Feed the Bees

Spring is right around the corner!  This means it is seed starting time!  I have to admit, I not only have an addiction to chocolate, critters and hats, but to seeds!  I love harvesting seeds, buying seeds and of course, planting seeds.  We are fortunate enough to have a heated undergarage, with added grow lights for seed starting.  In February and March, we will also begin seeds in the hoop houses and greenhouse.

This year, we have an extra special seed focus – BEES!  With 20,000 Italian honey bees arriving in May, we are expanding our cottage garden and filling the Apiary with lots of bee-loving plants.

Granted, we have many food choices for our little friends, with the gardens and fruit trees, but in my opinion, there is never enough food for the bees!  You might not have a passion for becoming a bee keeper, but that does not mean you can’t help the natural bees in your area.  This Spring, when you are looking to add plants to your yard, garden or deck, here are some special requests from the bees!  (Zone 5)

Herbs: lavender, sage, catmint, cilantro, thyme, borage, fennel, bee balm, dill

Perennials:  hollyhocks, clematis, foxglove, poppy, cone flower, black-eyed susan,

Annuals: sunflowers, zinnia, clover, marigolds, geranium,

Shrubs: butterfly bushes, honeysuckle, roses, clematis, forsythia, witch hazel, weigela

Fruits & Veggies: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, fruit trees, cantaloupe, gourds, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, tomatoes

Remember, if the bees die, they are taking us with them!  Pollination is NOT something that can be outsourced!

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Bee Kind…Bee Helpful…Bee YOU!

♥Roda

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What’s the Buzz?

As many of you know, I love critters!    I find myself lost in the garden, following and photographing bumbles, from flower to flower.  After 3 years of researching and dreaming about becoming a beekeeper, I decided this was the year.  We have purchased our first hive and ordered 10,000 Italian honey bees!  Actually, 10,000 + 1…one can’t forget about the Queen.  We still have another hive to purchase and another colony of bees.  This will allow us to compare and contract production, population and overall hive health.  Also, if one hive fails, the second colony will be a much needed support system for the remaining bees.

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I love photographing bumbles on sunflowers!

I have always felt that it was my calling to raise bees.  It will be my way to give back and thank Mother Earth for the gifts she has shared with me.

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Watch for more updates coming soon!!

And, always remember…

“Bee” the change you wish to see in the world!

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Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

♥Roda

 

For the Love of Brussels Sprouts

I have come to the realization, when I look back on my childhood, why I despised vegetables. Every meal was a collection of three things: red meat, mushy vegetables, and buttered bread.  Eating in general was a challenge for me.  I was one of those kids that had an aversion to texture. If my food had a funky feeling in my mouth, it wasn’t going down.  The hacking, coughing and gagging frustrated my mother to no end. Granted, my dog Tiffany loved that I hated vegetables. She sat at my feet, patiently waiting for the mushy veggies to be delivered from my crinkled napkin. She was the healthiest dog on the block!
I have to admit, it took me years to get over my vegetable issues. Don’t get me wrong, I would eat lettuce, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower… the normal choices. But, it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I really began to embrace the adventures of cooking and eating vegetables. Being an avid gardener, I was determined to grow them all and I became even more determined to find a way to make them taste delicious! Vegetables were put on this earth for a reason and I would learn to love each and every one of them.

Over the years, I conquered one vegetable at a time. In fact, to this day, there are only a few veggies that are not my favorites.  But, I have to admit, there was that one veggie that was a serious challenge…Brussels Sprouts.

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Keep in mind, it had nothing to do specifically with the vegetable and everything to do with my memories of it.  I am amazed how childhood experiences linger and play such a powerful role in decision-making, even as an adult.   When I think back, it seemed as though my Mother cooked these little “slime balls” weekly!   All I remember is that they were mushy and tasted like dirt. I swore, that when I was an adult, I would never eat Brussels Sprouts again…EVER!

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Well…A few years ago, I told Wifey I wanted to grow Brussels Sprouts. We had just been to a local Italian restaurant and had pasta with Brussels Sprouts.  I fell in love!!!   To top it off, I was intrigued by the artistic nature of this plant. Who doesn’t love a gardening challenge!

I could appreciate its beauty, therefore I had to learn to embrace its taste…but how!?  Then it came to me… There is only one simple ingredient that tastes outstanding with anything! Ready for it… Bacon! Once I fused these two beautiful souls together, my life would never be the same. In fact, I feel cheated out of so many years of not eating Brussels Sprouts. To this day, it is my goal in life to catch up on so many years lost. This little round globe of goodness brings joy to my heart, soul and tummy. Trust me on this one, if you struggle with this vegetable, give it one more try.

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I hope you enjoy this Brussels Sprout recipe as much as I do!  I am heading out to the garden, to pick a few stalks, this morning.  Brussels sprouts love the cold weather!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 T honey
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, cut in 1/2
  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped up in fine pieces
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees  Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil
  2. Whisk together the honey and 1 T of the balsamic vinegar.  Set aside
  3. Wash Brussels Sprouts and cut in 1/2.  Spread them in a single layer, onto the oiled baking sheet.  Add 2 T of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, bacon and minced garlic.  Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the honey mixture
  6. Serve immediately! YUM!

 

Sharing a little Brussels Sprout love from me to you…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

♥Roda