The Bees Have Arrived

 

The Bees arrived on Thursday so i had to get the hives in place and setup , levelled and ready to go for the arrival .

i situated three hives but only two colonies of bees are arriving this Thursday.  IMG-20120402-00076IMG-20120402-00080

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When the bees arrived i watched a video to demonstrate what to do from urbanbees site (my bee supplier). i made a video of my experience, which was not as smooth as shown in the instructional video. you can definitely tell its my first time

Busy Bee, Building Hives

A couple of weeks ago I did a two day course on bee keeping at the surrey bee centre. just an amazing course . before the course I did not know anything about bees , i  was surprised at how interesting bees are. I Had mostly wanted the bees for garden pollination and  of course the honey but they are are just so interesting and having a bit of a hard time at the moment, so it would be great to just help them out and maybe they will give me the benefits I wanted in return.

beehive (1)beehive (2)

I had a look around on line for bees and hives etc but wanted somewhere local and with a bit of googling I came across a local bee suppliers called urban bees .The problem with trying to get bees at this time of year is they come from over seas and are ordered on a waiting list so I am a little late to get on the waiting list but urban bees not only had the hives and frames and all the gear they could get me bees so I placed my order and went and picked up the hives.

 

beehive (3)beehive (4)

 

today I started to assemble the hives and the frames . I was a little daunted at first but it turned out to be real easy . I decided I didn’t want to paint them, I wanted a more natural look in my yard so I sealed them so they would age nicely and weather and go silvery but not rot so easily.

I am scheduled to pick up my bees mid next month so I will update soon.

Pumpkin Harvest – Happy Halloween

More harvest fun!

we had been saving the last of the corn for a family visit and it turned out it was past its prime but still tasted good , just not as juicy as the previous ones .

We have had quite a lot of pumpkins from the 4 or 5 plants we planted early in the year , i had already made 4 pumpkin pies before i decided to harvest the rest of the pumpkins.  Processing so many pupkins at one time is quite hard work , i did 10 at once and decided to bake them rather than steam them just because it was easier to put them all in the oven to make the pumpkin goop. i scooped out all the seed and roasted them separately. i just froze most of the goop but i did make pumpkin soup with some of it which turned out to be delicious. the recipes will be below .

i also had the last of the chilli’s to do something with so i decided to air dry them and use my grinder attachment on my kitcheaid mixer to grind them in to powder , kind of cayene pepper. i just air dried them whole and then cut the stems off broke them in to pieces and fed them through the grinder , just the little particles in the air had my nose and eyes running .

This Pumpkin Pie is a combination and modification of two recipes i found on the web, one on http://www.pickyourown.org and the other on some cooking channel i forget . the soup is just a basic vegetable broth i use and added pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie
==========ingredients
3cups of prepared pumpkin (1 pumpkin 8” or two smaller ones to make 3 cups)
5 ginger snap cookies
¼ cup of walnuts
4 large eggs
1 ½  cup of whiping cream(not whipped)
1 cup of sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cinamon
2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pie crustsMaking the prepared pumpkin
========================
cut pumpkins into halves, remove the stalk and scoop out the seeds (save seeds for roasting recipie)
steam the pumpkin for 30 min
remove the pumpkin meat from the skin and then put the meat in to the mixer (use paddle) for about 5 min just to change it to a smooth texture.
Then measure out 3 cups

Everything else
============
Pre heat oven to 425F

put cookies and walnuts in to a food processor until they are crumb like use this to thinly  coat the bottom of the pie crust .

combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix together until combined.

pour the mixture in the prepared pie crusts

put the pies in the pre heated oven at 425F for 15 min and then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for a further 45 – 60 min , check at the 30 min mark.

Pumpkin Soup
===========
2 x onions
3 x carrots
2 sticks of cellerry
5 cups of  prepared pumpkin
1 tspsalt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayene pepper
1 tbspn minced garlic
1 qt of water aprox
2 tbspn gapeseed oil
Dice carrots , onions and celery
put oil in a large soup pot add diced carrots , onion , celery and garlic
heat over medium heat until they get soft (about 10 min)Add a cup of waterthen blend mixture in a blender until smooth (usually takes two blender loads)

pour the blended mixture back in to the pot  add pumpkin , salt , pepper and cayene pepper .

gradually add water until you get the desired thickness

simmer the mixture for about 20 min

serv . season to taste.

