Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Name

letting you know that the title new beekeeping mistakes is being changed to comfrey cottages. when i first set this up for my friend and i, i never intended the new beekeeping mistakes to be the name of the blog. so fair warning , the change is afoot!!!LOL now that i have played around and actually figured out how to change it!! hugs :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

My family and wedding day

Saturday was a huge day for our family. My youngest son tommy got married! now the grandchildren i love and help care for that are from tommy's branch of the tree are alexis taylor age 12. alexis is tommy's stepdaughter from his first marriage. even though that marriage ended two years ago, alexis is still a huge part of our lives. and then we have dylan, age 1 year and 1 month. his parents, lisa and tommy were the newlyweds this weekend. we have included her 8 year old daughter taylor as our own since tommy and lisa first became a couple. all of us in our family are so very happy! now i have never posted a video before here at blogger, but thought it might be fun to post this cute video from the reception. the couple dancing is my son jesse and daughter in law fawn. they have given me arianna, 2 months old and colin age 2, as the darling grands from jesse's branch of our tree. you will also see my daughter (in a long red dress, glasses and short curly hair), michelle. she has blessed me with evan, age 8 and lily age 4. you will see evan dancing with dylan at the end of the video. michelle and chris live together. he has two boys breven age 8 and brodie age 12, and they too are in my granny/nanny group. taylor, is seen also, in a white dress, with red trim. so that is kind of a run down of my kids, and grandkids from my side of the family tree. now my hubby gerald, has four kids. and through birth or assimilation we have 8 grands on his side! so that makes a grand total of 17 folks! all the ones from my side of the tree i watch often and some daily. gerald's kids mainly live out of town so we don't get those grands as often, unfortunately. well, hope you enjoy this slice of my life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day everyone! Does anyone have anything special they are going to do today? What are some of the things you do to help world and her inhabitants on a regular basis? Today I am going to Lily's class to help it celebrate the day. I have Dylan, the 1 yr. old today also, so it should be a blast! Lily is in afternoon Little Learners, rather like the Headstart preschool program. I the school celebrates as a whole this friday. I was invited to bring in an observation hive and present a program about them three times for that day, but our whole family is just too tied up with the upcoming wedding that day! Bummer! Maybe I can do it next year!:) Big world hug to each of you who visit Comfrey Cottages! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dandelion Jelly

after my last post, sande asked me if i would post the dandelion jelly recipe i have. this is the one linda shared with me.

Dandelion JellyYou will need:2 C boiling water2 heaping cups of fresh dandelion petals (you'll need to gather about 4 cups whole flowers)1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice4 C sugar3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)We'll want just the dandelion petals for this - not the whole flower head. You'll get SOME green sepals. and that's fine - but try to minimize the amount of "green" and have mainly yellow petals for your infusion.Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 30 minutes to 24hours. I infused mine for about 2 hours - until the liquid was almost room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the infusion. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.To make the jelly, stir lemon juice (I actually used lime, because that's what I had on hand, and it worked quite nicely!) and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. it should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars.

i will probably do everything the same but use the powdered pectin instead, and use the amount of liquid from the steeped dandelions the package calls for. i seem to have better luck with it than the liquid pectin. now i haven't made this yet, it is in the plans for next week. if i get to it sooner i will post the pics and particulars of it, but for now expect that post next week. my youngest son tom is getting married this weekend, so we are all a bit busy!LOL:) anyone else make dandelion jelly?

Violets and Dandelions

Our weather is still erratic! Cold again, with rains and even hail yesterday! But, the violets and dandelions are still up and don't you think violet and yellow together are so pretty? The children and i managed to take advantage of the decent weather on saturday and harvested many of both. we also dug some of each for transplanting to other spots. my brother wanted some of the white with violet edged violets and i am going to start a dandelion bed in my gardens! yup you heard me right, a dandelion bed! not only does their color please me, bees love it, i use the dandelion root dried for teas,eat their leaves and fry their heads!lol going to make some dandelion jelly soon also. so thanks to help of my little helpers we harvested enough for both some violet jelly and some fried dandelion heads saturday nite. yum! the boy in the pictures is my 8 year old grandson evan, my daughter michelle's boy. hugs all around!:)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

beautiful spring

yesterday was such a bummer, but trying to look forward and enjoy what DID survive the winter. i have been studying and using herbs for medicinal reasons for a few years now, so last year add some medicinal plants to my yard plantings. my yard is in town, and even though we have a lot and a half, very limiting. that and the fact we have 2 huge maple trees in the front yard (west),

