Monday, February 19, 2018

What's the Buzz? New things afoot at our little Homestead.

So what's the buzz? This spring we are getting bees!  This is something i've been wanting to do forever, but didn't really know where to start. Kenan has a strong reaction to yellow jacket stings (even took an ambulance trip to the ER) because of it, so i really didn't think keeping bees would be possible for us.  

Kenan took an interest in it recently and attended a free class that was hosted by our library. After the class he signed up for a bee workshop that was offered by the local bee society.  Did you know that bees and wasps have different venom? It is very common for someone to have an allergic reaction to yellow jacket venom, but not react to bee stings or vise versa.  
 Kenan will always be in full suit as a precautionary and carrying his epi-pen, but we realized keeping bees really is possible. Once they are set up the kids and i will be incharge of general upkeep and maintenance. So Kenan's actual interaction with the bees should be quite minimal. 

We ordered our hives from Brushy Mountain Bee farm. We bought 4 hives to start. Two large and two smaller. Kenan got to work putting them together.

Then we all spent the afternoon priming the hive boxes and in a few days we'll paint them.  Our bees have been ordered through the local bee society and will be arriving in early April i believe. This is a new venture for us, but i'm very excited to be doing our part to help save the bees.  We may get some honey the first year, but it's not a guarantee. We do hope to see some benefit from the additional pollinators in our gardens. The last few years we've seen very few honey bees. i often have to hand pollinate the squash due to the lack of bees. So we are really hoping that adding bees will increase our garden yields.
We are looking forward to harvesting honey in the future, along with honeycomb and bee pollen. It's a pretty big investment, with no guarantee Many hives fail the first year due to animal pests, mites and disease. However one of the things stressed at the bee workshop is that you shouldn't keep bees just for the honey. You keep them for the environment and pollination benefits and just to help the bees!  If all goes well, the honey is a bonus.

i'll be updating more as we get our hives set up and the bees arrive this spring.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Harry Potter in concert! Richmond, VA.

This past weekend, Kenan surprised us with tickets to the Harry Potter concert series in Richmond, VA.  Richmond is about 3-3.5 hours away. So it's close enough that we could have just made it a day trip, but we opted to driving out the night before and staying overnight in a hotel. 

The kids were super excited and both dressed up in their Hogwarts uniforms. There were lots of other folks, both kids and adults in costume. They had a small (crowded) table selling Harry Potter Merchandise. They sold out of most sizes pretty quickly, and we were there an hour before the concert actually started.

Kenan had purchased our tickets last minute, and they were almost sold out. He was able to get the last 4 seats together, up in the balcony.   We were totally in the nosebleed section, as far up and you can be possibly be. We could see the stage great though.

The theater was absolutely amazing. i wish i'd gotten more picture of it. i didn't think i'd be allowed to bring my camera in though, and my phone takes crappy pictures.  We were actually up on the second level balcony.  Being up as high as we were it was easy to forget the orchestra was even there. They sounded fantastic, but they sounded exactly like the movie so our focus was more on the movie than the orchestra. i think those with seats down lower would have had the opposite perspective, where the focus was on the orchestra and less on the film. When the film ended and the credits were rolling the orchestra continued to play and that was really neat. It was also neat to be in a place with so many Harry Potter fans. The energy was fantastic.

It was an amazing experience nonetheless, and we are already talking about wanting to see the next one.  We saw Sorcerer's Stone, but Chamber of Secrets and  Prisoner of Azkaban are already playing in different cities.  This may be a new Annual tradition until we have seen them all.

Monday, January 22, 2018

5 years.

"Sorrow prepares you for Joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart far better things will take their place."
 ~ Rumi

Monday, January 15, 2018

Red Maca chocolate Protein Balls

These Simple Red Maca Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls make the perfect snack They're packed with protein and taste similar to  (No Bake) Preacher cookies!

