Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tea Time Mints


The three plants pictured are all mints. Applemint is to the left and has an intense flavor of a Granny Smith apple. The middle mint is lemon balm which tastes like lemonade and is often used as an ice cream flavoring. Catnip is pictured on the right. Most people think catnip is just for cats, but the mint also makes an excellent tea. I stored all of these mints by freezing the leaves in ice cube trays.

Mint is a common weed but can easily been identified by the opposite leaves and the strong minty odor when crushed. According to Greek mythology, Minthe was a nymph who was transformed into an herb by Pluto’s wife, who was jealous of her. Mint is the symbol of hospitality was mentioned by Ovid when two peasants, Baucis and Philemon scoured their serving board with mint before feeding guests. (The Complete Book of Herbs-1988)

In England, before the discovery of black tea in Asia, most tea was made from catnip. In the area where I live, the mint is sometimes used as a common remedy for infants with colic. I drink catnip at night to help relax and go to sleep. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

September Food List


I’m becoming more lax about what I’m eating. For the month of October, I’ve decided to go off of my food challenge temporarily. I have proved to myself that eating primarily food grown by me is possible and is much more cost efficient than buying food. Growing my own food is possibly even less time consuming than buying it, if shopping and the amount of time to earn money for food is factored into the equation.

Here is the majority of the list. It does not include the lemonade that I drink at work or the herbal teas that I drink from the apple mint, catnip and lemon balm from my herb garden. For the days not included in this list, I ate whatever I felt like.   

1st - 2 ears corn, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2tsp garlic, 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: biscuit)
3rd - 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c potatoes, 3 eggfrtst, 1/3 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
4th - 1/8c green peppers, 4 cherry tomatoes, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/3 spritz, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1/2 pot coffee
5th - 1tbs green peppers, 1/4c tomatoes, 2c squash (fried), 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc goat cheese,  1/4 bread, 1/4 spritz, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
6th - 1tbs green peppers, 1/4c tomatoes, 2c squash (fried), 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1/2 pot coffee
7th - 7sm pancakes, syrup, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee, (work: fried trout, potatoes, hushpuppies)
8th - 2 ears corn, 1c squash (fried), 1tbs green peppers, 1/4c tomatoes, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
9th - 1/2c blueberry syrup, 1c blackberries, 1c raspberries, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 2tbs sugar, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: hushpuppies, grilled cheese)
10th - (js cafeteria: whitefish, potatoes, mac&cheese, hushpuppies, cheese cake) (blue rooster: chicken sandwich, fries, onion rings)
12th - 1/2c raspberries, 1-1/2c zucchini (fried), 1tbs green peppers, 1/4c tomatoes, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc goat cheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: biscuit)
14th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1tbs green peppers, 1/4c tomatoes, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc goat cheese, 1/3 bread, 1tbs butter
15th - 1-1/2c potatoes, garlic, 1 ear corn, lemon balm, 1 eggscr, 1/3 bread, 1/8 pound cake, 1bs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: biscuit)
16th - 1-1/2c potatoes, garlic, 3/4c carrots (boiled), 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee (work: catfish, potatoes, hushpuppies)
17th - cracker barrel
18th - 1c corn, 1/4c tomato, 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1/2 pot coffee (school: 6 vanilla oreo cookies)
20th - 1c corn, 1/4c tomatoes, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc goat cheese, 1/2 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1/2 pot coffee
21st - 1/3c blueberry syrup, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter (work: fries)
22nd - 1/3c swiss chard (saute), 1c bush bean, 1c corn, 1/4c tomatoes, 3 eggscr, 1tsp goat cheese, 1med tortilla, 1tbs butter, 2 tbs sugar, 2 pots coffee (work biscuit, vanilla cookies)
23rd - 1/3c tomato sauce, basil, 1c corn, 1/8c green peppers, ), 2 eggscr, 1/4c goat cheese, 2med tortillas (homemade pizza, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter (work: onion rings)
26th - 1c bush beans, 1/3c blueberry syrup, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: 1 eggfried, hashbrowns, biscuit)
28th - (Ben's: 1/2c carrots, 1/3c broccoli, 1/2 ear corn) 1/4c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs goat cheese, 1/4 bread,(Ben's: 1/4c rice) 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
29th - 1/4c tomatoes, 1/3c swiss chard (saute), 3 eggomlt, 1tbs goat cheese, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee (work: trout, potatoes, hushpuppies)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Children of the Corn


Recently I froze 10 pints of corn for the winter. I love fresh sweet corn.  If it is a hot day, the corn can almost be eaten raw. All and all, picking, shucking, scrubbing, blanching, cutting, and storing the corn took about 3-1/2hrs. I was also watching my two young nephews at the time, so it isn’t such a labor intensive or time consuming project. I think it is important that adults model to children how to grow vegetables and take care of animals. Growing and storing food is becoming a lost skill, and we as a people are becoming too distant from what we are putting into our bodies.

