November 26, 2015

Christmas Pyrography Sale

Tis the season, but for what? Does anyone else feel like consumerism has totally destroyed the holidays? I sincerely hope you all able to focus on the real reasons for your family traditions and enjoy them for what they were meant to be. That said, I'm going to add to the upcoming shopping frenzy with a coupon for Dan's Pyrography Etsy site. There hasn't been much time for woodburning these days, so I think he's decided to clear out his Etsy shop and take it down after Christmas.

Coupon code is PYROSTAR and it's for 25% off.
It expires at the end of December.


November 23, 2015

Beekeeping Resources for Natural Beekeepers

Honeysuckle Hive
Welcome to all of you who have clicked on over from Farmer Liz's! For those who don't know what I'm talking about, I did an interview with Liz about Warré beekeeping on her Eight Acres blog. If you aren't familiar with Liz's blog, please visit and you will undoubtedly become a regular reader. Click here for my Warré post.

What you'll find here are links to more details on my own Warré experience, plus a list of resources for Warré, top bar, and natural beekeeping.

My Warré Blog Posts:

Warré Hives and Beekeeping

Horizontal Top Bar Hives

Plans to build Top Bar Hives

Books (All but the last link will take you to Amazon US, so you may need to do a search of your favorite regional online bookseller to find them closer to home.)

Websites Promoting Natural Beekeeping

Groups and Forums
  • warrebeekeeping at Yahoo Groups. Moderated by David Heaf. While this group focuses on Warré hives and methods, there are frequent technical discussions about bees and beekeeping in general. 
  • Natural Beekeeping Forum

Natural Beekeeping Treatments


If you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them if I can. If I can't, I'll try to point you in the direction of finding more information.

November 20, 2015

Parade of Junk

I'm grumpy. That means that this post will come off as something of a rant, but don't say you weren't forewarned!

Why am I grumpy? Because I've taken a liking to peanut butter and jelly on toast for breakfast, and my toaster oven died. The problem isn't so much having to change my favorite breakfast, as it is our continual parade of junk consisting of things we've purchased, such as drip pot coffee makers and laundry baskets, that are kaput after about six months or a year. Many readers will likely nod their heads in sympathy over this problem.

The modern world has a disposable mindset. The irony is that it rallies behind "green" products and recycling, but for all the talk and hoopla about these things, nothing really changes except that prices go up and quality goes down. It seems to me that we have something of a 3-ring circus going on, with everyone pointing the finger at someone else. We have industrial manufacturing and agriculture in one ring, the economy in another, and the environmentalists in the third.

Let's start with the third ring, since global warming, climate change, carbon emissions, and petroleum dependence are so much in the news these days. It's interesting that the target object for all of this is usually emissions, mostly automobiles. Rarely is it pointed out that the majority of plastics and all their cousins are petroleum products. And what, in the parade of junk, isn't made with at least some plastic (or all) these days? Then there's the energy cost to manufacture and transport those goods, plus all that packaging which must be dealt with. But don't get me started on that.

In the second ring, business people tell us they only sell what the public wants. Baloney! I mean, who really wants to keep buying a new coffee pot or laundry basket every six months? Or a new toaster oven every couple of years? The truth is that we can only buy what they offer to us. Don't show it to us and we won't even know to want it. So called "better quality" costs more, but is it really? Somehow I doubt it.

Then there's the economy, which is based on the industrial model. It's so called "health" revolves around "growth." In other words, they have to keep making more and more money to keep their investors in dividends and their CEOs in bazillion dollar bonuses. There's the real culprit! Let's just all grow a little garden and be satisfied and content with living simply and modestly - problem solved!

Don't even bother with the government. Every time they pass laws to make things "better," it only means things get more expensive, with all that expense passed on to the consumer.

This is madness. How long can it go on?

