Friday, April 30, 2010

Some new books to ponder

The Town the Saved Food by Ben Hewitt.
Over the past 3 years, Hardwick, Vermont, a typical hardscrabble farming community of 3,000 residents, has jump-started its economy and redefined its self-image through a local, self-sustaining food system unlike anything else in America. Even as the recent financial downturn threatens to cripple small businesses and privately owned farms, a stunning number of food-based businesses have grown in the region—Vermont Soy, Jasper Hill Farm, Pete's Greens, Patchwork Farm & Bakery, Apple Cheek Farm, Claire's Restaurant and Bar, and Bonnieview Farm, to name only a few. The mostly young entrepreneurs have created a network of community support; they meet regularly to share advice, equipment, and business plans, and to loan each other capital. Hardwick is fast becoming a model for other communities to replicate its success. The captivating story of a small town coming back to life, The Town That Food Saved is narrative nonfiction at its best: full of colorful characters and grounded in an idea that will revolutionize the way we eat.

I can't wait to read it... I'm on hold for this title with my library.

Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra.
Containing a mix of familiar family favorites and unusual, exotic delicacies, this comprehensive collection of recipes for breads, cakes, biscuits and pastries is also a well-researched exploration of home-baking techniques and global ethnic history. Inspired by her multicultural background the author has drawn inspiration from all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Nice book. I've had a chance to peruse her recipes. Yum, Yum. I am concerned however, that if I have difficulties with the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, that this book is a bit out of my league.

And for the children and children at heart. Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert. Narrated in a chatty, question-and-answer rhyming text, this warm story describes work throughout the seasons on a farm. A little girl repeatedly asks her mother, “What are you doing?” and Mom’s step-by-step answers describe how she feeds the sheep; shears, washes, dries, and cards the wool; spins and dyes the yarn; and, finally, knits a sweater (“Knit and purl, needles whirl”). A closing scene, “Sweater hug, woolly hug,” shows perfect bliss between mother and daughter, and in a final reversal, the mother asks the questions, while the little girl dives into work. The physicality of the words (“Soft and deep, sheepy heap”), the fascinating facts, and the action-filled, brightly colored illustrations will capture kids’ attention, as will the cozy family bond between parent and child, working together and caring for their free-range animals. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Hazel Rochman .

I think all my fiber friends need this book. You can read it when you display your spinning/weaving/knitting etc. at shows or simply to any child in your life. This is one of the best books out there to describe how fiber is processed from critter to sweater. LOVE IT!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I spy...

Our Rooster

Sammy, Aunt Janet's horse

Two bee hives

Alot of bees!!!

Some Violets

Our nesting ducks

The ducks again

A bunny!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Planting trees - Earth Day!

Our trees were delivered via UPS from Miller Nurseries last night. We opened our package and found healthy trees and bushes. So after supper we went out to plan and plant our 'orchard'.
First off Jim planted his raspberries. He planted Gold Raspberries and 2 types of Black Raspberries.
Then with the help of our resident hole digger (AKA - Allison) we moved onto the trees. We needed to plant them near the Alpaca they seem to keep the deer away. We will find out soon if our strategy works. My job was to instruct the hole digger where to dig the holes. We planted 2 Yellow Transparent Apple trees, 2 Spitzenberg Apple Trees, 2 Northern Pecan Trees and 2 Carpathian Walnut Trees. We also planted 2 elderberry bushes. We hope the Lorax would be proud! Happy Earth Day everyone!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This and That

Emily is the 4-H beekeeper for the Loghurst farm this year. Here she is getting ready to install some package bees.

Emily and her Loghust farm mentor, Barb Loewit.

Welcome to your new home honey....bees! ;)

Emily and Barb working together.

Its Turkey Season! Run! Those are real wild turkeys, not lawn ornaments. Any yes, that is our backyard.

Ol Wiley E... Coyote that is. This guy was right behind our beagle Cookie thinking she may make a good dinner. (located right behind our back door!)Dad to the rescue!

