Spring progress

With the lovely spring temps we’ve been having, everything is growing by leaps and bounds around here.

Our little greenhouse is full and overflowing.

The overflow benches outside are, well….overflowing!

The lisianthus are taking off and the lilies are going to be gigantic! Notice all the maple seed pods. They’re absolutely thick outside and have even blown into the hoop houses. Guess what we’ll be pulling all summer!

The snaps and campanula are looking good. I’ve never grown what I would consider a good crop of snaps but, maybe this year?

In the veggie tunnel the first tomatoes are getting acclimated.

The peas are blooming.

Lettuces and green onions are looking beautiful.

The cucumbers are caged.

I love this red lettuce!

The fennel is lovely.

The kale is beautiful. Some of it will probably make it into a bouquet or two.

A nice little patch of carrots is off to a good start.

Enjoy the beauty of spring!





Bee update

It’s been  two weeks since we installed our two new batches of bees so I thought I’d go out and check up on them this afternoon.

Wow, have they been busy! I checked the first hive and saw that there was capped brood so I didn’t mess with it too much but went on to the second hive. The queen in the second hive has really been going to town.

Here is what it looked like when I first opened it.

And this is a shot of some of the capped brood. Sorry for the blurry picture but it’s a little difficult to hold the frame in one hand and take a picture all while being bombarded with a few thousand bees who aren’t very happy with me for disturbing their home. I think I’ll have to take my photographer with me next time. The capped cells in the upper right hand corner are cells they have filled with honey and capped over for their future food source.

And a close up of some capped brood and some that isn’t capped yet where you can see the larvae.

This hive, we’ll call it #2, seemed to be much more aggressive then the first one. I had smoked them twice but still ended up getting stung right through my shirt. Oh well, a small price to pay for the delicious honey they’ll soon be making for us!!


Just a bit of “pretty” for this post.  A peek at a few bits of some of the weddings that we’ve done. This first one is admittedly my favorite, but then I may be a bit biased since it was my daughter’s! Being a December wedding we didn’t even grow any of the flowers.

The alter arrangement.

Big sis with little sis.


This was a lovely fall wedding at the Morton Barns in Nebraska City.

This had to be the coolest arbor I’ve ever seen!



Another fun arbor for a fall wedding.



Sunflowers were the focal flower of this sweet little summer affair.



Working with a limited color pallet lent an elegant touch to this beautiful wedding.


Ah yes, it truly is spring when fresh asparagus is available in abundance.

If you are one of those lucky people who love asparagus, here is our favorite way to fix it.

The basic ingredients.

Roasted Asparagus Gremolata

Okay, first of all what is gremolata? For you culinary types maybe this isn’t a new word for you but I had to look it up. By definition on a Google search, it is simply a mixture of finely minced garlic, chopped parsley and grated lemon peel, which is what makes this dish taste really great. Of course, it’s got asparagus in it also so it’s gotta be good!

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

1 t grated fresh lemon peel

2 t minced fresh garlic

2# fresh asparagus trimmed

2 T olive oil

2 t salt (we used less)

Preheat oven to 450. Combine parsley, lemon peel and garlic. Set aside. Dry asparagus. Coat a 12×16 baking pan with the oil. Place asparagus in the pan and roll it around to coat it. Don’t crowd. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally so the asparagus browns evenly, for 8-10 minutes or until firm-tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with garlic mixture and salt. Makes 4-6 servings.

Ready for the oven.

Ready to eat!


These bees and I have a love hate relationship going here. I love the wonderful honey we get from them, of course, and all the cool things a person can make from the bees wax, which will be a topic for another post, but I just hate my inadequacies when it comes to keeping them alive. I still consider myself a novice beekeeper and  after loosing my hive this past winter I’m now starting afresh with two hives. Hopefully I can keep at least one of them going.  So Friday morning after picking up my two “packages” of bees at Valhalla Bee Farm’s shop I hurried home to get them installed in their hives before lunch company arrived.

This is what approximately 20,000 bees looks like.

After taking the bee packages out near the hives we spray them with sugar syrup to impede their ability to fly while we get the box open and remove the queen.

A bee package is shipped with the queen suspended in a little box with the cluster of bees. Here Eliza checks out the queen before we put her in the hive. Actually I think she’s keeping a close eye on the bee sitting on her leg!

After setting the box of bees and the queen into the hive and giving them some sugar syrup, Eliza puts the lid back on. We’ll let them get acclimated for three days before we let the queen out of her little box. And for any of you wondering, no this is not child abuse to let our 8 year old handle bees without protection. Since the bees are new to this hive they don’t recognize it as their home yet so are very docile. This will be the only time that we handle them without a veil on.

Checking out the bee’s syrup!

And here is what the hive looks like after 3 days. They are definitely busy little bees!

And here is what the shipping box looked like when we removed it. It only took them 3 days to put all of this perfectly formed comb on the box…truly amazing!

Oh yes, and this was our lunch company…grand-baby  #3, Emma Jane!