a compost bin like no other

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Version 2

The first half of these photos were taken back in April while Gabe and my dad were building our compost.

Gabe designed it and I have to say, it’s quite ingenious. He actually incorporated it into our fence and used some leftover fence posts so that everything matched.  He and my dad spent a day digging holes and setting posts in concrete. Once the concrete was dry, Gabe drilled metal tracks onto the sides of the posts and then cut flat boards to slide down the tracks, essentially making a removable and adjustable wall. This way as the compost pile grows we can can add boards, keeping the scraps from dumping out everywhere. Sam had a good time watching them work while drinking strawberry lemonade.

It’s hardly rained the past few months and our property is looking pretty dry. I don’t know if it’s the heat, but our apples are already dropping from the trees; a month ahead of schedule. I haven’t had the chance to pick any for canning, and so every few days Gabe scoops as many as he can into his wheelbarrow and dumps them in the compost. We ordered a cider press months ago but because they are made by hand, it won’t be ready until late September at the earliest. I don’t like the idea of wasting food but I just haven’t had the time to do anything with them. Hopefully this weekend Gabe will be able to help me collect a bushel so I can make some applesauce. I would hate for the entire season to go to waste.

While I haven’t had time to process apples, I have had the time to pickle vegetables. Pickling is my new obsession.

Now there’s a statement I never thought I would make.

busy bees

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Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the cheesy post title. It was too easy.

This Spring Gabe completed his six week apprentice beekeeping course through the county, and in April, we purchased two hives. Fun fact: when you purchase bees, you have to pick them up from the bee society and drive them home yourself. Each cage contained 10,oo0 bees and one queen. Gabe drove home with 20,000 live bees buzzing next to him in the front seat of his car. Can you even imagine what that must of sounded like? It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

I wanted to paint the hives bright colors in various hues, but Gabe likes everything to match, and since he is the one risking his life (dramatic, I know) caring for the bees, I left the final decision up to him. He chose to paint them with leftover yellow paint from when we had the house painted last fall, and I have to admit, it was a good choice. They look great.

Gabe was stung twice while putting the bees into their new home (he wasn’t wearing the hood of his bee suit) but other than that, the transition from the  cages to the hives went well and the bees seem to be thriving in their new home.

I absolutely love the photo of Gabe standing next to the hives scratching his head.  You can practically see the thought bubble floating above his head: I hope this works. Okay…let’s do this.

We don’t yet have any honey from the bees, and most likely will not have any till Fall.  Still, I couldn’t resist making a honey and goat’s milk soap a few days ago. My parents also keep bees and my Mom found this recipe on Pinterest. She purchased the same mold used in the original post, and we used store-bought honey and a goat’s milk melt-and-pour soap base that I had leftover from another project. The directions were incredibly easy to follow and the mold is so clever and adorable; I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. You can find the recipe here.

fresh start

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This is my first post in five months. Five months. I’d like to say that time has flown by, but the truth is I have thought about blogging almost every day since my site went down. During it’s makeover, the site was only supposed to be down for a few days. A few days turned into a few weeks, and then a few weeks turned into, well, you know. Five months.

So much has happened on the farm between now and then. I thought about writing it all down in a single post, but I think there is too much to talk about, so I am going to try to catch everyone up through multiple posts over the next few weeks. I think it will be easier and I’m less likely to forget something.

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