Thursday, October 29, 2015

Score one for the Good Guys!

-Posted by Isaac

I pulled in the lane yesterday and found 10TV interviewing my beautiful articulate wife.

Here's a little insight into what we've been fighting.

If you want to help us with this little fight, we'd love it.

We'll keep you updated.

Peaches in the Summertime. Apples in the Fall.

-Posted by Isaac

I've got two quick posts, both featuring my better half, both with very little to do with bees.

Except this:
And I thought my bees never swarmed?

I was working a yard a few days ago, looked up and found this ghost town. Cool picture.

So anyway, our friend Kristen Baughman from Curly Girl Farm throws a big apple butter party every year. Jayne never misses it, but me, I've always found an excuse.
Until this year.

Turns out, it was really fun. And a learning experience. Kristen gets about a thousand apples cooking in a big copper pot over the fire. Then she gathers about a hundred friends to help with the festivities.

About dark, the apple butter had become thick enough to scoop and put into mason jars. And I mean a lot of mason jars! It was a well-organized craziness. Jayne knew just what to do.

Me, I just hung out with my drinking buddies.

After filling what seemed like a few hundred jars, we all partook of the leftovers. Kristen had baked a bunch of biscuits for this very purpose. 

I swear, I've never tasted anything so good.

The apple party was two weeks ago. All those filled jars found their way home with many of the partiers. I wonder how many are still around? Not much left at our house.

 Every now and then, we even share with our children.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fabulous Fall

-Posted by Isaac

The fall honey is almost done! Today we extract the last of the honey from around here. We've still got those darn Holmes County hives, three hours away. Who knows when I'll make it up there.

It's been fantastic. Just awesome. The best fall honey flow I've seen. And other beekeepers are saying the same.
We're just swimming in goldenrod honey at the moment. Thanks to the great weather and awesome bloom.

Goldenrod and aster everywhere you looked. Combined with a three week stretch of dry 80 degree days.
The result:

I take most hives down to one super for the fall flow. This year I wish I'd left two on. Not only did the bees pack that one super full, they nearly plugged their brood boxes full. There will be little feeding this winter.

So we weren't the only busy harvesters.

My brother just finished up yesterday. For the last couple years, he and I have finished up our respective agricultures at the same time.

Bridger decided he prefers grain farming to beekeeping. Hours and hours in the combine. Every day.

Every morning I'd take him out to meet the grain farmers. He just begged for it.

Bye Dad. Have fun with your frumpy old bee truck and aching back...

Even little Eden is trending toward the more mainstream agriculture.

But I'll stick with bees.
Especially when it's this fun! The hives are strong. The honey came pouring in.

So strong in fact, many hives had built comb down into the internal feeder below.

Every yard I found myself astonished. Honey! Wall to wall!
I've just never seen it this good.

I caught myself popping lids and reaching for the camera.

A little eye candy...

Hive porn for beekeepers...

For at least a month we've been busy in the honey house.

The new equipment really came in handy when we needed it.

A few lessons:
Things I already knew, but had to learn again the hard way.
One, aster honey granulates fast. Keep it moving! We've got about fifty gallons of granulated honey sitting at the bottom of the big holding tank.

Two, take the clean-out trailers far away

I have made several extended family members mad with our crazy bees.

Even post-cleaning, sitting in the barn, the supers are attracting much attention.

I guess this would qualify as a third lesson learned again. Put the pollination bees elsewhere! We've got about 50 hives now sitting within a few hundred yards of the honey house and barn. This makes for some craziness on warm days.

But I don't have to deal with it. Only Jayne. Sorry Honey.
I'm gone. These wonderful warm days are great for treating, feeding if needed, getting the girls ready for winter.

The work never ends, it just changes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash with Honey Butter

-posted by Jayne

Let me just start by noting- this is not a food blog.  If it were a food blog, you would most likely see artfully curated photos of delicious food on white plates with perfect lighting.  A sprig of rosemary tucked into the side of the dish.  A checkered cloth napkin sitting to the right of the plate with an antique silver spoon.  But here, you only get pictures of our real food snapped with an iphone seconds before it was devoured- so sorry about the poor quality photos!

Today I bring you a favorite recipe for roasted butternut squash, finished with a simple honey butter glaze.  If you're like me, during this time of year you are quickly trying to find recipes that will feature your fresh rosemary, before frost comes and finishes it off for the winter.  I can never bring my rosemary indoors in the winter- our house is just too dry for it to thrive.    Here's a picture of our herb bed, in its' fall glory.  Basil, Sage, Rosemary, a tall Dill jumping out of the picture, and some spinach peeking out up front.

Here's the recipe:
4 pounds butternut squash, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet, or two if needed. Rotate the tray halfway through cooking until vegetables are lightly caramelized and fork tender, about 45 minutes. Toss periodically to make sure they cook evenly. While vegetables are cooking, whisk honey and butter together into well incorporated.
During the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, remove vegetables and brush them with honey butter mixture. Sprinkle with rosemary and return to oven to continue cooking.

The finished product.  Wah-la!
And to insert some personal pictures into our business blog- here are some pictures from the backpacking trip I took to Dolly Sods, West Virginia 2 weeks ago.  The weather didn't exactly cooperate- but it was still beautiful, invigorating, and tons of fun to get away with some girlfriends.
Lunch break!

Our picture before we set off on our journey.

I can't wait to go back again.  And special thanks to Worthington Market for canceling the market the last weekend of Sept. so I could take this trip.  We're back on schedule and going strong in the outdoor market until the end of October.  Won't you come see us?  Farmer's markets in the fall are the absolute best.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wholly smokes it's big!

-Posted by Isaac

By now I'm sure many of you know there's a big new Whole Foods in Easton.

It opened in early September, and I finally got to check it out last week. Wow! They went big with this one.

Whole People, Whole Planet--  I'll say!

Come on Whole Foods, a little heavy on the old environmental impact? A slight bit of Carbon in that footprint?  Tisk tisk...

Just kidding Whole Foods. 
We're all capitalists here.

So I got the call, the emergency 'We're out of honey!' call last week. Henry was off winning fiddle contests somewhere in Appalachia. I had to run the delivery.
When I came on the scene it looked like this:

We love you too, Columbus! 

The Honeyrun section nearly vacant. Crickets chirping back there.
Hmmm... is there a market for local honey?

What began as an annoying unscheduled trip turned into a morning adventure. I got to explore this big beautiful new store. And I'll share a few pictures with you.

Good eating everywhere I looked.

From the oceans, 

and the tropics, the mountains, the temperate climes...

A pound of espresso for Jayne...

organic, fresh roast, whole bean of course.

A little something for me.

And out of the classy new store. Out of the dreadful city. Back to work. Back to real life. Got to tend to some bees.

The busy interstate. 
The two lane road. 
The one lane road. 
The dirt road. 
The grass path.
The creek. 
The sunset.
The fire.

Pass me one of those fancy beers, will you?