After extracting 83 pounds of honey from the honey bee hive the first time (see Honey Harvest), the question comes up – how can you substitute honey for sugar when baking?
It turns out that you can, but you’re adding liquid – so the recipe has to be adjusted to accommodate the liquid. You can substitute honey for up to half the granulated sugar in a recipe, but for every cup of honey that’s used; the nonsweet liquid should be reduced by 1/4 cup, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda should be added, and the oven temperature should be lowered by 25°F.
So far, this has worked for us – what other rules of thumb [...]
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It’s springtime – the best time of year for raising chicks! So, it’s a good time to collect eggs for incubation and hatch the baby chicks yourself (or give them to a broody hen to hatch). High hatch rates and healthy chicks start with proper egg collection and storage.
Collecting the Eggs
Chicken egg incubation temperature and humidity are ideal for the growth of bacteria; so it’s essential that eggs collected for hatching are clean. However, hatching eggs ideally should not be washed, as this removes the protective egg bloom (see Egg Bloom). The egg bloom protects the egg from both bacteria and moisture loss. [...]
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I recently learned about a powerful tool for improving our gardening and beekeeping abilities. It’s called Phenology, and it’s a method of predicting 1) when to plant crop seeds, 2) when the bees will bring in nectar, 3) what kind of nectar they’ll be bringing in (i.e. what kind of honey it will be), 4) when to start controlling detrimental insects, 5) when weeds will emerge, and 6) many more things!
It utilizes temperature as a predictor because plant growth and insect emergence depend on temperature. “Growing degree-days” (GDD) are used as the predictive measure, and by knowing the GDD for your area on a [...]
Continue reading Awesome Predictive Tool – Phenology
It’s the time of year when there are usually excess vegetables in the garden that need to be taken in before frost destroys them. Many of these vegetables can successfully be stored for months if the right storage conditions are provided. Even without a garden, buying quantities of these vegetables while they’re fresh and “in season” and storing them for later winter use can make sense. Both of these approaches provide fresh vegetables more economically than buying from the supermarket in the winter when it’s most expensive. In addition, vegetables picked and stored at their peak maturity usually have better [...]
Continue reading Long Term (Winter) Vegetable Storage
Today, we went for a hike with our friends Dave & Doris; and found wild morels!
We’ve found morels before (in a yard), but never found them growing in the wild before – these we found along a lightly wooded trail as we hiked. Folks have been finding morels in the area for about a week, and the weather we’ve been having is perfect for them. It’s been wet and rainy, with temperatures in the upper 50′s to 60′s – just prime conditions for morels. With these conditions, morels can pop up just about anywhere, so we’ll be keeping out eyes peeled – they’re so tasty.
Morels are [...]
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Getting day-old chicks and raising them is fun and rewarding; they seem to grow while you watch, and their behavior is fascinating. But they’re a lot of work too, and it’s not a job that should be taken lightly. They require frequent monitoring and care for the first five weeks, so someone needs to available every day. There are no vacations or days off during those critical first few weeks. I’ve debated over writing about the experience, it’s been written about well and often before; but there are some important concepts I never picked up on until actually doing it – so [...]
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The baby buckeye chicks are 3 weeks old today, and they’ve changed so much it seems impossible (see Baby Buckeyes for 1 week pics).
Starting today, the temperature in their brooder was dropped to 80°, and they seem to be doing very well. We ordered 25, received 30, and lost 2 almost immediately; so we’ve got 28 baby chicks. Which brings me to chicken math – a subject I would surely have flunked.
I was trying for about ten chickens, so I ordered 25 day-old buckeyes figuring that we’d loose a few, and be down to about 20 birds. Half of these would be roosters, [...]
Continue reading Baby Buckeyes – 3 Week Update
On Thursday, we got 30 Buckeye peeps (they actually hatched last Sunday), and put them in a brooder in the barn. We’ve waited along time for these Buckeyes (see Buckeye Chickens)!
The brooder is actually made from a TV armoire we found sitting beside the road, waiting to be hauled off as trash (yes, we asked before we took it!). We took the shelves and drawers out, and set it with the back on the ground – just perfect for a little brooder. For the first two days, we put the chicks on paper towels so they’d learn where their food was [...]
Continue reading Baby Buckeyes Are Here!