wednesday yarn along

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Joining Ginny and Nicole.

I started the Rosewater shawl a few days ago and I’m really enjoying it so far. With the baby due any day now, I think a garter stitch with simple increases on every row is exactly the mind numbing yet comforting project that I need right now. The lace portion will require a little more concentration but perhaps I can do a row here and there while the baby is sleeping and hopefully it won’t take too long to complete. Yarn information here.

And…honey! Last Friday we collected our first first honey harvest. Gabe is so proud of himself and it is well deserved. A year ago he walked into a bee keeping class hosted by the local beekeepers association knowing nothing and now look at him: harvesting honey like there’s no tomorrow. We used the Flow Hive, a rather new and revolutionary technology to honey harvesting. Gabe said the collection process went very smoothly and he was pleased to discover that within the next few weeks we will be able to collect even more honey…perhaps double the amount we collected last week. Knowing what blossoms were prevalent on our property the past month or so and then comparing the color of the honey to an online chart leads us to believe this particular batch was created mostly from apple blossom pollen. Isn’t that lovely? Wander Farm Apple Blossom Honey. I like the sound of that.

Is anyone else feeling giddy from their first spring harvest/projects, whether it be knitting a lightweight shawl, collecting the first seasonal greens from the garden or perhaps harvesting an early batch of honey?

Happy Wednesday, my friends.

men at work

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Gabe built more raised beds for our garden this spring. Ironic, considering I’m supposed to be simplifying and scaling down this year in the garden because of the new baby. Still, I’m happy to have them and they look beautiful. We had dirt delivered (twenty cubic yards!) a few weeks ago and Sam and Eddie (but mostly Sam) fell in love with their “little” dirt pile. The kids spent so much time digging holes, shoveling dirt from one mound to another, and filling up and dumping wheelbarrows. Who knew that dirt could be so entertaining?

Alas, our raised beds had to be filled and the dirt pile is no more. Sniff.

Gabe finds it amusing when I take photos of him working outside. I mean…look at him. Wouldn’t you be taking photos of that? He’ll thank me when he’s old and decrepit. Correction: I’ll thank me when he’s old and decrepit. I love the face he’s making in the last photo. It’s half Burt Reynolds, half “Woman, what ARE you doing?

Our bees are thriving! The smaller, weak hive died (no surprise there) but our larger hive is so strong and lively. With the arrival of warmer weather and our apple trees in full blossom, you can’t help but hear the tiny constant hum of honey bees busy at work whenever you’re outside. Gabe thinks we’ll have honey by late summer…I can’t wait! We ordered some more bees and will start three more hives in the next few weeks, giving us a total of four hives. The bees from the strong hive seem very interested in the empty hive next to them. Perhaps they will start a new colony on their own? Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

checking in

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This weekend was spent mostly indoors. A storm hit Friday night and it rained all through Saturday until early Sunday morning. We lost power for about 36 hours, but because we have a generator, our house was able to function per usual. Starting in fall and well into spring our area looses power multiple times a year and I’m always surprised to hear people talk about how they had to stay with friends or check into a hotel during the longer outages because they don’t own a generator. Why don’t they have generators? I understand if you have a small generator and it runs out of fuel after three days, but to not have one at all…why? It baffles me.

On Saturday evening a tree branch fell on an electrical wire that’s connected to our roof. Gave had to grab the orchard ladder and cut it down with a hand saw. I wish the pictures showed just how rainy and windy it was while he was up on the ladder. He was relieved to make it down to the ground in one piece.

Side note: notice the color of the leaves in our trees? Red! It happened overnight, I swear. Fall is coming!

On Sunday I spent the day surveying the damages to the garden. It wasn’t that bad. My dahlias took a beating and I had to cut down a few and throw them in the compost. I doubt my sunflowers will stand back up, but they weren’t doing too well anyway. Our corn was almost completely flattened. My lovely 4×4 rows are no more. A few have popped up over the last day, but most of them are still quite supine. They are still alive…but I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help them pop back up or if I should leave them be.

We turned the old garden shed into a makeshift beekeeper’s station for Gabe. He bought a propane stove and a turkey fryer so that he can heat up big batches of sugar water and basically keep his sticky mess out of my kitchen.

Gabe checked the bees today to see how they were faring and remove the second round of mite treatment that he placed in each hive a couple weeks ago. The smaller hive grew from two frames that my parents gave us a few months ago. My dad used plastic frames instead of the traditional wood frames and the bees don’t seem to like them very much. The hive had become increasingly weak, and he gave it to us in the hopes that we might have more luck than he did in strengthening the colony. When Gabe opened up the hive, he discovered that they were building their comb on top of the frames in the temporary space reserved for the mite treatment. Thus, the sticky weird looking mess (honey!) you see in the above photos. Normally Gabe would scrape that off, which would force the bees to use the frames, but because their colony is already so weak and cold weather is approaching, he has decided to leave it as is and hopefully the hive will be strong enough come spring for Gabe to scrape that off or just replace the frames altogether.

There was some honeycomb in the stronger hive that Gabe scraped off and he brought it inside. He drained some of the honey out and we scooped it up with our fingers. It tasted incredible. I can’t wait until we can collect a big batch of our own honey.

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