These are really easy to make and you can really change up the recipe however you like. i used ground pecans, oats, peanut coconut butter, hemp hearts, shredded coconut, cocoa, red maca and raw honey. Mix all your ingredients together in a large bowl.   

This Red Maca powder by The Organique Co. is considered an Incan superfood. The Maca root is native to Peru and sometimes called Peruvian Ginseng. It's super nutritious and is a great source of several important vitamins and minerals. Red Maca root  is thought to help with energy, balance mood, alleviate menopausal symptoms and more. Maca root has a nice nutty flavor with a hint of butterscotch and work great in these protein balls. 

Chill for about 30 min. in fridge, then coat your hands with a little coconut oil and roll into balls about the size of a large gumball.  You can then roll each ball in a little cocoa powder and red maca.

Chocolate Protein Balls Ingredients: -

1/2 cup nut butter (i used coconut peanut butter.)
1 cup whole oats
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2- 3/4 cup almonds, pecans, other nuts or seeds. (ground or chopped small)
1/3 cup raw honey
2 Tbsp hemp hearts, flax seeds or chia seeds etc
1 Tbsp Red Maca Powder
coconut oil (for coating fingers.)

Mix ingredients together really well in a large bowl. i coated my hands in coconut oil, and kneaded/mixed them by hand. Then let them chill for about 30 min in the fridge. Now, coat your hands again in coconut oil and roll them into little balls (large gumball size).  Roll in a little maca  and cocoa  powder. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container.

*this post contains affiliate links. i may earn a small commision on any purchases made from following my links.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Latest addiction- Woven Dishcloths

i'm not sure how i got so behind with this blog, but now that winter is here i am in full hibernation mode.  So i'm going to try to play a bit of catch up.  November and December were super busy, i had a couple craft shows, we took a trip to Michigan and i always go a little crazy preparing for the holidays.  It's when my sales are the best, so i bust butt to get as much work made/sold as possible. i've been working in the glass shop regularly up until xmas, and still haven't quite recovered from all that. This week we've been recovering from the stomach bug that hit over the weekend and the kids just went back to school ( from a weather extended break) today.

Anyhow, i picked up a new hobby (addiction) and wanted to share.

While up in Michigan visiting family, my MIL showed me how to use a 10" square bias loom to make a continuous weave dishcloth. My MIL in an amazing weaver, and my FIL makes all their looms from hand. They have an etsy shop where you can find the looms and other weaving materials. 

i ended up making dishcloths all the way home in the car, while the husband drove.  i knew they would make fantastic gifts, and wanted to have a nice selection for a craft show i was participating in Dec.

Fast forward, hibernation mode. This has been me, since xmas. Doctor who marathon, and weaving dishcloths.  They are so easy and fun to make, and really make a nice sturdy dishcloth.

i add a simple crocheted border to them, and once washed they tighten up nicely.  This is quite similar to the old pot holder looms i did as a child, but because it's continuous weave, you are weaving the top and bottom simultaneously and so they really go quite quickly.

i can not stress how much i love to make these. It's the perfect activity on a cold winter day, sitting by the fire and binge watching my favorite netflix show. :) 

i've been putting them together in sets to sell at the Floyd Artisan market this spring, along with my glasswork. i used a little raffia, applesauce cinnamon ornaments and mini pinecones to decorate the sets. i currently have 14 sets of 3 made up and that doesn't include the ones i've already sold and gifted. i'm really enjoying these, and i know once garden season starts i won't want to sit around and make them so i'm taking advantage of my need to hibernate while i can.

i'm making these using  a 10" mini loom, 100% cotton yarn (peaches & cream, sugar & cream) a crochet hook and a large tapesty  needle (for weaving in the ends).

My dish cloths are available for $5 each or $12 for a set of 3.  i'm hoping to have them at the Floyd Artisan market this spring and i'll have some available online as well.  i'm also going to put together a tutorial for how i make these, for those interested.

 i just wanted to pop in and let you know what i've been up to!  i've working through a few back posts, and then will try to get back to posting regularly.