Sunday, October 16, 2011

Honey Harvest 2011

We got to show the kids how we harvest honey and steward the backyard hive. We found LOTS of honey which was exciting but we did not find lots of brood (egg cells and developing bees). Each time we pulled out frames full of honey the kids would clap with excitement. More importantly, each time we did find brood cells they would cheer, "Go queen! Go queen! (clap clap) Go queen! Go queen! (clap, clap)". They get it. No brood=no future bees.

We took ten honey-filled frames from the hive and left the bees that same amount to feed them through the Winter. We plan to help them with food as well.

Uncapping the comb to prepare it for the spinner. Kids can't keep their fingers out of the cappings!

Frames in the spinner. All set to spin!

Out comes the honey. This year's harvest was 25 pounds of honey which came to 2.5 gallons! Go bees!

While we cleaned up outside the boys ran inside and grabbed some packing paper they had been playing with. They both made their own beekeeper suits!

Cross your fingers for the our bees. We'll pamper them over the Winter and report back to you in the Spring.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Seed Saving- Sunflowers

When the sunflower seeds are fully formed harvest the whole flower head. You can knock off a few flowerettes to check if it's ready for harvest.

Our resident Scrub Jay got a head start on this one! Watch the birds. They'll tell you if the seeds are ready!

Knock off all of the old flowerettes covering the mature seeds.

Then, start picking out those seeds. They are so tasty when they are fresh!

A Mammoth Sunflower gets saved for next year.

Seed Saving- Amaranth

It's seed saving time around the ol' homestead. The kids dove right into the process. Amaranth seeds were the favorite. It's easy to gather, sift and winnow. Once its cleaned the seeds are silky smooth to the touch.





They also collected Queen Anne's Lace, Scabiosa, Nigella, assorted Sunflowers, Calendula, Lambsquarters, and Iceland Poppies.