Thursday, November 18, 2021

Final Check

After a string of typical November weather, today is almost 70 degrees and beautiful. Last week I picked an overcast day to put the mouse guard and "bee cozy" on the hive, but today was the day to open the hive and put the fondant in.

Because I didn't want to take off the flow hive, but I also didn't want the queen up there, I made fondant in pieces that I slipped between the flow frames. The queen excluder is still in place. That way, the worker bees can get to the fondant from below and bring it lower into the hive, and there is still a lot of honey in there. At least, there was, the last time I checked. Hopefully that will work for them. 

The colony seems to be doing well, they didn't get super aggressive which would indicate that they were feeling pinched for food, and I did all I needed to do without my bulky gloves on. 

That's it until the spring, at which point I am hoping they will finally and fully move into the flow frames and I can, after 2+ years, harvest honey more easily. Wish them luck!

Monday, November 1, 2021

6 and 6

It's only been two weeks but the sauerkraut stopped fermenting, not sure why, so I decided to can it this evening. I cold packed it into 6 pint jars and it's processing for 20 minutes in the canner. 

The other project on my list lately was to make a batch of hot pepper spread, the one with the banana peppers, mustard, and vinegar. I had a bunch of banana peppers from the farm share, enough to make just about 1/3 of a batch, which worked out to 6 cups. 

Some of these will be placed in a box to send to my nephew for his birthday, hopefully he doesn't mind it arriving a little late.....

Monday, October 18, 2021

Fermentation Time

Throughout the last month or so, we've gotten a lot of cabbage and fennel from the farm share. Today I shredded five pounds of both combined and got it into my fermentation crock. I generally don't know what else to do with all that cabbage. I have put some in dumplings, and in shabu shabu, but there was still a lot left and some of us do like sauerkraut. 

Tomorrow I'll add the white wine, 1/2 cup per five pounds of vegetables. 

Last weekend I went to the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, with friends, and bought some wool to make myself a sweater as well as some small kits to make as gifts. We went 2 years ago but, obviously, not last year. I finished one of the projects I'd purchased at that last trip, just in time to wear for this one. It was Weekend Wanderer, and I made it with two colors of a merino wool/angora rabbit mix which is just SO SOFT. I even had the experience of other fair attendees cooing over my shawl and it made me very happy. 

Currently, and slowly, I'm working on Impervious. It requires a lot of concentration.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Now You're Thinking

For the elderchild's birthday, something made me think about the video game they all used to play called Portal. There were these blue and orange portals that one creates to solve puzzles, with a promise of cake at the end. It's been a long time since anyone played Portal in this house, but when I mentioned making a Portal-themed cake to the elderchild the response was, "Ooh, I'd love to see that!"

It took me a couple of tries to make the portals. I knew I was going to make them out of sugar, and after a few experiments I used Jolly Ranchers melted in the oven in my cake rings on greased parchment. 

After that, it was a relatively simple matter to make a chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. After we got back from the Fair today, I frosted the cake, pressed Cocoa Krispies on the sides, and topped with cherries. Then for the hard part - cutting the cake to make it look like it was passing through a portal.
And that is how we served it, with the appropriate number of candles spread out on both parts. The elderchild was quite pleased.

Did I mention the Fair was today? It actually started yesterday and will go through the 11th, but we always go on the first Saturday since I can never wait longer than that to find out how my entries did. I only entered 4 classes this year, but got first place in 2 (elderberry jelly and salsa verde) and second in the other 2 (dill pickles and bread and butter pickles). I do wish we got more specific feedback about our entries so we can improve, but still, I'm happy with the results, of course! We checked out the rabbit, bird, vegetable and flower competitions, watched a stunt show, ate a bunch of Fair food, and oohed and aahed over all the beautiful crafts on display. The bee house was PACKED so we didn't really go through it, but that was alright. We had plenty to do. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Lucky Twice

This morning my husband and I went to pick raspberries. Last year, we had to schedule an hour block and we could pick pints or quarts. This year, things are not as plentiful. We could only schedule a half-hour block and were given the option of half-pints or pints. We opted to pick 4 pints. Which we did as quickly as possible. Thunder started rumbling in the distance. We picked faster. 

Just as we were leaving the raspberry row, the sky erupted with lightning and, a few minutes later, it poured.

By the time we got home, the sky was so dark, it felt like 8 pm. I made a batch of raspberry jam without pectin, and ended up with about 6-7 cups of jam from 2 quarts of berries.

This afternoon, we went back out to pick up the farm share. We kept an eye on the weather report and went when it had stopped raining. We did curtail the pick-your-own part of the share. In particular, we opted to skip the flowers and tomatillos and I didn't glean any of the tomatoes that were left (not on the share, but up for grabs for people who had the time). Thankfully, we got back to the car a few minutes before it once again started raining buckets. The farm share was full of late season greens: lettuce, arugula, kale, escarole, and chard, plus raspberries, onions, eggplant, peppers, kohlrabi, and herbs. 

Three more weeks of the share to go! Hopefully there will be better weather. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Keeping Up

Last week at the farm I grabbed more plum tomatoes, which seemed like a lot at the time but cooked down to only two pints of tomato sauce - lots of Striped Roman heirloom plums, a few Romas, and the better part of a quart of sungolds. The share included two quarts of sungolds, but I only picked one. We just can't eat them fast enough! There is only a month left at the farm, and I expect that we'll be moving more into the winter squashes soon. For now there are lots of carrots, peppers, eggplant, onions, and greens, plus a few handfuls of raspberries. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes

Last week at the farm, instead of picking plum tomatoes (they were pretty picked over by the time I got there) I picked a bunch of yellow tomatoes. These are some form of heirloom tomato, but I don't know which one. It might be a Yellow Oxheart. It might be a Lillian's Yellow. Or something completely different. Regardless, they're large, they're uniformly yellow, and they're very sweet. Last year I made a salsa amarillo out of them. This year, I'm on a pizza sauce kick, so I made a batch of yellow tomato pizza sauce.

Well, really, it turns out orange when it's cooked down. We'll call it Golden Pizza Sauce.