There are several challenges with growing corn. The weather can be problematic because corn needs quite a bit of water. It is also susceptible to hail damage and high winds. If corn plants are not planted at a proper distance from each other, pollination will be splotchy. Usually the corn always has some earworms, but this year I didn’t see any of the caterpillars. Finding an earworm in an ear of corn is not a big deal because they usually eat just a few kernels. I remember my dad used to say, “If the bugs don’t even want to eat a plant, do you really want to eat it?” This was his argument against using pesticides on vegetables. There were a couple corn plants that had corn smut, which is a type of fungus. Corn smut is routinely used in authentic Mexican dishes and is called huitacoche. It grows best when the weather is abnormally dry. The fungus infects the corn by entering the ovaries and replaces the kernels with large tumors that resemble small greyish black mushrooms. It is said to taste sweet and is used in quesadilla fillings and soups.

Corn is one of the most filling foods I grow, but it isn’t particularly nutritious. In the area where I live, a popular way to eat corn is something called hominy and is usually eaten as whole kernels. I’m not sure of the whole process to making hominy, but I know the kernels are soaked in lye, which breaks down the outer part of the kernel. Adding an alkali solution to corn is called nixatamalization. By treating the corn with a lye solution, it makes the niacin available for us to use in our bodies. There is a risk of developing a disease called pellagra if niacin is deficient from the diet. The symptoms are classified by the “four D’s”: diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death. During the early 20th century, the disease was common among poor southerners, and it was thought that it was caused by a toxin in the corn because of the correlation between high corn consumption and a high prevalence of pellagra. The reason for the correlation was the corn was generally eaten in the form of grits or corn meal and not as hominy. Now our corn products are fortified with niacin, so pellagra is virtually non-existent in most developed countries. 

August Food List


Here is my list of most of the food I ate during the month of August. I have been drinking lemonade at work because it seems to prevent sugar lows. I also ate an order of onion rings because all of the customers who try them have told me they are the best they have ever eaten. The onion rings were great, but I had a terrible gallbladder attack later that night. It is strange to think that I used to have gallbladder pain on a regular basis and I took the pain as normal. Since I started this food challenge, I haven’t had much pain at all, not with acid reflux or gallbladder. I’m saving a ton of money every month just by not having to purchase Prilosec and herbal remedies.  

1st - 1/2c tomato (diced) 1med squash (1 c slices), 1tbs green pepper, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/6c rice, 1/4 bread, 1-1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
2nd - 1tbs green peppers, 1c green beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
3rd - final exam day didn't keep track slept most of the day
4th - 2 lg potatoes, 2 ears corn, 2 fried trout, (work: hushpuppies), 2tbs butter
5th - 1c raspberries, 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c zucchini (slices), 1/2c tomatoes (diced-saute), 3 eggfrtst, 1/3 bread, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
6th - 1-1/2c raspberries, 2 strawberries, 1 ear corn, 1/2c tomatoes (raw), 1/4c zucchini (baked chips), 3/4c cucumber, lemon balm, 1/2fried trout, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, (zaxby's with Josh: chicken fingers, fries, toast, mr pibb)
7th - 2 ear corn, 1/2c tomatoes, lemon balm 3 eggscr, 1-1/2fry trout, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
8th - 1 grape, 1c homemade vegetable juice (carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers), 1c fried squash, 2 ears corn, 1/2tbs garlic, 1/3c tomato, apple mint, 3 eggscr, 1/2tbs butter
9th - 1c vegetable juice (carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers), 2c fried squash, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/8 pound cake, 1-1/2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
10th - 1/2tsp garlic, 1c potatoes, 1/3c tomato (slices), 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: fried trout, potatoes, hushpuppies)
12th - 1/4c raspberries, 2 ears corn, 1c potatoes, 1/2tsp garlic, 2c squash-zucchini (slices fried), 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
13th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 2c cucumber (slices), 1/8c green pepper (first this year), 1/2c tomato (diced), 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/3 spritz, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: catfish, hushpuppies, potatoes)
14th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2tsp garlic,  1/2c cucumber, 1/8c green pepper, 1/2c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2 spritz, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
15th - 1/4c strawberry syrup, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/8 pound cake, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: hushpuppies)
16th - 2-1/2c zucchini (fried slices), 1/4c carrots, 3/4c bush beans, 1/8c green pepper, 1/3c tomato, 1 ear corn, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp honey, 1-1/2 pot coffee
18th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2c tomatoes (diced), 1/8c green peppers, 3 eggomlt, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp honey, 1-1/2pot coffee
19th 1-1/2c potaoes, 1/2tsp garlic, 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: onion rings)
20th - 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter (work: fried trout, potatoes, hushpuppies)
22nd - 1-1/2c raspberries, 1/3c tomatoes, 1/8c green peppers, lemon balm tea, 3 eggscr, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
23rd - 1c tomatoes (raw), 3/4c carrots, 1/8c green peppers, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/2tbs butter
24th - 1/4c raspberry syrup, 2c zucchini (fried), 3 eggfrtst, 1/3 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
25th - 1-1/2 potatoes, 1/2c tomatoes (sau), 1c squash (sau), 1/4c green peppers (sau), 2 ears corn, 1/4 bread, 2-1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: 2 eggfried, hashbowns, biscuit)
26th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2tsp garlic, 2 ears corn, 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
29th - 2 ears corn, 1/4c tomatoes (diced), 1tbs green peppers, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: hushpuppies)
30th - 1 ear corn, 1/2c cucumber (slices), 1-1/2c squash (fried), 1/4c tomatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/3 bread, 2tbs butter
31st - 1-1/2 ears corn, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/4c tomatoes, 1tbs green peppers, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc goat cheese, 1/4 bread, 3tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls NC

