Thursday, December 29, 2016

Outdoor Mom’s Journal - December 2016

During our outdoor time these past couple of weeks we went....

back to the barn and back mostly. Between light rain, thunderstorms with pouring rain, freezing temperatures turning the rain into ice, and 50+ mph winds - the weather has not been that enjoyable.

Taking the garbage and recycling cans to the street was even challenging. It doesn't matter if I'm wearing clogs or boots, walking on a driveway covered in ice tests my skills in balance.

Will need to figure out a solution to ice-covered pathways in the backyard, the driveway, and areas by the barn. It's not safe for any of us - or the animals - to be walking on such slippery surfaces.

The most inspiring thing we experienced was...

watching the birds at the bird feeders. Have enjoyed seeing all the black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, blue jays, woodpeckers, and cardinals (who periodically show up).

Black-capped chickadee at the feeder.

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)...

how the bees are doing. It's best not to open the hives during the cold weather. We are hoping that the mite treatments and winter preparations were enough to get them through the bitter-cold weather a couple weeks ago.

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting....

nothing. I received a seed catalog the other day and debated about purchasing some seeds. However, we were so pleased with the CSA this past year that having a diverse garden isn't something that has a huge draw for me now.

That being said, I'd like to have a variety of tomatoes, beans, carrots, cucumbers, and some herbs so we can go to the gardens and pick what we didn't receive many of through the CSA. (The carrots were prolific during the end of the summer and fall - but not through the majority of the summer.)

I'd like to see if the blueberries and raspberries I planted last year are still growing. I planted them in a newly-plowed field. Since we don't use chemicals at our farm, the weeds grew much quicker than I could keep up with so the little plants quickly were overtaken. I wasn't sure where they were in the weed patch.

I am reading...

American Bee Journal. We get a subscription to this magazine and I learn something new each time I read it.

One of the articles focused on challenges that beekeepers have when selling their honey at fairs. Someone will invariably come up and say that honey is bee vomit. Interestingly, I had heard this, but no one ever corrected me to tell me that honey is not bee vomit.

Sophia with the honey she harvested this year.

People think that honey is bee vomit because it looks like it is coming out from the bee's mouth. Found out, however, that's not the case. The bee sucks and collects the nectar from flowers using its proboscis and stores it in its special stomach or "honey stomach." This stomach is separate from its true stomach for digestion.

The bee secretes enzymes into the nectar and converts it into honey that has healing properties.

I am dreaming about…

less bone-chilling weather. I'm not sure why I'm having difficulty this year with the weather. Although I prefer colder weather, this year it has felt more frigid. Sometimes it takes so long to warm up after being outdoors - even if it's for a brief period of time.

A photo I would like to share...

Cooper enjoys looking out the window during the day. There's a bird feeder right at his eye level. Often times, though, he is looking further out for squirrels and rabbits.


It's the squirrels that will send him into a frenzy - especially when they are at the feeder, jumping into the apple tree, or eating crab apples off the tree.


Barb McCoy said...

Sounds like a fantastic month...I am so envious of the beekeeping. I eat honey every day and if I had the energy I would look into beekeeping for our garden. I love seeing the jars of honey all lined up!

We are expecting about 10 inches of snow over the weekend so we will get our share of the white stuff but we never get much below zero around here. We are seriously thinking of moving to Oregon and it would mean a longer, harder winter with temperatures in the negatives so I may ask you for advice on how to survive!

Thanks for linking your post. Barb

Rita said...

It has been frigid this winter so far. Snow, I love. But the freezing rain, ice, and 50 below wind chills--not so much. Been a not pleasant last week or two for other reasons, too, which adds to the weather dismay--LOL! It will all change...eventually. :)