Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Top bar hive


Joshua and I are going to get a top bar hive and try our hand at beekeeping.  This will be a 4-H project for him.  He has always been fascinated by bees although he is really worried about being stung.  So, we will see how this goes.  

We already ordered our bees.  We got an Italian queen.  We ordered them through Tate's Honey Farm in Spokane.  When I called to order them, he said that Italian bees were more friendly.  The bees are to arrive sometime around mid-April.  Click on the picture to learn more about Tate's Honey Farm...

We have decided to use a top bar hive because it is a more natural way of beekeeping.  There are advantages and disadvantages of the top bar compared to the traditional Langstroth hive.  If you want to learn more about it, click on the picture of the inside of a top bar hive...

Now, to get the hive!  We will probably order our hive through Bee Thinking.  Here is a video that they have on their website describing the top bar hive:

Next week, I will be ordering sunflower seeds!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jamming plums

In the Kitchen

I had been given some plums last fall.  I did not have time to do anything with them so I chopped them up and put them into the freezer.  So, I finally got around to making jam from them.  Last summer, I had a couple people ask if I had low sugar jams.  I did not make any low sugar jam but decided I wanted to try to make some for this year.  

I used Pomona's Pectin to make the low sugar plum jam.  Basically, it uses less sugar (about half as much in this case).  For example, the regular plum jam used about  6 cups of plums and 6 cups of sugar.  The low sugar plum jam used 4 cups of plums and 2 cups of sugar.

Click on the picture to go to their website.  Here is some more information:
Jam Today! With Pomona’s Universal Pectin®
Our sugar free, preservative free, low-methoxyl citrus pectin is specially formulated for making low sugar jam & jelly.
Sweeten jam & jelly to your taste with low amounts of any sweetener: sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, frozen juice concentrate, stevia, xylitol, Sucanat, concentrated fruit sweetener, or Splenda and other artificial sweeteners.

I have to say that I REALLY enjoyed making the low sugar jam and I am planning on making a lot of our own personal jam this way.  


I had shared with Linda (my mother-in-law) that I wanted to concentrate on decluttering this year (2016 New Year's Resolution).  So, she bought me this book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Here is a little YouTube video about the book:
I am almost finished reading it.  Mostly, the gist is that you first declutter and then you organize and only keep things that bring you joy.  I like the idea behind the book and the system that she uses to do this but it is not practical for the way I am decluttering.  I am literally, going through every single room and only spend about 15 minutes each morning on one small part.  Sometimes, in the evening, I will spend some more time going through things i.e. I am going through old pictures now so I will sit down in the evening and decide what to keep, what to toss, and what to send to grandparents.

I am using a monthly printable from Home Storage Solutions 101 to decide where to concentrate my 15 minutes a day of decluttering.

According to her printables, you basically spend January and February working on the kitchen.  I did the kitchen in January.  So, I am working on the March printable which is the laundry room.  Our laundry room is also a huge storage area for us.  I went through EVERYTHING and I am almost finished with this.  I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of paper we are saving!  So far in February, I have tossed more than 70 pounds of just paper!  I have spent many nights shredding too and even over heated the shredder one night.  One good thing is that I found a 2 drawer file cabinet that I had forgotten about.  It was actually in Henry's office and I had totally forgotten about it...we have lived here over 4 years and I never once remembered that I had stuff in there.  There was over 10 pounds of paper in there.

I am very happy with the progress that I am making and have now tossed or donated over 345 pounds of stuff!  It feels good to get organized and know where everything is!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fermenting sauerkraut

In the Kitchen

This will be a short post this week.  It has been a busy week but I did manage to FINALLY start some sauerkraut fermenting!  I have been wanting to do this for months and just never got around to it.

If you click on the picture above, it should take you to the recipe I used but it is pretty easy...cabbage and salt!  Months ago, I had supported a Kickstarter for Pickle Pipe - a silicone based airlock that can be used to ferment vegetables and fruits.  

My Pickle Pipe finally came and so I have no excuses to start my fermenting!  Finger's crossed...my sour dough died!  I am going to order some more starter.


I had mentioned that my New's Years Resolution is to declutter a "ton" of stuff from our house.  I had a mini-goal to get rid of 200 lbs in January...you know, to really get off to a great start!  It was tough but I did it!  Basically, I spent the month of January working on the kitchen and anything food related.  Now, I have moved on to the laundry room which is also a storage area with LOTS of those rubbermaid tubs...ugh!  I am slowing going through them one-by-one...these tubs moved to this rental house with us over 4 years ago.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to open them to look for something.  So, hopefully, some major decluttering happening in the laundry/storage area in February!

Shameless plug warning...

I am organizing a Walk and Roll Disability Awareness Event...please, click on the picture below and like our Facebook page!

Happy (early) Valentine's Day!