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.” Thoreau

This is typically my motto for nearly everything I do.

When it comes to hiking, I’m very slow because I like to look at all the plants and fungi along the trail. I don’t hike to reach the top of a mountain or to achieve some personal goal. I hike to enjoy the walk itself and to see what I can see. I tend to be easily distracted, so it would probably annoy most people to hike with me. To save everyone the trouble of following me on the road less traveled, I tend to hike alone. For my most recent hike, I made an exception to my rule and had a great time.   

A few weeks ago, a friend invited me to attend a native flower identification workshop. It was given by one of the most well-known botanists in western NC so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. After the workshop, Josh and I went to Gorges State Park in Transylvania County to look at a few waterfalls. We wound up hiking a short trail to Rainbow Falls. I haven’t been hiking much this summer because I was sick, working and taking an Organic Chemistry class. It felt great to finally stretch my legs on the 1.5mi hike to the falls. The trail was marked strenuous and it took us about 1hr30min for the whole 3mi. We stopped and looked at any plants which were interesting. It was wonderful to hike with someone who knew enough about plants to be able to carry on a conversation. There are not many people who are interested in learning just for the sake of learning.

I have read conflicting data on how high Rainbow Falls actually is, so I used the boy on the left as a reference and came up with 150ft from where the highest point of the falls to the pool. The boy didn’t jump in, even though he was being egged on by a couple of other boys. I think he was the smart one of the three because the water was very powerful that day due to a recent storm. Josh and I didn’t take the trail to the top of the falls, but apparently there is a pool at the top beneath another waterfall. Several people have gotten caught up in the current and have lost their lives by being swept over Rainbow Falls.

I found out that the name, Rainbow Falls, comes from the fact that during certain times of the day the falls have a rainbow. The river is called Horsepasture and has many other falls, such as the small one in the picture below which is named Hidden Falls.

Hidden Falls NC
     

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Overgrown Garden

Neglected Garden
Here are some pictures of the overgrown and slightly neglected garden. The weeds have gotten a little bit out of control, but I still managed to harvest a lot of food today. I dug up half a row of potatoes, picked one-quarter bushel of beans, unearthed several carrots, shucked a couple ears of corn and collected two cups of raspberries.

Neglected Corn


My goal is to plant cold-hardy plants where the bush beans were, so I will probably plant spinach, swiss chard and broccoli. So far, the cucumbers and sunflowers are not doing well. The yellow-squash and zucchini have taken over much of the garden. Some of the tomatoes are showing blight, but I try to take care of it by cutting off any part of the plant which appears diseased. The raspberries have been the most impressive because they are the earliest to fruit and will be the last to die off. I ate the first ripe grape today and it tasted terrible because it was so sour. The carrot crop has been the best vegetable this year and has not fallen prey to insects or disease. I have also had a lot of luck with the potatoes. The cabbage didn't fair too well this year, but I don't like cabbage anyway.

