Saturday, November 1, 2008

Apples, Greens and Honey

I have a temporary renter right now. He is staying for about 2 weeks. This in addition to my long term renter. My temporary renter (TR) paid me for his rent today. In cash. It is EXTREMELY dangerous to have large wads of cash in hand while there is a food festival in the plans....

The day started by having breakfast with the TR. We had lots of coffee and chatted about C'ville and Austin where he is currently living and thinking of fleeing due to the heat. Then I did a little sewing for the LB (finally, JFC) and baked some bread and visited the bees. I took them some syrup, though it didn't look like they needed any more. They still had a lot, though there were bees bellied up to the sugar bar. I replaced it anyway so that it wouldn't get old and moldy. Things were looking pretty grim. It appeared that some of the honey in the super was disappearing. There were bees flying in and out, but they didn't seem to be greeted by guard bees. I was pretty convinced that the hive had already gone down and the bees coming and going were just robbers taking the rest of the honey.

I went to the Vintage Virginia Apple Festival with a heavy heart. I bought a lot of apples and some cider and skeedattled- which was good cuz I coulda spent a lot of money there. I wasn't in any mood for having fun. On the way home I decided to go back out to the bee hive and take the super off. If it was just robber bees getting the honey, I might as well have it. So I fired up the smoker and put on the suit and headed out while it was still warm and sunny. I took off the super and poked around in the hive boxes. It actually was looking better than I though. There was a mass of bees, though not huge, it existed, which I wasn't expecting, and there was honey above them, which is what they need. It didn't look like any of that had disappeared. There was even some pollen on one side of one of the frames. So I tucked everything back in but brought the super in with me. I am going to save some frames to put back out in an emergency, but I will process some more as well.

I went back in the house encouraged though still skeptical of their survival. I opened the box that came from Brushy Mountain Bee Catalog earlier this week and unpacked my division board feeder, bee brush, and pollen substitute. The pollen substitute is something like TVP, though I expect it tastes better. I have to mix it up with syrup and make it into patties. But the stupid recipe calls for weights of pollen sub.... It goes something like 1 part pollen sub to 1.7 parts syrup by weight. I have never been a math whiz and this taxes my mental abilities as well as equipment availability.....Why can't they just put it in 100 calorie packs like they do everything else. Sheesh.

After that I went out and picked greens from the garden. I know it was a warm day and all, but this is NOVEMBER. I think I am going to be addicted to this winter gardening thing. I will get an earlier start next year though. I have things covered with floating row covers right now to keep the worst of the frost off. Check out what I got.

Some of the very bright colored chard is from the VERY early spring. I am not kidding. I started this stuff called Five Color Silverbeet by seed inside in like February. I put it out in March or April and I have been getting Silverbeet (same as Chard) from these plants since. AMAZING. The leaves are a little smaller, but dang. It is pretty rewarding. Plus there are newer chard plants in the garden now along with some spinach.

I made up a mess o greens like last week. With bacon, a leek from the garden and the greens. And a white wine and chicken stock to get the wilting going. I plan to put this into a quiche maybe tomorrow. If I am motivated enough to make a pie crust. It has been a while. I also cooked up a mess o apples that had been sitting around sauteed them in butter and a little brown sugar and some cinnamon so that I can mix them in with my breakfast yogurt and granola.

Now I am going to babysit. Don't forget to fall back.

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