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HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Liquid Gold

Pardon the radio silence, friends. I’ve been taking care of buzz-ness (just go with it), you see. Last weekend, with the help of several friends, I extracted honey from my two hives.

A smattering of the honey gathered is pictured above. Three medium supers yielded 5 gallons before bottling and 12 quarts, 19 pints, and 4 1/2-pints once jarred. My little ladies were working some kind of hard all spring and summer-long. I considered extracting in spring, as well, but found myself just too overwhelmed with books and baby, and decided to wait until late summer instead.
My book details the process of extraction, if you’re a new-bee looking to extract. I’d highly suggest recruiting friends to aid in the endeavor, enticing them with a jar or two of the good stuff in exchange. Many hands make quick work of uncapping the wax from each frame, placing the frames in the centrifuge and then churning out the honey. Fortunately, my local bee club rents all of the items needed for extraction for a mere $20 to members. This fee allows the renter to check out the equipment for 3 days, which is ideal, as you’ll need time to remove the supers bound for extraction from the hives, take out the honey, bottle it, and then clean everything thoroughly before returning it.
I’ve canned plenty of things. I’ve made all manner of homemade dairy products. I’ve baked bread and made bitters and grown vegetables and planted fruit trees and gathered eggs from my chickens. Something about extracting honey, though, really makes me feel connected to food in the most profound way. Perhaps it’s because the tradition is so time-honored. Maybe it’s because it is a slow, laborious process, inviting so much in terms of reflection and gratitude. Whatever it is, it’s absolutely awesome, humbling, and a glorious, sticky mess, and I love every second of it!!!

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Because, it is!

FRIENDS! For reasons that I know nothing about, my “Canning & Preserving” book is now a mere $9.77 on Amazon! I have no idea how long this sale will last, but that’s over half-off the cover price.
I’ve you’ve been on the fence about taking the plunge and picking up a copy, there’s clearly no better time than now to do so!!!

The River Cottage Meat Book (+Giveaway!!!)

I cannot declare quite enough my admiration for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I’ve written about him on here before, gushing, fawning and otherwise sustainable-crushing on him. Based in the U.K., Hugh is an advocate for so very many of the things near and dear to my heart, including land sharing, sustainable agriculture, and preparing wholesome, delicious foods to share with loved ones. Furthermore, Hugh and his work brought me in a roundabout way to Elisa Rathje, living across the pond in Sussex, whose blog is sheer heaven.

Some of you might recall this post, written shortly after Huxley was born, in which I mentioned my return to meat-eating. I realize that consumption of animal products isn’t for everyone, and I honor that. In fact, I held that stance myself for a long, long time. For me, though, the return to eating grass-fed beef and pastured poultry has paralleled a profound leap forward in my own health.
We are immensely fortunate to live in an area where such foods are readily available. Back in June, during the Farm Tour, we visited two of the farms from where we acquire our meats, Hickory Nut Gap (beef) and East Fork (lamb). It’s an incredible experience to meet the farmers and view the land responsible for producing the foods you and your family eat.
I invite you to visit the River Cottage website. It’s full of inspiration, wisdom, and education. To honor Hugh and his crew and all that they do (say that 5 times fast!!!), today I’m giving away a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book. This book is rife with information, recipes and ideas for consuming ethically-sourced and raised meats.
To enter, simply leave a comment listing what sustainable meat means to you. For me, it means an animal raised in an absolutely ideal environment, co-existing in a mutually beneficial relationship with the soil (when ruminants graze on grasses, it creates deep-rooted perennial grass systems that massively increase the soil’s vitality). This symbiotic relationship evolved over millennia and creates an end product that is chock-a-block full of nutrients for humans and animals alike. This article in Seed magazine expertly outlines the tenants of rotational grazing/holistic land management with animals as utilized by 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge winner Allan Savory.
The giveaway will run for a week, ending at midnight EST September 9th. Given the heft of the book (it’s a biggun’!) and my budget, I’m opening the contest only to U.S. residents (sorry international buddies!). PLEASE leave a means of reaching you, either via a link-back to your blog or your email address, so that I can contact you should you be the winner.
UPDATE: The Random Number Generator has chosen Yasmin, lucky #4, to receive a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book. Thank you SO very much to all who entered! And be on the lookout for more awesome free things coming your way very, very soon!
*Top image from here.
*Second image from here.

Have Trowel, Will Dig

Here’s a quick peek at our fall garden. I took it this morning, on the little hill that runs alongside the way up to the chicken coop (you can see my tiny helper in tow; he was in the Ergo, hence the odd angle of the photo).

Last weekend, our friends Faryn and Eli and their little tot Milo came over and helped us plant a mess of garden starts. We put in: lots of lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, several types of cabbages, collards, beets and carrots. I’ve got some more to go in still, including spinach, arugula, kohlrabi, and turnips. I’ll post more photos as the garden comes along.
If you’re looking for some great information on putting in an autumn garden, I highly suggest the current issue of Back Home magazine, as well as Mother Earth News‘ most recent addition of its “Wiser Living Series.” Both have fantastic pieces on no-fail tips for fall garden success.
Are any of you putting in an autumn garden? If so, what are you planting? And what have I missed that I should plant, in your opinion?