July Food List

Sorry, I haven't been very successful this month in keeping up with my challenge. I didn't record several days and I think I missed writing down absolutely every single morsel of food. My eating was not out of control on the days without an entry, though. I also didn't have a single day off from both work and school for the entire month of July. I took an Organic Chemistry class and lab this summer. I attended my class reunion where I ate factory farmed meat and on some days I chose to eat at work because I had very little time to prepare my food. The main addition has been adding corn meal/flour to my food list. Since I have only used a couple tablespoons of vinegar for the past seven months, it is a food which should be taken off my list. I use corn meal/flour to fry fish and squash. It is also used to make hushpuppies, which appears frequently on this month's list :)

You will notice that I ate ice cream and shakes. The reason for that was more of an issue with having such a bad sore throat from mono and nothing else helped. I have never been in so much pain from an ear ache and sore throat in my entire life. I had to take Tylenol daily for a couple of weeks to alleviate some of the pain. It was very frustrating for me because normally I never take any medication. A lot of people gave me advice about what to do, but they were not in my situation.

1st - 1/2c strawberries, 1c potatoes, 1 scallion, 3 eggsr, 1/2 spritz, 1tsp honey
2nd - 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c peanut beans, 1sm carrot, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/4 spritz, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
3rd - 1c raspberries, 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 3tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
5th- 2c peanut beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
6th - 2c potatoes, 1c sugar snap peas, 3eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter
7th - 1/2c raspberries, 1c potatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
8th - 1/2c blackberries, 1/8c green peppers, 3eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 2tsp honey
9th - pizza, oreos, milk
10th - 1c sugar snap peas, 1c carrots, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 2 cherry tomatoes, 3 eggomlt, 1/4c ground goat meat, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/3c rice, 1/4 pound cake, 1/2tbs butter, 2tbs sugar, 2 pot coffee
11th - (sm bowl leftover goat-rice stew) 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 pound cake (sonic: oreo blast)
12th - 1/2c blueberries, 2 strawberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 pound cake, 1/2tbs butter
14th - 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c carrots, 1c potatoes, 1tbs onions, 2 eggfrtst, 1(dbl yolk) eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1-1/2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
15th - 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c applesauce, 1c peanut beans, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/4 spritz, 1/2tbs butter
17th- 1-1/2c peanut beans, 1/8c green peppers, 2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1/4 spritz, 1 tbs butter, at work: (grill trout, 1c mashed potatoes, vegetarian gravy, 1c apples, 2 hush puppies)
18th - 1/8c green peppers, 2 cherry tomatoes, 1tbs onion, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/3 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee, (mini sonic oreo blast for sore throat)
19th - 1/8c green peppers, 2 cherry tomatoes, 1tbs onion, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee work: (grill trout, 1c green beans, potatoes, hushpuppies)
20th - 1/2c strawberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 1 cherry tomatoes, 1tbs onion, 1tbs garlic, lemon balm tea, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter
21st - 1/2c raspberries, 1-1/2c bush beans, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1tbs onion, lemon balm tea, 3 eggscr, 1/4 spritz, 1tbs butter, 1/2c honey (mine- 1 frame extraction somewhat minty flavor)
22nd - 1-1/2c bush beans, 2sm carrots, 1/4c tomatoes, 1tbs green peppers, carrot top, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/3c goat meat, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1/4 spritz, 2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1tsp honey, 2 pot coffee, work: (sm choc birthday cake piece, chair lift: 1dr pepper)
24th - (bad ear ache and sore throat difficult to swallow) 1/4c blueberry syrup, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter
25th - 1c cucumber,3/4c zucchini, 1/4c tomato, 1tbs green pepper, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee, (sonic: ice cream for sore throat)
26th - 1sm zucchini (1-1/2c slices fried canola, egg, corn meal) 1/4c tomato, 1tbs green pepper, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gc cheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee,  (work: grill trout, mashed potatoes, hushpuppies)
27th - 1 tomato (1/3c) 1sm zucchini saute (3/4c), 1-1/2c potato, 2 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (dairy queen: choc shake for sore throat)
28th - HS reunion ate a lot of various meats
29th - 2c potatoes, 1/8c onion, 1med zucchini (fried w/ corn meal), 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
30th-31st- didn't keep track

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Colored Pencil Sketch

Since this is my blog and I can write whatever I want to, all of you will be subject to my new found discovery of photoshop. Look at how I made the photo from Ghost Town into a black and white colored pencil sketch :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ghost Town in Maggie Valley


Look at that view!

