Saturday, January 22, 2011

Soap and candles...

Goat Milk and Honey Soap
Lavender Rose

I am done making soap for now, so I can finally put my soapmaking supplies back into the closet so my kitchen doesn't look like quite a mess!
I should have enough soap to get us through the year, but I might make some more for Christmas gifts...maybe.    
It's exciting to be making soap with our own honey and milk.  


I melted the icky bee's wax with bee parts and chunks in canning jars (used only for melting wax...wax never really seems to clean up) in a bath of boiling water and filtered it with paper towels into an old soup can.  
I poured the mixture into my molds with the wicks and voila: candles.  

Of course, there were lots of curses and burnt fingers and wax messes to go along with that simple 'voila', but the end result was a few candles.  

I am hoping to have enough wax to send the Bee Sponsors a bees wax candle before the new beekeeping season starts!  
We shall see!

Aren't they BEAUTIFUL!?!
I figure we might need them at the low teck wine and cheese party tonight at WindyFields Farm!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BumbleBlog Book

New copies of the 2010 BumbleBlog are on the way...if you haven't already ordered your copy and would like one, please let us know.  Off-the-Farm Price is $25.00!!  Eek!

Honey Bees!!!


We just ordered a three pound package of bees with a Russian Hybrid Queen from Warm Colors Apiaries. These are the new bees for Avalon!  We would like to think we are in a position to split and create our own nucs, but we are not yet confident enough that our bees will make it through the winter and a summer without bees would be very, very sad.  And so, we'll support our localest bee supplier (even though the bees themselves are coming from the South) and hope the bees come in before we go on vacation...or we're gonna find out just who loves us enough to pick up and hive a package of bees for us...anyone?  Anyone?  In all seriousness, the bees should arrive before we leave!  And maybe next Spring, we'll be ready to split our own bees!!  How cool would that bee?  I'd love to be able to produce all our own hives here and keep it local and raise bees that are adapted to our environment.  I'd really like to one day be able to split and sell a few nucs to new beekeepers...but alas...that's down the line.

It's mid January and the snow and sleet is piling up.  In Bee News here:

Avalon...long gone...even before winter even began.
Bree...alive and kicking!
Chalice...seems to be humming, but I can't say for sure. loud and angry and seems full.

In the meantime, I'm kicking back with a hot cup of tea and my Beekeepers Handbook (this year's beekeeping book) and watching the snow fall and listening to the sleet on the roof.  Brrrr.  I think I'll go add another log to the fire!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sewing with Katie

Spent the weekend with Katie sewing...something I haven't done in years...and have never had much success at, probably from lack of practice.  I guess it's like any skill: you have to keep doing it to become any good.  But I'd really like to be good at it the first time...especially when using fabric I just spent a fortune on.  What happened to sewing being cheaper than buying clothes?  I mean, really!  It's now become a hobby for the middle class...where ARE we going wrong?  Oh, yeah, WalMart (and China) strikes again.  But we were somewhat least, we have patterns for next time and now know what to do right next time...and can actually wear what we've made...

Oh, and when sewing, as Katie says, it is important to DIRFT!

Charlotte's Skirt!

Katie's much more complicated Sun Dress!

Oh, and by the way:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow and Little Lilly

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crazy Snow

That one to three inches of snow overnight turned into more like eight inches of snow overnight...and it's still going.  Troy will be happy.  Skiing will be fun!!  Snow shoeing will be fun.  Shoveling snow...not so much.

Dinner is on the wood stove, cooking away.  Tonight is a variation on the other night's meal, since I won't be driving out to pick up anything for dinner.  Boneless chicken breasts, covered with a can of diced tomatoes and a can of chick peas, with onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and spiced with a bay leaf, cumin, hot peppers (dried and from my brother's garden), smoked parpika, and salt and pepper.  I added a bit of water to the bottom of the pot and might add chicken broth later if I need to.  I love wood stove cooking!!  And I'll serve it over wild rice...which I haven't yet dared to try to cook on the wood stove...maybe soon.  Corn bread too...made with Katie's corn!!!  (buttermilk isn't really dairy, is it?)

I still haven't made my second batch of soap.  Maybe tonight.  But I tried to make paper and instead made compost.  But I am going to try again!!!  It was close...but just not quite up to my satisfaction!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday in Winter

I just checked and cut the soap.  I realized, last night after it was too late, that I put an extra ounce of goat's milk and an extra ounce of green tea into the recipe.  It's a little softer than it should be and I'm a little concerned for how the soap is going to turn out.  But it's up on the soap racks, curing.  We will have to wait and see.  I might make a plain batch of goat milk and honey soap today.  I realized that this batch of soap is the first batch we'll have made with entirely our own goat's milk and our own honey.  We are getting somewhere...slowly!!

