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Thursday, April 12, 2012

this and that

The last two weeks have been about trying new things. Lat week I went to my uncle's woods and dug up a handful of ramps which I have never tried before but heard lots about. I stumbled upon them while searching for morel mushrooms (of which I found none) and came back later to harvest a few. It was a small patch and I felt guilty taking more than a few. This is what they look like.
And this is what I did with them

I put 2 of them them in a bowl of chicken stock. After you clean them up you eat the leaves and bulb. Just ramps and chicken stock. It made a really delicious and simple soup. It tasted like the perfect cross between garlic and onions. I had a few left over that I chopped up and froze for a future special occasion. Hopefully I will come across more next year.  Then there are the fiddleheads. I heard those are edible too. While not as good as the ramps, I steamed some and put them over a bowl of rice and had myself a nice little stir fryish type lunch.

There were a few extra so I decided to pickle some. They taste better pickled in my spicy pickle brine than they did steamed. They taste a lot like, well ferns. They are very grassy. I tried to feed them to my family at the annual Easter dinner.  think I got two people to try them. Everyone else gave me the "Erica is acting crazy again" eye roll.
I added a few new fun items to my etsy shop including coffee flavored lip balm and some gift baskets.

Today I did a sugar shake to my beehive. Its where you take a bunch of powdered sugar and sift it onto the bees in the hive. The sugar coats many of the bees and encourages them to groom each other, knocking off varroa mites. While my hive is very strong, I still see varroa mites and bees with deformed wings (caused by varroa). When I opened my hive I noticed that the honey super was full of brood or bee larva. I've never had a hive so big that the queen climbed all the way into the honey super looking for room to lay her eggs. I thought it was a good time to try a split as there wasn't much room left for growth in the hive anyway.  I carefully inspected a few frames to make sure the queen wasn't on them and placed them into another small hive I had set up several weeks ago.

The hope is that all the bees on the frames I moved will accept the new hive as their home and raise a new queen. I made sure that the frames I pulled out had uncapped larva so that the bees had time to feed them royal jelly which produces a queen. I blocked the entrance of the hive so that no bees could get in or out for a day or two. This will hopefully give them time to situate themselves to their new surroundings. Over the next few weeks I may pull a frame of brood out to donate to the new hive to help boost their numbers. I don't expect much. It is a long shot doing it this way. It is traditionally done by introducing a new queen to the new colony rather than making them try to raise their own. Unfortunately I don't have the cash for a new queen but I do have a lot of faith in them. They are special bees. If it looks like the new hive is failing, I will put them back into the larger hive. This is what they looked like today before I messed with them.

look at the bees in flight. Aren't they cool. And if you look really close you can see the different colors of pollen they are bringing in. Light yellow, orange, red...

See how many bees are in the honey super? Tons. Hopefully I eased some of the congestion by taking out a few frames...

In other news, I also made 5 jars of raspberry syrup from last year's frozen berries in the freezer. I find that I more often use syrups than jams and jellies so I am going to focus more on making more of that this year. Its great mixed with club soda and a lemon wedge.

So what's next? There is a nice sized patch of stinging nettles nearby that is calling my name. I hear you can cook them and use them just like spinach. I have a nice collection of asparagus in the fridge so I am thinking cream of asparagus and nettles soup would be a fun experiment. This weekend I have a job lead to follow, I plan to remove some clutter from my life, both physical and mental. I have a lot of clothes to go through and donate, a lot of stress to relieve myself of and a few more pounds to lose. I have about 15 more lbs to go to hit my goal weight by my birthday. Tomorrow starts (well why not right now?) a major health overhaul. There will be no meat for a few days, then no dairy, then no super cooked foods then I plan on doing a whole week of just raw food. I hit a plateau and have read that this can rev up one's metabolism.

oh yeah and I cant even begin to describe how much I love this song.



  1. You are so interesting!!!! I love reading your blog.

    Oh, I must have missed the weird ferny things at Easter. :)

  2. I heart you so much! Thanks for being so inspiring! xoxo