I took this picture from the chairlift at Ghost Town amusement park in Maggie Valley, NC. The park has been closed for many years but was bought by a local millionaire a few months ago and partially reopened. Ghost Town isn’t completely restored, and the only rides available are a zipline and chairlift. The chairlift has always been the best ride at the park because the view is amazing. It cost $16 for the ride to the top of the mountain. There were a few games and a guided tour by actors who told us the future plans for the park. If you are in western North Carolina, it is definitely worth it to drive to Maggie Valley and ride the chairlift at Ghost Town.   


Monday, July 23, 2012

Best Tasting Honey in the World


I pulled a frame of honey out of one of my hives on Saturday. The frame was 100% capped honey, which means the water content was low enough to be able to pull that frame out and harvest the honey. The rule I have heard is that if the frame is 75% capped, it is ready to be packaged. Anything less than that and the honey will have too much water which will cause it to ferment. The bees had filled the second super completely and the frame was the one on the edge. I was so excited about it that I basically knocked the bees off by hitting the wood frame quickly on a cement block. The motion caused all of the bees to drop off at once. I put the top on and walked briskly back to the house. There were a few that died as a result of when I used the hive tool to pull the frame out, but there will always a few crushed bees whenever the hive is opened.

I wasn’t prepared to take honey today, so I had nothing set-up for extraction. Since this honey is only for my personal use, I didn’t bother to use a double strainer. I like little bits of wax and pollen in my honey because it gives it more flavor. When I sell honey to customers I will strain out much more of the wax and pollen because I think people like clear honey.

The top picture shows how the frame looks when it is completely capped. There is some honey dripping from where the hive tool broke open the wax caps. If I would have been more careful, then entire frame would be one sheet of capped honey without any of the sticky sweet substance dripping on the counter. To get the wax cappings off, I used something called a capping knife which looks like a large bread knife except for the fact that both sides are serrated and the end is slightly curved upward. Since the temperature was in the mid-80s, the honey flowed easily out of the cells, through a sieve and into a large mixing bowl. I had a yield of a little over one quart jar of liquid honey.

I’m not sure if it is only because I have put a lot of time and work into having honey bees or if this is really the best tasting honey in the world. I can only describe it as having a slightly minty flavor. There were several cells of capped pollen. I tried one and it had an intense honey flavor with a grainy texture. I have heard that people eat them for their health benefits. Looking at the capped pollen, each one of them has distinct layers from when an individual honey bee brought back full pollen sacks and deposited them in the cell. It is extraordinary how much work was done to produce just one of those cells of pollen or and the bees have capped tens of thousands of them already this year. 




Friday, July 20, 2012

June Food List

Here is my long awaited food list for June. I bought bee supplies on the 29th and visited with a friend, so we ate at a restaurant. Since starting this project, I have become so aware of factory farmed meat that I have little desire to eat it. Fish is a much healthier option than other meats, and I don't consider hatcheries to be factory farms.  


1st - didn't keep track
2nd - 1c strawberries, 3 eggfrtst, 1/3 bread, , 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey,1 pot coffee
3rd - 1c strawberries, 1c blueberries, 1c sugar snap peas, 2-1/2c potatoes, 1scallion,  1 eggom, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1/2tsp sugar, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
4th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2c sugar snap peas, 2sm carrots, 2 scallions, 2 eggscr,  1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
5th - 1c strawberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1 scallion, 3 eggscr, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
6th - 1/2c strawberry syrup, 1/4c blueberries, 4 raspberries,  1tbs garlic, 1c sugar snap peas, 3 eggfrtst, 1/2 bread, 2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
7th - 1/2c blueberries, 1sm carrot, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
8th - 6 raspberries, 1c blueberry syrup, 1c sugar snap pea, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/4 pound cake, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
9th - 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
10th - 1c strawberries, 1c blueberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1 tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
11th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1sm carrot, 1/2 carrot top, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
12th - 1 blackberry, 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1c sugar snap pea,  1/2c potatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/3 spritz, 1/2tbs butter
13th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c sugar snap peas, 1/8c green peppers, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/2 spritz, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
14th - 1/2c blueberries, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
15th - 3 blackberries, 1/2c blueberry syrup, 3 eggcr, 1/2 bread, 1/2tbs butter, (burned roof of mouth with blueberry syrup left a blister ordered 1sm chocolt blizzard and 1 med cherry berry)
16th - 2 blackberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1c sugar snap peas,  1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/2 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
18th - 1c blueberries, 2c potatoes, 3eggsscr, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
19th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1/2c strawberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1/3c tomato, 3eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
20th -  1/8c green peppers, 1/3c tomato, 3eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
21st - 1/2c blackberries, 1c strawberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1c blueberries, 1/2c blueberry syrup, 1c sugar snap peas, 1c potatoes, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
22nd - cough drops, 1c blueberries, 1c raspberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1scallion, 1/2c potatoes, catnip tea, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 4tbs honey
23rd - (bad sore throat) cough drops, lemon tea, 1c raspberries, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 2tbs honey
24th - cough drops, 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c sugar snap peas, 1sm carrot, 1c peanut beans, 2 eggfrtst, 2 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 2tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
25th - (no taste) 1/4c dried blueberries, 1c blueberries, 1c blackberries, 1/2tsp garlic, 1/8c green peppers, 1sm carrot, 1c peanut beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
26th - (no taste) 1/2c sugar snap peas, 1/2tsp garlic, 2 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
27th - (no taste) 1c raspberries, 1/2c sugar snap peas, catnip tea, 2 eggscr, 1/3 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
28th - (no taste) 3/4c raspberries, 2sm carrots (.75x3in), 1/2 c sugar snap peas, 2eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter
29th - pear, hashbrowns, 1 biscuit, gravy (powder-water based), chocolate ice cream bar, salmon, rice, baked potato, butter, avacado, tomato, corn
30th - 1c raspberries, 2c potatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 1c peanut beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/5 bread, 1/4 spritz, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mono