another hanging over the fence beside the driveway(north) front yard side of house, 3 maples in the back yard (east side of house), more trees from the neighbors yard on the north side of back yard also. and to the south we have a white pine tree! so a bit like gardening in a woods. not lots of sunny spots. i also enjoy culinary herbs, do a bit of planting for hummingbirds, and squeeze in as many veggies and fruits throughout the yard. i thought it might be nice to share my happy winter survival pics with you this bright and cheery thursday. off to a neat class about herbs tonight! the pic with no name stone is black cohosh! pretty psyched about that! of course the other untitled one is violets. two years ago i started transplanting wild violets all around our little pond area. will post pics when they are all up, it is quite gorgeous. the chives,lemon balm,catnip,sweet william,sedums, hollyhocks, st johns wort, butterfly weed, lavender, feverfew, rue, wormwood, elecampane,horseradish, strawberries,raspberries,horehound, spiderwort,bleeding hearts, lily of the valleys, hyacinth, yarrows, vervains, dandelions, evening primrose,russian sage and some other things are all growing too. waiting to see if the grapevine i put in last year made it, also the new blueberry bush.
here is the publicity blurb for the event tonight!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

more pics from the poor deadout pink hive

just thought i would share a few more pics from the pink hive. in the one you will see lots of little bee butts sticking up from the cells. you typically see this in hives that have starved out. little beasties just dying while trying to find food. but in the other pics you will see there was just tons of honey, both uncapped and capped still in the hive! another indication that this poor little community had just lost too many members to keep warm enough to even search around their own town for food. so sad! trying to focus on the positive that at least the yellow hive is strong. also, to be thankful for all the plants that are emerging in the garden!

pollen and honey galore

i was feeling so blue when i posted about the pink hive and in a hurry too! i am a granny/nanny to lily, who is 4, (she gets on bus at noon at my house, and gets off bus at 3, at her mom's house, where her brother,evan age8 also gets off bus at same time), so there is always precious little time for any intense things other than children!lol i had discovered the deadout about 1:30 and hurriedly posted about it before i had to dash to my daughters to meet the bus. now that i am back home i thought to share with you some more pics. these frames were in the pink hive. on them you can see there was lots of fresh uncapped honey they had made during the last warm spell, plus lots of pollen had been coming in. the orangeish looking cells are where the pollen is, the sparkley, watery looking ones is the fresh uncapped honey, and the solid looking spots on the pic with the pollen and also of a whole frame, is capped honey. so you see, these bees were being productive during the last warm spell we had and did have a chance if not for that freaky wet and freezing spell we are just coming out of. just thought to show you what nice frames there were in that hive. the pollen would have been used to make the larvae bees beebread, so makes me sure the queen was viable during the last warm spell. well as my friend jennifer says, we can just learn from this and be thankful the yellow hive is strong. by the way, the yellow hive is not mourning their neighbors loss at all!lol the bees you see in the picks are from that hive, merrily robbing the pink hives frames!lol hugs all around!

the bad and the good

wow, i have suspected that maybe our last wet/freezing spell might have done in the pink hive, and i was right:( could have just cried when i opened it today. right away i saw one of the blasted wax moths in it and then i started pulling frames. it was weird and spooky too, just like walking through a ghost town. here and there on some of the frames i saw bees that were dead, but buried up head first in empty cells. there was still alot of honey in the box though. i wonder if their just got to be too many of them to stay warm. found two seperate clusters of dead bees that were just absolutely gross as mold had grown on them. sad as hell and i am sure bummed. i had fretted and worried about this hive all winter. there was pollen already brought in too which makes it doubly sad. if we hadn't had this last bad freezing spell and it would have stayed warm, they might have been able to build back up strong. the good news is the yellow hive is still strong so i went ahead and put a honey super on it. last year i didn't put the supers on until may and i ended up with a swarm from my strongest hive. really sucks i am down to one hive. thank heavens i ordered a new nuc to be delivered the first weekend in may. for those that have been following my blog. i want to reiterate, if you start with used equipment, please make sure and make it as water tight as possible. i have a feeling that this poor pink hive had a disadvantage all winter from water getting in and weakening their numbers in late fall. the less bees in the hive going into winter, the less chances they will be able to stay warm and survive. this winter was a very hard one and i think these poor girls just had the odds against them all along. darn this last late freezing spell though, i think they would have still had a chance if the weather would have held this month. but ultimately i have to blame myself :(

Thursday, April 2, 2009


for those of you who follow my blog i must apologise for being such a novice to this site. if you care to, please take a peak at the older blogs. i just realized today that i was posting each new thing as its own blog and you couldn't follow them if you were linked to this original. so imported the few older things i had posted seperately, by mistake. i'm learning still! lol hugs to all