Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Puppet Making Weekend

We had a fun filled day Saturday, building puppets with Nicol Wander.  

Charlotte's, Ginny's, and Laura and Kel's puppets-in-progress.  The funky one in the background is one of Nicol's creations.  We had lots of laughs and lots of fun.  If anyone in the area is interested, Nicol will come and teach a class in your home, so bring together friends and family and be prepared to have a blast.  Thank you, Nicol!!
check out Nicol's website and look for her puppet shows and upcoming events...

(she started out as His Poofyness...but as you can see she took a turn into another character altogether)


I think we may have figured out the secret to sauerkraut, though I am afraid to say too this soon in the aging process.  But a cooler temperature (which is no problem in this house) and a thin towel under the weights to hold the cabbage under the brine and keep out the air better.  The (older version) of the Joy of Cooking says to change the towel and the weights every day, but I've been doing it every few days...and I know it's a long way until the kraut is done, but I'm liking the way things are progressing.  Ask me again in a couple of weeks how things are going.

I am off to study.  I've got a nice three day weekend and am going to take advantage and try to catch up on school work.  So, I am off....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aloe Vera

Here it is, the first of the herb entries.  I'm starting with aloe, as not much is growing in the garden and many of us have aloe growing inside the house.

Common domestic houseplant.  The parts used are the bitter juice and gel.  The gel inside the leaves is 'yin' for those of you interested in Chinese associations.

Aloe vera is commonly used externally for skin cancer, burns, and injuries.  Internally, it is used as a laxative, but can cause serve intestinal pain (Rodale's Encyclopedia of Herbs recommends using it externally only).  If you choose to experiment with taking your aloe houseplant internally, start with very small doses.  You can buy aloe juice in health food stores and I would suggest springing for the highest quality.

Aloe is cold and bitter.  It is associated with the liver, heart, and spleen.  It can calm a fiery temper (Pitta temperament in Ayurveda).  In sanskrit it is called 'kumari' which means 'goddess' and in Ayurvedic medicine aloe is an estrogenic herb.  It regulates hormones and a teaspoon of aloe with tumeric should alleviate PMS symptoms as well as regulate liver functions.  Aloe is enzyme promoting.

Dose: gel and liquid: 2 T three times a day
powder: 1/2 - 1 t.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I just trudged through the snow in this beautiful weather to check the bees.  Bree died sometime over the winter, and I am considering moving the hives here to a sunnier location.  The hive just seemed so damp and icky and the honey frames had mold on them, which is so bad.  So, maybe the hives are going to find a bit more prominent place in the yard this summer.

Chalice and Dionysus were alive and happily situated in the bright sunlight in the middle of a field.  The bees are really high up in the hive, so I am worried that they are running out of food, but that they made it this far is awesome.  As an emergency ration, I poured some crystalized sugar on the top of the inner feeder for them...not the best food, but it's something.  But it's still a L O N G time before those dandylions bloom!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our nighttime visitor

I hope the little guy isn't too blinded by the flashes.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Candle Update...

I've been harassed for not updating the candle post.  Well, we're always learning lessons, I guess.  There was a bit too much honey in the wax and we got honey candles instead of bees wax candles.  But that worked, we can always use more honey!!  And we learned to let the bees completely clean the wax before using that's the plan for next time.

And we'll bee peeking at the bees later this week if the weather report (and the Groundhog) are right and it warms up to 50 degrees.  Keep your fingers's been a really rough winter all around!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Things have been very busy here for the BlogKeeper and she's been neglecting her blogging duties.  I'd like to say I've been hard at work planting the seeds and making stuff, but no, I've been busy with classes and homework.  But that's another story for another day.

But we've been getting some stuff done...just a bit more slowly than usual.  The seedstarting goods are out and warming by the fire: pots and dirt.  I just need to get the seeds out of the freezer and the lights out of the closet.  I am trying not to buy any seeds and only a few plants this year so I was very good in the fall and inventoried all the seeds and know what we have and should not need to buy a lot.  But they'll grow better if I get them planted.  So, I am hoping to get some planting done this week: at least the peppers and celeriac.  And we'll bee peeking at the bees later this week if the weather holds.

We went to the WinterFare in Greenfield last weekend and are enjoying fresh greens and yummy roots.  I roasted mixed root vegetables and froze some of them for later.  Yum.  And there is a new batch of kraut on the counter...I am going to try it one more time!!!

Troy's been to the vet and weighs in at about 170 pounds.  The vet would like to see him lose about 15 or so, but we're thinking it's just happy winter fat!!!

I'm working on herbs a bit lately and learning more about them and their medicinal properties, so this year on the blog, you'll see individual posts on herbs and healing!!!  I promise, for those of you rolling your eyes at me!!

It's happy and warm today...the snow is melting: I took my coat off: I had the windows in the car and the house open.  I do believe the GroundHog was right!!!  Happy Spring!!!  (and I am SURE the crocuses are blooming under all that snow).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GroundHog's Day and Maple Baklava

See, this snow is good for something, the groundhog didn't see his shadow, which means Spring is Coming!  I'd better get my seeds started for that early spring!!!

Maple Baklava
(modified from: Maine Maple BEYOND PANCAKES)

3/4 c water
1 c maple syrup
1/2 c maple sugar
1 T lemon juice
--combine and boil for about ten minutes and then set aside.

1/2 pound hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 pound pistchio nuts, chopped
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c maple sugar
2 sticks o' sweet butter
1 box phyllo dough

brush butter on bottom of 9x13 pan
layer phyllo dough and brush each sheet with butter
every 8 sheets sprinkle with nuts, and sugar, and cinnamon
continue until sheets are gone and butter top sheet
cut carefully into pieces
bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees
lower temp to 300 degrees and cook until golden
pour cooled syrup over top of hot baklava
let sit for at least two hours
eat, eat, eat...and share

I lessened the amount of sugar in the recipe.  I find baklava to be too, too sweet.  But this was delicious!  Almost as good as BumbleChick Farm Honey Baklava!!