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. According to a blood test I took on Monday, it appears that I have mono. I have been so tired and I have a sore throat. Hopefully, I will be back to writing again soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Hives


Last Sunday I got another hive of bees. The hive on the right is my new hive. Since this picture was taken, it now has a medium super on it painted lavender-quartz. I’m going to paint all of my brood boxes and supers in pastels.

I now have two races of bees. The Carniolans are on the left and the Italians are on the right. I find it interesting that the first honeybees brought over in the 1630 were German black bees. It wasn’t until 1859 when Italian queens were imported to America. Nowadays, the Italians are the most common race of bees kept by beekeepers. Carniolans were imported in 1870 from Yugoslavia and Austria. The two races look a little different with the Italians being more golden in color.  

Sometimes it is necessary to combine hives when one hive is weak and another is strong. The best way to do that is to place several frames of bees on top of another hive and separate the bees using newspaper sprayed with sugar water. In a few days, the bees from the other hive will chew through the newspaper and by that time the pheromones from the queen will be in control of them. It doesn’t matter if the worker bees are from different races because a worker bee is a worker bee regardless if it is an Italian or Carniolan.  

The following list was given out when I attended beekeeping classes:

Italian Honeybees Advantages:
Compact brood
Excellent foragers
Easy to obtain
Most of the time gentle and calm
Light in color making the Queen easier to locate
Disadvantages:
Slightly smaller cell size
Short distance foragers
Susceptible to many diseases and pests
Bees may enter the winter with too much brood, not enough honey

Carniolan Honeybees Advantages:
Rapid population buildup in early spring
Exceptionally gentle and less prone to sting
Few brood diseases
Disadvantages:
Tend to swarm
Broodnest depends on pollen supply
Dark queen is difficult to locate

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Slop Bucket


Do you know what happens to the food you don’t eat at a restaurant? If you happen to be eating at a small non-chain restaurant in a rural area, the leftovers probably go into a slop bucket. The food is saved for someone who picks it up every couple of days and uses it to feed their pigs. The leftovers are not given to a large factory farm, but to an individual with a few pigs.

“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals” - Sir Winston Churchill

The average American eats approximately 50lbs of pork every year. More than likely, that pork originates from a factory farm where the pigs are housed in gestation crates for their entire lives. Know where your food comes from, there are plenty of youtube videos about the horrors that take place on factory farms. 

All of the following rules and definitions come from: Volume 1, Title 9, Chapter 1, Part 166.1-167.10 of the Code of Federal Regulations:

According to the FDA, the food in the slop bucket is not fit for the consumption of swine. It is cooked food that is off limits for the pigs unless it is re-cooked for 30min. In many states (Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin) feeding any garbage to swine is completely prohibited, but in the state of NC feeding of re-cooked garbage is permissible.

What is garbage?

Garbage – All waste material derived in whole or in part from the meat of any animal (including fish and poultry) or other animal material, and other refuse of any character whatsoever that has been associated with any such material, resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking or consumption of food, except that such term shall not include waste from ordinary household operation which is fed directly to swine on the same premises where such household is located.

In other words, it is illegal for you to give your own neighbor table scraps for their hogs. I like how meat is referred to as “material” and the other food which may have been associated with the “material” is called “refuse of any character whatsoever.” It sounds like a strange insult to food or something you say to your children about not associating with those other children who have a refuse character.

