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Friday, May 28, 2010

Herbal Goat Medicine Against Parasites


I am giving this post a long boring name to get it show up on search engines. My own searches brought next to nothing on the subject, unless you count vague statements that such and such herb aids in parasite control without any details on quantities etc. I got my favorite book by Juliette of the Herbs "The Complete Herbal for Farm and Stable", read the chapter on using garlic and went to work. Juliette recommends one full plant of garlic, leaves and all, chopped up and mixed with oat bran, pumpkin seed and molasses. I happen to have all the ingredients in either my garden or my pantry, so after a short time dedicated to chopping and mixing I got the aromatic goo delivered to my two princesses, Katia and Rosa.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bee Cemetery


"Lovely honey combs" - say my friends coming to visit the house, once they see the line up on the kitchen table. The smell is honey-heavenly, but these are not honey combs but empty combs from my dead topbar hives. (you would not place combs full of honey on your table... some is bound to leak!) -
I assume some contained honey that bees ate trying to survive hungry winter; some were housing for their larvae, some cells are full of pollen. There is a thick layer of dead bees in the bottom of the hives, strange sight. They are dead and and the spring is quiet, one can just pull the hive apart and there is nobody there. Tiny native bees are working the flowers, and orchards are full of fruit, so life goes on - but the our little honey collectors are not involved in the spring chores. I hear, the US lost nearly 80% of honey bees in 2009.

I collected the combs to melt them for wax, to make candles. Broken combs are placed in cookie sheets in the sun, covered with a single layer of glass - slowly melting, with impurities that color the combs in darker hues rising and clean yellow wax on the lower end - or so it will be once they warm up. So far the melting process is very slow and I am not observing any separation of impurities. As always, the ways of living on the land and off the land sound oh-so-simple, anyone-can-do-this-without-trouble, and in reality there more questions than answers; and for sure I have not made a single candle yet! Not to mention honey harvest by the gallon.
Sometimes I wonder if people "out there" think that they can always change gears, plant a garden, grow their own food, meet their own needs - easy - while in reality the learning curve is steep and long and I definitely suggest if you are thinking about starting, start now - see you along the way!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Natural Dyes, Easter


Dyed with geranium petals, black-berry juice, marigold petal tea, onion skins tea - these eggs are edible and lovely. Shine is created by rubbing with a little olive oil.