< /rant>
Parade of Junk © November 2015 by

November 17, 2015

Sunny Days & Frosty Nights

We finally got our first frost over the weekend. The first night it didn't blanket everything, but settled in pockets in the garden here and there. I had delayed garden harvest in hopes the ground would dry out a bit, because we got something like 8 inches of rain over the past month. The days are sunny now, but we're getting frost every night so I reckoned it was time to get to work. Like bringing in the last of the cushaws.

I found only a few sweet potatoes.

I had two varieties planted in two different places in the garden, but neither did well. At least there will be some for holiday dinners. It's funny how the harvest can vary so much from year to year, isn't it?

While I was digging for those I found these.

Jerusalem artichokes. Last year's harvest was kinda piddly, but it looks like we'll have plenty this year. These are heading for lacto-fermentation.

I picked the last of the green tomatoes.

Not as many as I'd did like, which makes me think I should have canned green tomatoes for frying earlier in the growing season.

I pulled our first sampling of fall carrots.

Dan had dumped the sand from the grandkids' old wading-pool-sandbox-turned-duck-pond into the bed. These are the nicest carrots we've had in this garden.

My Swiss chard made a nice come-back, and it finally seems to be pest free!

Can you see it for all the wiregrass? I transplanted some of the chard in the hoop house, to see how it fares this winter. I read it can be perennial in warmer climates. Usually it succumbs to our winters, so I'd like to see how long I can keep it going.

Raspberries are down to their last handful.

Soon I'll start pulling out the fruits I've been storing in the freezer and begin my jelly and jam making. After I finish those, I'll start in on the year's supply of bone broth.

We're working on husking the field corn,

while the goats get to feast on the leaves and stalks.

The pigs spend their days hunting acorns.

Last but not least, here is Sam guarding the firewood.

There's always something to do, isn't there? I'm reminded of Carla Emery's admonition to plant something every day. I don't necessarily do that, but when one centers their life upon the land and what it produces, then there is some related task or chore nearly every day. It the cycle of seasonal living. Where are you in that cycle?

Sunny Days & Frosty Nights © November 2015 by

November 14, 2015

The Midnight Pest

We have too many cats. Not that we don't have enough varmints to keep them all busy (we do), but I've begun to think that when people ask me where I live, I'm going to tell them "Cat Central Station".

If you have cats (or a cat), you know how it is. They want to go out.
You open the door.
They sit down.
"Are you going out?
"I want to look first."
"I thought you wanted to go out!"
"I want to see if there's anything interesting out there."

Meowy: "Just hold the door until I decide if I want to go in or not."

It's kind of like humans opening the door to the fridge just to look inside. Maybe a fudge cream brownie cake appeared since the last time you looked. Multiply that times four cats (because they never want to go in or out at the same time) and you begin to see why I use the word "Pest" in my post title.

Then, after they've gone out, they want to come in.

You might remember this photo from
"Riley Wants In." Nothing has changed.

Time: 12:35 a.m. The humans have been in bed since about 9.
"Jing, jing, jing." It's the front door kitty bells.
I drag myself out of bed and stumble to the front door.
Open front door and in runs a cat. It must be Riley because he goes out every night at bedtime and later wants to come in for a midnight snack. Me? Back to bed.

15 minutes later.
"Meow, meow, MEOW!"
"RILEY! Be quiet!"
"My food bowl's empty."
Human drags self out of bed and stumbles into kitchen to survey the bowl in question.
"Your food bowl is not empty!"
"But I can see the bottom of the bowl."
"Your food bowl IS NOT EMPTY!"
"But it's only crumbs. MEOW!"
Sigh. Fill bowl and go back to bed.

15 minutes later.
"Meow, meow, MEOW!"
"I want to go out."

And if that's not bad enough, we have two or three others that decide they want either out or in during the night, but never the same time as Riley.

Good kitties sleep all night.

As the weather gets colder they start wanting to stay in at night more. Riley, though, seems to relish the colder weather. Me, I relish my warm bed. Without all night cat duty.