Who is responsible for the refuse of any character whatsoever that has been associated with any such material?

Any operator, manager or person in charge of a restaurant, café, boardinghouse, school, hospital, or other public or private place where food is served to persons other than members of the immediate family or nonpaying guests of such operator, manager, or person in charge, shall not allow or permit garbage to be removed from the premises thereof unless the person removing said garbage is in possession of a valid garbage-feeding permit issued by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or unless such person removing said garbage is in possession of a document from the county department of health wherein such garbage located stating that the person removing said garbage is authorized to dispose of such garbage n a legal manner or unless such person removing said garbage is an employee of a municipality engaged in the regular collection of garbage for said municipality.

First of all, whoever wrote this should receive some kind of longest sentence award. According to this rule, it seems that if you have a large party at your house and charge a small fee for a food bill, and happen to produce “said garbage” then allow one of your guests to take leftovers home, you may be in violation of the law. It also seems less illegal if someone simply steals the “refuse of any character whatsoever that has been associated with such material” than it is for them to politely ask for the “said garbage.” I see nothing in the rules which states stealing garbage is illegal; therefore, it must not be illegal because if it were it would clearly be written in a statement like:

“If any such individual is apprehended while displacing the said garbage from the premises of a restaurant, café, boardinghouse, school, hospital or other public or private place where food is served to persons other than members of the immediate family or nonpaying guests then the said individual will face charges under penalty of law (Volume 8 pg. 3849.7 Bureaucratic Nonsense, 1984, c.834, s. 8).”

I will give the writer of the law an A+ for making up the most extravagant job description for garbage men I have ever read. Maybe if I ever happen to have a job as a garbage woman, I will write down my previous experience as:

I was previously employed by a municipality engaged in the regular collection of refuse of any character and material. I was also authorized to dispose of the said refuse and material in a legal manner. 

I find it funny that nickname for the government “Uncle Sam” originated from a pork packer.

During the War of 1812, a New York pork packer named Uncle Sam Wilson shipped a boatload of several hundred barrels of pork to U.S. troops. Each barrel was stamped "U.S." on the docks. The "U.S." stood for "Uncle Sam" whose shipment seemed large enough to feed the entire army. This is how "Uncle Sam" came to represent the U.S. Government.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Say Tomato

First Tomato of the Year

This is a picture of my first tomato for this year. It is from a plant that was purchased at a flea market in Pickens, SC about a month ago. I kept in on the porch in a pot as an experiment to see if it would grow better, but it is still unhealthy and only produced two tomatoes. I put ashes on the leaves as a deterrent against aphids which actually seemed to work.  

Tomatoes originated in South America and the word “tomato” is Native American which translates to “the swelling fruit.” I have always associated tomatoes with Italian food, so I assumed it was from Europe. What did the Italians use for pasta sauce before tomatoes were introduced?

Prior to starting this project, I probably ate a tomato-based product nearly every day. Americans must consume a tremendous amount of tomatoes in ketchup, sauces, soups and drinks. In 2009 approximately 150 million tons of tomatoes were produced with 35% being grown in the US. I have used the one ripe tomato for the past three days in omelets. Hopefully, I will have enough tomatoes this year to be able to can sauce.

Row of Tomatoes
Here is an excerpt from Foxfire:

Esco Pitts: I never saw a tomato till I was ten or twelve years old. My daddy wouldn’t hardly go to the table if there was a tomato on there. He said they wasn’t a hog would eat’em and he wasn’t going to eat’em.

Other than humans, relatively few animals eat tomatoes. The plants have such a strong odor that I can understand why they avoid them. The leaves and stems contain atropine which is toxic if ingested. According to Wikipedia, the use of tomato leaves in tea has been responsible for at least one death.

Monday, June 4, 2012

May Food List


Here it is folks, my May food list. I had exams on the 1st and 2nd, so I didn't keep track and I ate out a couple of days this month. I had a chicken wrap on one day and a lot of fast food on another day. Many new fruits and vegetables are coming into my diet. You can see when I eat 1 strawberry or 1 blueberry that it is just the beginning of those foods.

