bat out of the night, to keep any other girlfriend from getting her prize.

If you remember an old post of mine, I was not happy when the chickens originally came a few years ago. Since then, I have softened quite a bit and will oftentimes let them out of their coop in the evening to stretch their legs. I give our yellow lab/retriever Jordan a fresh egg because she is their watchdog. We live next to a large woodsy area and she is their sentry, watching for any signs of trouble.

I ate a few more eggs this summer than normal and was wondering if my cholesterol count at my recent physical would register the increase. Thank God it was normal, yes normal!, so my sunny side up egg ritual can continue.

I’m not sure where you live but if you have some backyard space you might want to consider getting some chickens. We don’t have a rooster; we had one and they make too much noise. But chickens are relatively easy to raise if you get a couple of good books and peck the brain of someone who already has them. Chances are you know someone who has some! Make sure you have a strong, sturdy coop, especially if you live near the woods. Chickens are a delicacy for woodland animals!

Our chickens are entertainment when we have guests over. During the summer after dinner, we’d sit on lawn chairs in the back yard, sipping iced or hot coffee and let the girls loose. They run and chase each other, dig in the dirt and peck at bugs and plants. You have to watch them if you have a garden though. They’ll eat your prize tomato if it’s just the right height. 😉

Part of a having a simple life is to get down to basics. I’ve learned to appreciate food when I can see its source; where it comes from and what went into its growth. It’s good to know that I can eat a fresh egg whenever I want, and I appreciate that.

Another chicken loving friend of mine turned me onto this great website for more information. Check out Fresh Eggs Daily and learn more.

Blessings,

Joanne

 

 

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Jim’s Favorite Egg Story

DSC_0003

I woke up to the sound of little feet running past my bedroom window.

As I opened my eyes I could see the early summer light streaming through the room. I heard the back door open and shut. I realized it was my grandson Gavin.

He had just come in from collecting fresh eggs from our backyard chicken coop. One of his favorite things to do was to feed and water the chickens and look inside their nests for eggs.

As I started to get out of bed, I could hear him running into the bathroom. The high pitch sound of his voice made me figure something was wrong. “Ah man, this is bull#!@*. This is BS! AH!”

I knocked on the bathroom door and asked “Gavin, what’s the matter?” He said it was ok for me to come in.

DSC_0028What I saw was a young boy with yolk on both of his hands and in his hair. I asked him if the chickens had thrown eggs at him? 😉 “No Jim! There were so many eggs I put some in my pockets. When I went to get them out, one broke. When I went to get the other one out, that one broke too. I forgot I had eggs in my hand and I got it on the door handle. When I saw this, I smacked myself on the head and it went into my hair!”

I had lectured Gavin about using inappropriate language in front of his Nana and girls. It was ok for him to use it in his tree house and in front of guys. But I tell you, I had to hold my laughter back in these crazy few moments.

I had Gavin step out of his pants and reassured him that tomorrow would bring more eggs. No harm done! And Nana came to the rescue with a special basket, just for gathering eggs. So no more need for eggs in pants’ pockets!

Thank you to my husband Jim, for this great contribution of his favorite egg story! Do you have a favorite story that involves an egg? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below or send me an email at katherinesdaughter@gmail.com.

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Egg-actly Wonderful!

Photo Courtesy of Sunday Child

All Photos Courtesy of Sunday’s Child

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
― Julia Child

I have a confession to make. When my husband wanted to raise chickens a few years ago, I was not in favor of it.

Yes, it’s true. I pictured my grandfather’s chicken coop, messy and scary with cackling chickens all around my feet, just scaring the beeswax out of me.

Well, here I am all these years later, admitting the truth. I love fresh eggs. Jim and our daughter Michelene have kept their word and they’ve taken good care of the chickens, all without any responsibility on my part. That was the other thing I was wary of. That the care of the chickens would become my responsibility.

Nothing of the sort has happened. And in the meantime the delicious yellow yolks, bright as sunshine, coupled with the delicate white have graced our table many times. In any way shape or form, the eggs are delicious. Scrambled or sunny side up with a side of toast, or cracked into the latest cake, those eggs have become a part of our lives.

Now some of you know I have been blessed to have a blogger friend on the west coast, Sunday’s Child. She began her own love affair with chickens last year! She has an awesome coop and has just embraced the whole chicken raising thing, chick and caboodle.

Daffodils and the EggRecently, Ms. Child began to place her light brown or green eggs amongst her pitcher collection or in other very creative places and snap beautiful artistic pictures. The juxtapositioning of the eggs! The beauty of the pitchers! The sunny yellow of the daffodils! My oh my, my heart was singing!

I casually mentioned to Ms. Child that she ought to consider a coffee table book with those spectacular pictures, alongside say some great egg stories and perhaps some yummy egg recipes. At first she said, “Haha, funny, yes, you and I would be the only ones buying the book!”

But then her friends started to tell her the same thing. I sent her an email and she said someone had mentioned the coffee table book idea to her right before I did. (I think there are no coincidences!)

So we are exploring this idea of an artistic, yet country style EGG BOOK. What do you think? Are you an egg lover yourself? Do you have an inspiring egg story to share? Better yet, do you have an original or favorite egg recipe that you’ve made for years? Believe me the simplier the better. I love easy recipes.

Please share your thoughts and ideas with us. If you want to email me privately at katherinesdaughter@gmail.com, that’s fine. If not, leave a comment below and I’ll know egg-actly how you feel!

Elephant and the Egg

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