Beehive check

Beehive Check, Duck Eggs, and a Very Important Birthday

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary Vol. 1

Week 29 July 24, 2021

This fourth week of July included a beehive check for us newbie beekeepers, a regular supply of duck eggs, and a Very Important Birthday.

A Very Important Birthday ~

A Very Important Birthday
Rolly and Donna Griffith

Let’s start with the Very Important Birthday: my stepdad, Rolly Griffith turned 90! I appreciate Rolly more than words can describe. He is a rock for our family and he is so good to my Mom. Rolly says he is so grateful to have had two great loves in his life: his first wife of 54 years, Shirley, who passed away in 2005, and my Mom, his second wife of 15 years.

He is a good listener, such a rare quality, and a good counselor.

We celebrated Rolly at a gigantic birthday party at a local park this weekend. I got to meet relatives I had never met before!

Beehive Check at Chocolate Box Cottage ~

Our beehive is situated in the middle of our small home orchard, surrounded by fruit trees: apricot, peach, Italian plum, cherry, and apples.

The chickens currently have run of the orchard. Time will tell whether this is a good choice or not. We may change the fencing at some point.

We had ups and downs with keeping bees since we began in 2017. We lost one colony when we moved the hive from our previous home in Central Point to Chocolate Box Cottage, so we had to start over.

Today we wanted to see how the bees are doing and check on the status of honey production.

Do you grow your own herbs and spices?

Dried oregano
Dried oregano for the spice drawer and apothecary cupboard

Here is part of my annual supply of dried oregano. My goal is to pack 2 quart jars full of dried leaves every year. We use it all.

The small apothecary style jar belongs in my spice drawer. Yes, I have a spice drawer, not a spice rack. Keeping spices in a drawer protects them from sunlight and keeps them cool, prolonging their freshness.

Sam and I joke that one of the reasons we haven’t caught the plague is that we eat so much oregano! Oregano has antimicrobial, antiviral, and expectorant qualities, among others. It really is a powerhouse herb!

Find spice jars like mine here:

Duck Eggs in Gem-like Hues ~

Duck eggs
It may be hard to tell from the picture, but each duck egg is a different color: ivory, blue-green, and gray (clockwise from the top)

We are now blessed with duck eggs, thanks to three shimmery black Indian Runner hens and two drakes. I find it fascinating that each duck hen lays a different colored egg, though they are all the same breed.

We have not eaten fried duck eggs yet, but I have used them in baking cookies and muffins.

Blackberry Season is Almost Here ~

I have picked berries every summer since I was a little girl of 4 or 5 years old. So far there are just a handful of ripe berries at a time.

Cooking & Preserving From the Garden ~

Dehydrating zucchini
My Excalibur dehydrator is busy with zucchini at the moment
Sunday harvest
Daily garden harvest

The harvests provide inspiration for meals. Some of it doesn’t make it to the kitchen. Kale, blackberries, basil (green and purple) yellow crookneck squash, green and yellow zucchini, peppers, tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, calendula (edible petals), and Barese melon cucumbers.

Walking into the garden and deciding what to eat based on what is ripe is my favorite style of cooking!

As our kids were growing up, we brought them into the garden. They each had a raised bed or pot of their own to tend, depending on age.

At mealtimes, we talked about the food on our plates. Whether it came from our garden, was foraged, or bought at a farm or the store.

Recipe for Spiralized Zucchini Butter Spaghetti:

Wood Shed Update ~

The back wall of the wood shed is made from reclaimed aluminum sheets. Used pallets line the floor beneath the neatly stacked firewood. Oak posts came from our pasture. See the mound of bark surrounding the posts? We are deciding how best to utilize it.

From the Oven ~

This is the bread of my ancestors. Bread ecipes and instructions for creating an Everlasting Yeast bread starter will be included in my book, along with variations.

Farewell ~

Wildflower and herb bouquet
A bouquet of 13 wildflowers and herbs found at Chocolate Box Cottage

Thank you for visiting Chocolate Box Cottage ~ see you next week!


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