I made a batch of dried garlic from the garlic harvest:

I was going to dry most of the garlic in the basket...but it takes a long time to peel and cut garlic, so I think I will be drying garlic in batches.  I put the dried garlic in a salt grinder and use it on just about everything, especially popcorn (which, since I am off butter for another week, will make my air popped popcorn just that much better!).

I am taking in the goat supplies from the barn and cleaning those up.  I cleaned up the goat wormer jars, scoops, grooming supplies, and smaller tubs yesterday and inventoried all of our supplies (and placed replacement orders).  Today, I am cleaning up the Goat First Aid Kit, which I probably should have brought into the house when the freezing temps started, but oops, I didn't.  Next, I am going to clean up all the birthing towels and put them into a kitty litter tub to keep the dust out...the cardboard box just isn't working well...of course, there's probably a really happy mouse or two living in the towels that I am going to disturb.  And then I'll work on the kidding kit (hmmm, kidding?).  When it's warmer, the barn is going to get a good cleaning and reorganizing.  It's a mess...mostly chickens...some us.

I got an update on Mary, and Samson, and Franklin.  Mary and Franklin were in a live creche, and Franklin stole the show, falling asleep in a shepherd's arms.  Mary was (hopefully) successfully bred in November, and they are hoping for late March/early April babies.  Yay!!!

And Bree is still alive.  I am hoping to check Chalice and Dionysus tonight.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

BumbleChick Farm Blog 2010

The BumbleChick Farm Blog is out and in print!!!  AND it's on Amazon!!!  How cool is that?  Again, it's a bit pricey (it's those color pictures and an extra cost to get it on Amazon).  But how could I resist putting it on Amazon?  This year, we chose to use CreatSpace (by Amazon) instead of Lulu.  Lulu actually cost more and didn't have the benefit of being on Amazon.  So, Ta it is:

If you would like to buy it off of the farm, there is a $10.00 discount.  You can get your hot-off-the-press 2010 Bound BumbleBlog for the bargain price of $25.00!  Please let me know if you would like to order a copy through the farm, so I know how many to order.  Thanks!!

Today, the plan is to putter around the house and do some de-cluttering (Saturday's detox advice from the 28 Day Jump Start).  And I am prepping to make a batch of Green Tea Goat Milk and Honey Soap.  I probably should have checked soapmaking supplies before I started infusing the water for the soap, but I didn't.  Again, refuting the simple rule of not adding herbals to soap see, I don't obey any rules!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Welcome to another year here at BumbleChick Farm.  As we begin the new year, we have three of our four hives that seem to be slowly trudging through the winter: Bree, Chalice, and Dionysus--yay!  As always, we still need happy thoughts sent their they still have the hardest part of the cold to go.  I am searching for my 2011 BeeKeeping book: I like to get one new book every winter to refresh my knowledge and to learn new beekeeping secrets.  I don't think I'll be making Bee School again this year, as it is the same night as classes, but that's all right.  We will be offering bee sponsorships again to Avalon.  We are limited to ten sponsors, and will give fist dibs to previous sponsors.  Avalon is fresh and clean and ready for new bees, and this year we are thinking of Russian bees.  We seem to have the best luck with them.

The six goats are waiting for spring: Aria and Mozart, Ginger and Little Lilly, and Annie and Willa (who are for sale...but I haven't had the heart to advertise them again).

The chickens have taken up hanging out in the barn, which we are finding quite annoying.  And (like I say EVERY winter) we will NOT take this many chickens through the winter again.  Now, I'm getting even stricter and only want to keep a total of twelve at any given time (last year, I think it was eighteen).  And the guineas are still with us, cackling away!  I don't think we will be purchasing more chickens this spring...just keeping with the twenty we seem to be at and hope the fox doesn't come back with a vengeance.

And Troy is LOVING the snow and sad that it melted away over the weekend.  And he loves that we are snow shoeing and skiing in the back woods almost daily with him.

I saved lots of seeds from last year and probably won't need to buy any this year.  But as January has just started, I haven't really thought about the garden yet.  I try to save that for mid to late gives me something to look forward to as the cold really takes hold and hangs on.  Then I sit down with catalogs and dirt and seeds and lights and a cup of tea...and dream of spring.  And dream of awesome gardens.

As for me, I am kick starting the year with a light and gentle detox from the latest issue of Body and Soul (thanks, Kari!).  It's a four week kick start that breaks down into four weeks and starts off a bit strict, but nothing so strict that it's really painful (and no starving).  I am modifying it to my own needs and I think it's going to be a nice way to start the new year...especially since my body is begging me for some relief from all the junk I have been eating throughout the holiday season!

Happy New Year Everybody.  It's going to be a Great one!