Kitchenaid mixer and Blackberry ice cream

I recently broke down and bought the Kitchenaid mixer i had my eye on for some time with numerous attachments one of which was the ice cream maker.

i figured i wanted to test out the ice cream maker as i have never made ice cream before. i just wanted to make a fruit flavored one. i had been clearing a few blackberry bushes out of the back field and of course eating them as i cleared them , only the biggest sweetest ones mind . so i figured i would go and pick some and make ice cream . in about 10 min of picking i had half a grocery bag full of them . i followed the recipe in the booklet and just added the blackberries they turned out so good . but then after freezing them the ice cream really hardened up and didn’t taste as good …but still better than store bought , you just have to zap it in the microwave a while before you eat it .

Cantaloupe

The Cantaloupe have been looking a bit sick recently and one of them had got a little bruised so we  decided to cut that one off . it is one of the larger ones and i would say a little bigger than a softball.

we left it in the fruit bowl for a couple of days to ripe up and then decided to give it a try . it was the juiciest most flavorful Cantaloupe i have ever tasted . i had figured my cantaloupe experiment a bit of a failure but now it has turned out to be an overwhelming success .needless to say i collected the seeds from this for next years crop.

Sweet September

We had a great September here, nice hot days in the mid 20’s. with that sort of weather brought us sweetcorn , lots and lots of tomatoes ,lots of summer squash and our strawberries are still producing .

with all this summer squash again i decided i needed to do something other than pickle it as the pickled summer squash was a little gooey , ok for chopping and putting in sandwiches but not much else so i looked for recipies on line and came across this one http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Summer-Squash-Soup-with-Parsley-Mint-Pistou-235736

of course my batch was a little bigger , i quadrupled the recipe it turned out wonderful we had a batch and divided the rest up and froze it for those cold winter soup days.

with the tomatoes and the peppers i decided i would make a chilli ketchup which turned out great.

then the following weekend i had another 10lbs of tomatoes and more chillis so it was time to make salsa . i used the recipe that came with the pressure canner with just a slight variation. i changed the 2 tblspn of lemon juice to 4 tblspns of lime juice …you can not decline acidity because it is how its safe to can salsa so i figured it would be ok. it turned out great we just cant get enough of it …i may have to take advantage of the cheap tomatoes at the grocery store if i dont get another harvest to make more.

Salsa recipe

5lbs tomatoes peeled and diced
2 onions diced
1can (7oz) Chillies
2 tsp salt
1tsp cracked pepper
4 tblspn lime juice(supposed to be 2tblspn of bottle lemon juice)
2 tblspn chopped cilantro
½ cup viniger
2 tsp cayenne pepper
it takes about 8 hrs to do it all peel the tomatoes and get everything ready . i doubled the recipe and made 12 pint jars and processed in the big pot for 45 min.

After the long hot spell we have had we realised we have a need for an alternative water source than out RO water system in the house . Its pointless treating water with RO (reverse osmosis ) when you are just going to water the plants with it . the house had an unfinished irrigation system , basically just a big tank that collected the brine water from the RO system and also filled up with just straight untreated well water so we decided to hook this up and put a pump and pressure tank in and ran some lines over to the gardens which involved digging a trench and then grading and replanting grass which was a lot of work and i just managed to get all the seed down before the rains came .

so another busy month at the farm.

Dig ‘em up.

It was time to do some harvesting , until now I had only harvested what I needed when I needed it but the potatoes where ready so it was time to dig them up. I decided to harvest some of the other veggies that were ready too

potatoesturnip

 

the last of the turnips were ready , these are the ones that I had thinned out earlier in the season and replanted , they turned out to be some of the largest turnips this year. Potatoes came along really well with lots of large one and lots of small new type potatoes …yummy.

 

carrots and squashcannedbeans

 

I had given up on the summer squash because the leaves had started to die off and there had been lots of flowers but no fruit . After the recent hot spell the summer squash had just sprung in to life and started to fruit like no tomorrow .

The hot spell had kicked more than just the summer squash in to gear , the beans and peas were ready to pick .With all these beans and peas I figured it would be good to can them in the pressure canner .

All this harvesting made the way the next round of veg to be planted . I have planted more carrots and some spinach, so we will see how they get on with the seasons changing.

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