Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sweet Melissa, Raspberries and Honey

awwww my sweet melissa officinalis! harvested some this week and steeped 1 part of the lemon balm to 3 parts boiling water. this infusion can be strained and used for lovely teas, jellies, sorbets and other lovely things. i am just going to freeze some to use as i have the time and the inclination for using it in jellies. making lemon balm popsicle for those times when the kids are wild. lemon balm/melissa is a wonderful calming herb. humming the allman brothers song melissa all the while working with this lovely herb

raspberries are ripening daily now! washing, and then freezing them on trays to be put in bags in freezer to use later too. freezing them on the trays first keeps them from all sticking in a big clump in freezer bags. makes it convenient also, to just reach in the bag and take a handful as needed to add to fruit salads, etc. have the prince song raspberry beret flowing through my mind while harvest these berries!lol

checked the hives and found they are both ready for new honey supers. put one on the yellow hive and cobbling together the frames for the new one for the pink hive (the newest bees). the yellow hive had all their honey frames mostly capped. lovely white wax there! the pink hive honey super still hadn't finished capping their honey is why i chose to go ahead and put the prepared new box on the yellow hive. figured i still had a day or two to finish putting together this other box for the pink hive.

peeking down in between the frames i pull out i can usually get a good idea how many frames are already capped and if they are ready for a new super.

so what are you doing in your gardens dear friends? big hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Create Beauty in Many Corners of Your Home

do you create little vignettes around your home and gardens like i do? my friend linda, sent me this adorable little bunny and bud vase as part of my bday present. i just love them and decided to make this little garden bouquet right next to the stove to enjoy while cooking!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Indoor compost bin

i am rather new to composting. still always ready to learn more. i got my hubby to start putting our leaves, etc in a certain place at the back fence, but i want to get some sort of chicken wire bin made around it. i noticed last year that there really wasn't much going on with this assorted yard waste, and read about comfrey being used to accelerate composting. i ordered some plants and seeds and this year, i have started adding their older leaves to the pile, and raking them in and trying to turn this pile. must get a bit more arranged on it and then will post pics for you. but i have always wanted to know how to indoor compost also. i mean, kind of a pain to walk to the back fence for every eggshell, you know what i mean? so i saw this cool article at simple, green, frugal coop blog and i wanted to share it with you all in the hopes, some of you will find it useful also! thank you eileen for posting such a very good article. the video is wonderful! hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages!:)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Identifying Wildflowers and Wildlife

have you ever came across a wildflower, or bird, or other scene of nature and wondr to yourself what it is? well the enature fieldguide might just help! hugs :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bee Update and a Gift for you, Benign Neglect, and a new pet

well i did a brief check on the hives today. last weekend i gave the new hive, the pink one, its first honey super, and the yellow last year hive its second. the pink hive hasn't done much in theirs yet, but the yellow hive was pretty busy. no capped honey yet, though, so there is pleanty of time to put a third honey super on it.

i have a gift for you all. gerry at the global swarming honeybee blog has posted this link to some awesome bee pictures from around the world. browse the bees by topics such a queen, honey, apiculture at that link, and visit bees and bee keeper/honey gatherers at this link.

my friend at midwest green blog, and i were talking about bees and gardening and we both have alot on our plates anyway, and are both trying to live our lives as organically as we can. she came up with a cute phrase, benign neglect. neither one of us do things like pull up creeping charlie till he becomes too big of a pest, figuring he is a living mulch to keep tender plants warm and to help seeds germinate in the spring. and neither of us want to interfer too much with our bees lives. that is why this morning isn't too exciting to tell you about my inspection. i am not keeping bees for monetary gain. i just like bees and it is nice if i can get a bit of honey for family use and maybe a few gifts. so all i did this morning is smoke them slightly, take off their roofs and gently pull a few frames up a bit, just to make sure they still had plenty of work to do on the honey supers they have. then i just closed them up and left them be. i don't see the sense in me taking their houses apart and breaking into their most sacred areas, the brood chamber aka bee nursery, unless i really suspect a problem. i know i would take affront to a giant going in my nursery! bees have been about the business of being bees for eons and i really like that phrase "benign neglect". just a peek weekly and let them be bees! you know, i really don't want a swarm as it delays honey production by a month or so, but even swarms are useful and i give them my blessing if they choose to do so. swarms take the old bee with them, and alot of mites and other nasties too and gives a hive a new start, in a way, with a fresh queen and young blood so to speak. in the meantime, the most i need to do is to watch to see if they are filling their honey supers, or if they need another one and let them be! that is why we are so blessed to live in an age when we have access to the sites that gerry posted. we can see the intricacies that go on in the dark of the hive without having to stir up our own bees!lol big hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages :)
oh, btw, the little guy in the pic is my oldest son jesse's boy colin. he is showing off his very own first pet (the family has 3 cats and 2 dogs). meet bob (in honor of sponge bob) the beta! lol

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pocohontas, Chief Seattle and Sacagawea Meet Up

the kids had a great time at dickson mounds museum today. they especially enjoyed making their own indian village at the childrens interactive room. they had the coolest wooden figures to add. canoes, people, fires, beavers, tanning racks, just all sorts of cool pieces!

they even got a few presents from the gift shop so evan was transformed into chief seattle, taylor became sacagawea and lily became pocohontas!

well, i then brought the little indians to see the new disney/pixar movie Up and it was cute!
i wasn't overly enamored by the commercials for it (evan though i adore a good animated film), but i ended up really enjoying it also! the kids thought it was awesome and last i saw them today they were combining the explorer theme from the movie with the indian theme and had a cool camp site in their backyard!!lol
hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages

Whole Lotta Love!

there was a whole lot of love flying around yesterday when the cousins got together at the park. this pic is so cool. from left to right you can see dylan looking at me while petting ariana's head, lily holding him but looking at ariana, taylor holding ariana, my arm around taylor and lily, and then evan looking after colin! i felt so blessed!

just getting around to a project for this summer. evan, lily and taylor are ready to start their own

herb gardens. we have chosen catnips, chamomile
(otherwise known as flower tea with the kids),
chives (dubbed hotgrass) to start with. will post
pics as we get each area dug and planted!

today dylan and taylors other grandma has them, but evan, lily and i are going to go get taylor and visit our local native american museum Dickson Mounds .
these older kids deserve a cool fun day where they don't have to help watch little ones, as much as grandma does! In the afternoon we are going to the matinee and see the movie UP.
these three older kids are learning to be responsible not only for themselves, but the welfare of the younger kids, and our group as a whole. i am very proud of taylor and evan especially as they really help me out and are very responsible!
hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

$100 Giveaway from Home Depot hosted by Garden Chick

Karen, from Garden Chick is hosting a cool giveaway! She has a lovely home business with lovely and useful products you should check out! One of those lovely friends i met here at blogger who has interesting posts, a cool home based business, and is a real sweetheart! please check out her blog and enter to win a $100 gift card from Home Depot!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Spy Something Pink!

well steph at stephs cup of tea blog, has inspired us with the color pink for this week! thanks steph for inspiring us to appreciate the colors around us. in a bit of a rush so hopped over to my photobucket and grabbed some pinks to share with you. you will see granddaughter addison in her pink outfit from last weeks tumbling recital, lily sports a pink environmental shirt and hat and several pink flowers in the gardens! if i had more time just now i am sure i have lots more pink as it is one of our favorite colors that make us smile anytime. our family has always had alot of more boys born in it than girls so our girls are extra special and we revel in pink!! hugs to all