The Bees are Coming!
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 14: April 8, 2023
The bees are coming!
Sometime this month, it *will* stop snowing. The sun will warm the earth and coax flowers from their hiding places, and bees and other pollinators as well as insects of all kinds will visit the flowers, bringing forth plums, berries, apples, zucchini and more.
We are preparing to welcome two new hives to our small homestead! Samuel did extensive research and settled on Hoover honeybee hives from Galena Farms to replace our old one. All wooden parts are dipped in wax, making them weather resistant.
We ordered the hives as kits, unassembled. It took longer than we expected to assemble them as excess wax had to be scraped from between all of the joints using a pocket knife. After assembling both, Sam decided in the future it would be better to order them pre-assembled.
The bees will arrive sometime this month or early May, depending on the weather.
Meal prep session
Time to prep another batch of quick-to-cook, healthy meals for working-girl Miriam. She liked the recipes she chose last time sooo much, she chose to do them over again.
Turkey Breakfast Sausage patties are a long-time family favorite made of organic ground turkey with added herbs. The mixture is shaped in patties and frozen until needed for a quick breakfast.
Mom’s spaghetti is a favorite with Miriam. Normally we use all our own tomato products, but we are running short on canned tomatoes after a minimal harvest in 2022. A medium-pot full of spaghetti sauce was divided into eight hearty servings and frozen.
Are we there yet?
Signs of spring are everywhere. We wake up to snow most mornings, which melts by noon.
Fast and furious came the hail on Sunday afternoon but it didn’t last long. Henry likes to stretch his legs and hop inside an enclosure.
As the snow melts, mud is revealed. Boots are a must. Some mornings the chickens look outside and I can almost read their mind as they hesitate coming out. Flowers make a welcome consolation prize for putting up with mud. Hopefully fruit trees will be in bloom by the time the bees arrive.
Managing our stores
As we move closer to spring and summer, it is important that we stay on top of managing the food in our pantry. This means we need to eat it.
The last 2 years have been excellent for the basil harvests, so we have a surplus of homemade in the freezer. What a delight it is to pull out a small jar and add it to briefly sautéed zucchini noodles!
Weekly tea at Mom’s included a lovely lunch: Chicken in Pesto Cream Sauce over pasta, salad and orange wedges. Tropical Tulsi Tea was a perfect accompaniment.
Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry by Cathy Barrow
Your pantry will be enriched by this beautiful book. Hardcover and fully 1 1/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick, it feels substantial in your hands. Generously illustrated, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry would make a good coffee table book, no doubt sparking interesting conversation.
She covers water bath and pressure canning in detail with lots of great photos and goes on to other timeless preserving techniques: salt-curing, brining, smoking, and fresh-cheesemaking. There is a nice section of recipes using the ingredients you’ve preserved.
Favorite recipes from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry:
- Homemade Pectin
- Marinated Roasted Peppers
- Tomato Nectarine Salsa (works with peaches)
- Brined Poultry
- Apricot Preserves
- Candied Bacon
There are newer preserving books out there, but I keep coming back to this one published in 2014. It’s a keeper.
Blessings on your week; thank you for stopping by!
Michele and Samuel