Robbing Bees

The work is finally wrapping up for the season! I’ve fed my bees sugar syrup to get them through the winter but with the warm weather they’re out flying around, robbing anything with even a trace of sugar or honey on it. In the fall, there are lots of worker bees who want to collect nectar but there is no nectar for them to collect. Instead, they steal honey or sugar from anywhere they can get it. That means they’re sneaking into my extracting room to take honey from the honey boxes I’ve taken off their hive. Once in there, they get disoriented and can’t get out again.  They’ve been clustering on the top of my window overnight and in the morning I knock them into a bucket and take them out. I’ve only had to do it twice, but even that is too much. Robbing bees spread diseases and once they get robbing they are more likely to rob out neighbouring hives, which can devastate that hive’s ability to overwinter. So next year the top item I need is a 100% bee-proof extracting room.

On another note, thanks to the folks who came out and helped harvest potatoes! I have lots of beautiful potatoes available now, so contact me if you would like to stock up on your winter supply. I’m selling them unwashed to maximize storage life (but they’re just dusty rather than dirty so they’ll be easy to wash), and I would prefer to sell in 25 lb or larger quantities but I can do smaller as well. So contact me if you’re interested.

And I’m still selling honey at Salisbury Farmer’s Market. On October 6th the market moves inside the greenhouse for the winter and I’m looking forward to see how the indoor market compares to being outside!

I’m also still working on the little cabin… I spoiled myself by buying a beautiful soapstone stove to heat it over the winter. And I managed to get my paws on some 1″ limestone flooring to use as my hearth! I’m really excited to install it and I’ll post photos once it’s in.

Grab bag deliveries

On Wednesday I extracted the first of my honey! It is the palest white clover honey with the most delicate flavour. I can’t take much credit for it because the bees did all the work. But I have kept it completely natural, meaning it has not been heated to destroy all the beneficial enzymes and unique flavour. To my knowledge, nobody in my area sprays their fields with any chemicals either, so you don’t need to worry about any foreign pesticides or herbicides in this honey. Natural honey will crystallize eventually but heating it will return it to a liquid. Besides, honey this good won’t stick around long enough to crystallize!

Which brings me to a change in my delivery methods. One of my customers suggested I should deliver food boxes, rather than asking people to order individual items. I am now accepting orders for $15 or $30 food boxes. I’ll deliver to your house if it’s in a convenient location. You can exchange items as you desire once I am at your curb. This simplifies the ordering process. My delivery days are Wednesdays and Fridays and please place your order the day before. Call me- 922.7166 because I don’t check email regularly.

The boxes may include of carrots, summer squashes (patty pan and zucchini), lettuce, beets, turnips, onions, chard, kale, arugula, radishes,and mustard greens. Peas, beans, and snow peas will be available shortly. Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins and maybe the odd eggplant will be available later in the season.

Vegetables Available

I now have vegetables available! You can become a member of Locavoria to obtain them or you order directly from me. My delivery day is every Wednesday. I will arrange a pick-up location in the University/Whyte Ave area.

What I have available:
Baby beet greens
Baby chard
Baby lettuce:
Green Zucchini, about 5 inches long
Yellow patty pan squash, about 2 inches in diameter

Please let me know by Monday afternoon by email what you would like. If you are placing an order on Tuesday, please call because I will not be checking email.

I look forward to providing food for you!

Fenugreek as cover crop

I’m growing plenty of arugula, fennel, and fenugreek this summer, so start looking up recipes! Fenugreek is the experiment. Apparently its maple syrup-like flavour lends itself to being used in maple syrup substitutes. It also has many other medicinal properties in addition to being a spice in curries. I’m growing it mostly as a cover crop but I will be harvesting some as well. There is some thought that fenugreek may be an ideal cover crop because it is an annual that will not become a weed problem, only needs to be cut once at the end of the season, and has a high nitrogen content.  Being a legume from the Mediterranean, it is supposed to do quite well in the prairie provinces where lack of moisture and moderately hot conditions are similar to its native land. Or at least that’s my understanding- we’ll see what happens this summer!