Look at the chompers on that thing! Amazing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Drawn Out Comb

One of our new bee hives had a drawn out comb on the inner cover. Wow! We're new at this so we called our mentor and asked what do we do now. You see the comb is supposed to be down in the hive box on the frames... not on the inner cover. He said that the bees had a bad project manager! I love his sense of humor. We were instructed to remove the comb, lower the inner cover to the bottom super(hive box) then place the feeder over the inner cover, place another hive box (super) over the feeder then the top cover to fix this construction glitch. So that is what we did. Emily and I are concerned about the queen. We couldn't find her and hope that she was down in the frames when we were stirring up the hive. We'll check back tomorrow...maybe.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Planting

Brrr... it is COLD today. We have been spoiled lately by nice weather and then mother nature sends us a chilly reminder of who is in charge!
So I tucked in today and order some plants! I ordered our apple trees and threw in some nut trees, raspberry bushes and some elderberry bushes too. They should arrive in a week.
Then I went online to a farm that sells heirloom seeds. He wasn't very expensive so I thought I'd give him a try. I ordered beets and carrots. We'll see how good his seeds are.
Now I am planning the garden. Since I ran out of my pickled beets this year, I ordered plenty of seeds(see order above). Zucchini, carrots, beans, tomatoes (out of salsa too!) and peppers will all be going in. Then, we'll see what else we feel like throwing in... maybe more dill, and basil.
I'll try to keep everyone updated.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Honey Bees are Here!!!

Emily and I are so excited! Allison told me as I was driving home tonight that Don called and our bees are here! Around 5pm we went to Don's brother...Frank's house to watch our mentor "download" or rather install his new bees into an empty hive. He showed us where to put the queen, where to place the food and most importantly how to place the worker bees into the hive. We came home with our new bees and began our beekeeping journey. We prepared the hives by inserting screen in the entrance. We don't want the bees to leave just yet. According to the instructions we received, this screen needs to stay in place for 2 days for the worker bees to get to know their queen! We needed to place little wood pieces for the box of bees and the food. We placed the queen in her cage in the center of the hive and placed her workers over top. We hope they like her! We covered them up and hope for the best! I also made some more food for them and will replace the food either Friday Night or Saturday morning.
It is quite cool today after a beautiful week. It was around 50 degrees with drizzly overcast skies. We hope that the bees will be warm and happy on their new farm.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!
It has been some time since I last posted. Allison and Emily have had busy schedules. First Emily qualified for "Zones" competition with the YMCA swim league. We traveled to Bowling Green State University in Mid March to compete with other wickedly fast swimmers from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. She competed with her buddies on both the Free Relay and the Medley Relay teams. They competed respectfully. She had a lot of fun and enjoyed the competition. Congratulations Emily.
Next Allison has been competing with the High School Robotics Team. I'm hooked! This is a fantastic team and they learn everything in this competition...programming computers, designing robots, building robots, competing with the robots, then troubleshooting. They are judged not only on the robot and all its functions, but the functions of the team... eg. do they perform community service? what about fundraisers? how do they let the community know about their team? etc.. It is a terrific program and well worth the time and effort. For more about her team go to Allison has tried out for and made the symphonic band for the high school which is the elite band in the school. Congratulations Allison!
We are winding down now and coasting in both swimming and robotics. This summer we will probably swim for the Firestone Area Swim Team in Columbiana, Ohio. Allison will be busy with the Marching Band and Emily with babysitting. They both will finish some 4H projects (new to us this year).
In Farm News....its onto our garden. Our raspberries (red and black) have come through the winter and are sprouting up everywhere! As far as planting goes, I want to plant more beets as my pickled beets were eaten up quickly this winter. We will also plant peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and lots more. We are looking forward to our bees. They should be arriving in about 2 weeks time. We hope the trees begin to blossom around the same time too! In the meantime Emily and I are attending beginner beekeeping classes and are excited about our latest adventure. I am scheduling in the shearers for the Alpacas...probably in May. Allison continues to "spin" and enjoys her fine Alpaca fiber! Our next big decision will be what to compete in for the Canfield Fair!
So if I forget to post for a while... you'll understand.