6.13.2012 Peas! In June!

Feed the horses.  Feed the chickens.  Muck the coop.  Muck the round pen.  Exercise Ophelia.  Cut two bolted lettuce plants and toss them to the chickens in the coop.  Notice they are having trouble with the new fencing set up.  They told me last week it was time for new grazing grounds so I moved their fence to the other side of the coop.  They now have to go out the main gate in the run, hang a sharp right and walk the length of the run down to the pasture behind the barn.  Chickens are not good with mazes.  Well, who knew?

Have breakfast.

Order borage and bee balm seeds. (Thought I had them.  Not!) Run the weed whacker around the garden.  Notice I have peas.  And voles.  I love peas.  I hate voles.  Voles!  Really?  As if the Bermuda grass wasn’t awful enough, swallowing the garden from the top and now voles gobbling up what’s below.

Remember I need to check on the bees.  My girls have been on the clover for the past week.  Walking through the pasture to get eggs is like standing next to an open beehive – there are that many of them and they are that loud.  I confess to hoping for a full honey super, but really expecting very little.

The orange hive (new one) has nearly filled the top brood box.  I put a queen excluder on them and gave them a honey super with 8 brand new frames.

The yellow hive (also new) was fully loaded.  The top brood box was so full of honey.  But it’s sugar water honey and there’s brood mixed in – not stuff I can extract.  I actually saw a drone emerging from his cell.  I saw a bee birth!  In yellow’s honey super, they have drawn out most of the comb and there is open honey in a few frames.  Not much, but they’ve made quite a start on the frames I gave them just 11 days ago.

In the green hive (old one), the honey super was nearly full of uncapped honey.  Still doesn’t weigh enough to be considered a finished honey super and I can’t take the honey off until they’ve sealed it.  (The bees still have to evaporate off some of the moisture and cap it before it’s finished honey and shelf stable for thousands of years.  Maybe next week.  We got a little bit of rain yesterday and the bees were still out on the clover today, though not as much as yesterday.  Don’t know whether that’s because I invaded their hives again and everyone was back repairing the damage or the clover is fading.  It’s not looking as good as it has been.  We’ve got a cool couple of days ahead.  Maybe it’ll be enough for the green hive to finish off that super.

I took the advice of a friend and wore the bee suit without work clothes underneath.  That gave me a little more room inside, but having the nylon mesh against my skin felt very weird. It’s scratchy.  However, when the breeze blew (and it blew a lot today) I got to appreciate the “ventilated” aspect to the suit.  Lovely.  Just lovely.

Take the muzzles off the horses.  Collect eggs.  Maybe the reason some yolks are pale is the chickens in the coop have so much shade.  There are some sunny areas in their pasture, but mostly they hang out beneath the honey locusts and maples behind the coop.  Pale yolks = Sunshine deficiency.  I wonder.  I kept the eggs separate so I can test my theory, but didn’t quite get to that.

Throw some frozen chicken carcasses, along with vegetable trimmings from yesterday’s dinner into the 12 quart canner to make some stock.  It needs herbs.  Grab the scissors and a bowl and go cut some parsley, oregano, marjoram and celery from the front flower bed.  It’s all from last year and has gone to seed.  The honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies are loving that stuff.  Then off to the garden to cut some 1st year celery and remember those peas.

Green things fresh from the garden with a puddle of Ranch dressing to do whatever it is ranch dressing does. I just like it that way.

Had to pick peas.  Over four pounds.  About half of that was a little long in the tooth and reached the point they’ll have to be shelled before eating.  But the other half was still young and tender and delicious.  Had a plate full for dinner along with some fresh picked broccoli.  Most of my broccoli has gone to flower, but I’ve left it because the bees seem to like broccoli too.

Put the horses up for the night and pickle two quarts of the young peas.  4 pounds is a lot for us to eat fresh.  As much as I love them, peas are difficult for me to digest, so I’m looking for ways to keep the harvest without using freezer space.  That way I don’t have to eat peas every day for a week and suffer the consequences. Pickled peas were very easy – just a cold brine poured over the peas, along with some garlic and dried chili peppers.  Put the jars in the fridge and wait for 2 weeks.

Put the stock in the oven on low overnight.  It’s not done and I am too tired to wait for it.  Busy day.


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