3rd - 4 tiny carrots, 1/3c spinach, 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
4th - 2c applesauce, 2c blackberries, 1/3c spinach, 1c bush beans, 1c broccoli, 3/4c asparagus, 1tsp garlic, 3 eggscr, 1tbs gccheese, 1 med tortilla, 1/2 bread, 2tbs butter, 3tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
5th - blackberry syrup, 3/4c asparagus, 1c bush beans, 1/4c spinach saute, 3 eggfrtst, 1/3bread, 1/4pound cake, 2tb butter, 1 tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
6th - blackberry syrup, 2c applesauce, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1/3 pound cake, 1tbs butter, , 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
7th - 2 strawberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
8th - 2c blackberries, 1 strawberry, 1/8c green peppers, 1 tiny carrot, 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 2tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
10th - 1c applesauce, 1 strawberry, 1/3c spinach saute, 1c broccoli, 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1bs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
11th – 1/2c strawberries, 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/3 bread, 1tbs butter, 2tbs sugar, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
12th - 2c blackberries, 1c strawberries, 1 lime, 1/8c green peppers, 1c bush beans, 3 eggcr, 1/3c rice, 1/2 spritz, 2tbs sugar, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee,
13th - 1c strawberries, 1lime, 2 tiny carrots, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/2 spritz, 1/2tb butter, 3tbs sugar, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
14th - 3 tiny carrots, 1/4c potatoes, 1 scallion, 2c peanut beans, 1/3c goat meat, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 3 tsp honey, 2 pot coffee,
15th - 3 strawberries, 1c broccoli, 3 eggscr, 1/3 bread, 1-1/2tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
16th - 2c blackberries, 4 strawberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1c broccoli, 1c bush beans, 1 sugar snap pea , 3 eggscr, 1/3 bread, 2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
17th - 5 strawberries, 1c potatoes, 1 sugar snap pea, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
18th - 1c peanut beans, 1 fried squash, 1 radish, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey,
1 pot coffee
19th - 2c applesauce, 2 strawberries, 1c peanut beans, 1/4c lettuce, lemon herb tea, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 pound cake, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
20th - 1/2c strawberries, 2c blackberries, 3/4c potatoes, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
21st - 1/8c green pepper, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
22nd - 1c strawberries, 1c bush beans, 1c sugar snap peas, 3 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
23rd - chicken wrap, potato salad, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
24th - day with bonnie, chinese food, sm caramel ice cream, 1 king reeces pieces, mcdonalds cherry berry sm, sm popcorn, dr pepper
25th - 1c strawberries, 1 blueberry, 1/2c raw sugar snap peas, 1c brocolli, 3sm carrots, 1c potatoes, 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1/4 spritz, 2tbs butter, 2tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
26th - 1/4c blueberries, 1c strawberries, 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 spritz, 1/2tbs butter
27th - 5 blueberries, 1/4c sugar snap peas, 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/3 spritz, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
28th - 1c strawberries, 3 blueberries, 1/4c lettuce, 1-1/4c broccoli, 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter,
29th - 1/4c sugar snap peas, 3 eggscr, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
30th - 2 radishes, 2sm carrots, 1/2 carrot top, 1sm potato, 2 scallions, 1/8c green peppers, 1/2tbs garlic, 1c sugar snap peas, 3 eggscr, 1/3c goat meat, 1/3c rice, 1 med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1-1/2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
31st - 1c strawberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2c sugar snap peas, 3 eggfrtst, 1/3 bread, 2tbs butter

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Holy Beeswax


The following is an excerpt from The Hive:

Wherever Christianity spread in Europe, so did beekeeping and candlemaking. As candles were used more and more in church services, so Christians revered the bee and its works, with a kind of circular reasoning. The bee was a sacred being because it made sacred wax; and wax was holy because the bee was holy. The early Christians sometimes baptized themselves with honey and made crosses out of wax. In Christian worship, the flame of the candle represented Christ, the light of the world; the wick represented his soul; and the wax was his spotless body. Wax was treated by Christians as more pure than any other substance. Bees were chaste (or so it was believed), like Mary; as Christ was born of Mary, so wax was born of virgin bees. 

What would it feel like to be baptized in a vat of honey?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Goat Stew


Today I made a pot of goat stew. I cooked several patties of ground goat meat a couple of months ago and keep them in the freezer. Each patty is equivalent to around 1/3 cup. I grew all of the vegetables used in the stew. Over the past few months, I have developed such an appreciation for food. It used to be something routine to eat a carrot and I didn’t really enjoy eating them. Now that I have to wait several months for my food to grow, carrots have turned into a food I relish. That being said, I’m not exactly sure how good the recipe for this stew actually is because I now like eating foods that others may find bland and boring.

Here are the ingredients: 

1/3c ground goat meat (already cooked and frozen)
1/3c rice
1/3c sugar snap peas (with pod)
1sm potato
2 radishes
1 scallion
1/8c green peppers (frozen from last season)
2sm carrots
1/2 carrot top
1/3c broccoli
salt
water