2012 was again a good year on the farm, sometimes I forget all the great things that happened, so it’s nice to pause and look back.
Kauai, Hawaii – The year started off with a two-week vacation in late January to Kauai. We celebrated our 30th anniversary, rented/shared a gorgeous home on the ocean with family, and went swimming, snorkeling, golfing, horseback riding, and ziplining. While there, we also toured a small dairy goat farm that produces local cheese and honey for the island - it was very farm inspirational. And, of course, we enjoyed all the wild chickens!
Goats – Springtime brought [...]
Continue reading 2012 – A Very Good Farm Year!
Several weeks ago, we captured a wild honey bee swarm and brought it home (see Wild Bee Capture) – it’s the first hive in the picture below.
Because it’s early fall, we’re concerned that this hive won’t be strong enough to make it through the winter, so we decided to add bees and brood to the hive by “papering in” a brood super taken from a stronger hive (the one on the far end in the picture above).
To survive winter in Northeast Ohio, a hive needs to be around 35,000 bees strong now and have about 70 pounds of honey stored away. To give the [...]
Continue reading Bolstering A Beehive – “Papering In” Bees
I’m writing about two cherry tomatoes that we grew this year, so that I don’t ever forget their names – they were great! We had only one plant of each, but we didn’t need any more; and I’ll bet we have about a million volunteer cherry tomato plants next year because we couldn’t keep up with them.
The first was a tiny, very prolific little red tomato called Matt’s Wild Cherry. It’s very tasty – like tomato candy.
The second was a slightly larger (about an 1″ in diameter at the largest) yellow cherry tomato called Sun Gold. It may just be the tastiest (in [...]
Continue reading Terrific Cherry Tomatoes
Last Thursday evening, Bramblestone Farm received a call – wondering whether we could remove a bee swarm. We’ve actually received quite a few calls on bee swarms, but this was the first that was nearby and Friday was a day off for us, so Randy agreed to go get them in the morning.
It was a nice size swarm (around the size of a football), and was located in a branch about 10 feet above ground (it was also near a swing-set which was one major reason it needed to go). The location made it a pretty easy swarm to capture, Randy just took a five-gallon pail up [...]
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Besides having nearly perfect weather every day, Kauai has wild chickens. The chickens escaped during the last hurricane, and established a large wild population – they’re literally everywhere.
The way it was explained to us, after they escaped, no one had the heart to “clean them up”. So, today you can see families of chickens (rooster, hen, and peeps) all over the island. They’re along the road, on the beach, and at the resorts.
The chickens were one of the things we loved about Kauai, they’re very colorful and interesting to watch, we felt right at home. Our [...]
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During colder months when there are fewer seeds and berries available for the wild birds, we enjoy feeding and observing them; but we like to stay warm and toasty too. Fortunately, there’s a window seat overlooking a protected nook that’s perfect for this, and we put a variety of seed and suet in feeders there to attract the birds.
Each species of bird has different seed preferences, so the type of seed offered can be customized to attract specific birds:
Cracked corn – cardinals, doves, grosbeaks, sparrows
Black Oil Sunflower or Sunflower – many birds
Peanuts – blue jays, nuthatches, titmice, woodpeckers, wrens
Thistle – finches
Safflower – cardinals, chickadees, [...]
Continue reading Feeding Wild Birds (& Homemade Suet Recipe)
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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Wild blackberries flourish on our farm, and they’re ripening now, so we’re picking, freezing (see Sealing In Summer Flavor), and making blackberry cobbler. This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious - did I mention I love summer……
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 ½ cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 400°F. For the filling, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan, and add the water. Add the blackberries, and cook on low to medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Keep warm while [...]
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