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A brief one to get the ball rolling…

The garden is still producing but not like in years past. The saving grace have been the cucumbers….Can’t give them away fast enough! The tomatoes are just pitiful looking specimens…..Oh, I pick a stray cherry tomato now and then but that is about it. The other success story is one of the banana varieties. I cut the stalk just below the female flowers after the plant switched to producing only male flowers. Those female flowers are developing nicely….time will tell.

I have a bee problem now…..a neighbor that has not been easy to get along with discovered my bee hive during a recent fence repair and filed a complaint. Almost 18 months with no issue but…….The HOA does not forbid bees but apparently there is a provision that if a resident “needs” protection from harm, i.e., bees, then I am the bad guy. They bees need a new home, far away from my yard.

The neighbor directly behind me is fully supportive of my bee keeping efforts. My neighbor to the east is a friend and fully supportive. The wicked witch to the West is the problem. Well, no honey for her! I have harvested about 8 gallons (about 90 pounds) from one hive and should have another good harvest just before fall.

My top bar hive is getting full. Tomorrow I am drafting my wife to give me a hand pulling some honeycomb and honey for my first harvest from this hive. It is a very healthy and strong hive. I am anxious to have it open tomorrow and show my wife how they build the comb and organize the activities inside the hive.

Nearly full width comb and deep into the box. We should see many, many more tomorrow.

Nearly full width comb and deep into the box. We should see many, many more tomorrow.

In two days I will move two of my hives to a farm, a little further than I wanted, but, I have a very interested woman that has been wanting bees. So off they go, both the large Langstroth hive and my top bar hive. I  retain ownership but, will have to travel to manage the hives. The second top bar hive was not to the bees liking when I installed them in May. They swarmed and moved off. Over the last few days there has been a small football sized mass of bees under some boards in the corner of my garden….they are now in my second top bar hive……I will see if I can keep it from scrutiny until it grows to the point that I can move it.

Took the cappings’ from today’s extraction of 6 medium frames. About two gallons of honey, 22 pounds was the result. I am using my solar “melter” to separate the wax and residual honey….nice, simple and easy way to do it. The solar box has a glass lid that helps hold the heat!

I mash the wax up on the top side of the SS pan. Still a bit of honey oozing out. Tomorrow the wax will be sitting on top of the water.

I mash the wax up on the top side of the SS pan. Still a bit of honey oozing out. Tomorrow the wax will be sitting on top of the water.

The melting process under the sun's heat melts the wax, drops out the trash as it drifts down to the water as relatively clean wax. I will later melt and filter it again through cheese cloth.

The melting process under the sun’s heat melts the wax, drops out the trash as it drifts down to the water as relatively clean wax. I will later melt and filter it again through cheese cloth.

Busy day today….I also transferred my Session India Pale Ale into the secondary fermenter. I added an ounce of Amarillo and an ounce of Simcoe hops……”dry hopping”. Should be amazing once finished. In a few days I will drop the temperature down to 34 degrees to get all the goodies to settle and bottle it. Can’t wait, but I will. Next up a beer using my honey as a component.

TTFN

Bishop

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Busy, Busy, Busy – Catching up in the Garden and the Kitchen

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I went out and picked a little this morning before the sky opened up and poured buckets of rain. I wound up with a bunch of cucumbers, a few ox-heart tomatoes and peppers. I will go out tomorrow and gather many more tomatoes and peppers. Into the kitchen now for a recipe experiment – I had a bowl of cucumber gazpacho in Carlsbad New Mexico this past week. It was very nice and refreshing but just a bit too peppery hot for my tastes. I searched the web and found a few similar recipes that seem to match my tastes.

My Cucumber Gazpacho

  • 7-8 Cucumbers – several varieties, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 Ancho peppers – warm enough and a very nice dark green in color – seeded
  • 2 – Anaheim peppers seeded – one that had turned red and the other a reddish-brown – for color and flavor
  • A couple of garlic cloves – skinned and crushed
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup ice water
  • ½ cup white tequila
  • Tabasco sauce – season to taste – added a lot more after taste testing on day two!
  • Lime oil
  • Chopped fresh mint leaves

Puree the cucumbers with the olive oil, water, lemon juice, tequila, garlic, salt, black pepper and Tabasco. Add the coarse chopped Ancho and Anaheim peppers and pulse to chop coarsely…leaves a little bits of pepper chunks for color and texture. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with a bit chopped fresh mint and a few drops of lime oil.

Next up for the kitchen before my wife returns from California – brew my American IPA Ale with Cascade and Chinook hops, can my strawberry and blackberry preserves and possibly a few more quarts of spaghetti sauce…..the last batch was very good – now where did I put that recipe????

Enjoy the slide show from the garden and –

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TTFN

Bishop

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