Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Yay! My Amazon order finally arrived! Everything came neatly wrapped in plastic bags.

 I got right to work. I've found several recipes online, here are a few.
Liquid Detergent 1
Powder Detergent
Liquid Detergent 2
Since they're all pretty much the same, I kinda winged it. My version uses pretty much the same ingredients as the Liquid 2, but I've left it dry. So:

1/2 bar FellsNaptha
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda

Grate the 1/2 bar with a microplane or small cheese grater. Add 1 cup each of Borax and washing soda. Mix well. Use 2 tablespoons in each load.

Sounds pretty simple, but I have to tell you, it took almost an hour to grate up the half-bar of soap. It's just that solid. It's also very sweet-smelling. Made my eyes water, and my nose itch.

Add stuff. And mix.

I did not use my food processor, it mixed well enough for me by hand.

I'll use the other half of the bar to make a liquid version, and let you know what I think.
One of the complaints I've read is that there is "no scent" when the laundry is dome. I don't think that's true. So far, my laundry is coming out very clean-smelling. It reminds me of my Mom ironing when I was little. That hot-iron-on-clean-laundry smell.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday, I took a focaccia class. Adam Gelroth, wearing the cow print, was our instructor.

We got it started, and while waiting for the dough to rise, took an impromptu frog walk. =)
This is Ann Taylor, she runs New Pond Farm.

They use the frogs in their classes, and have them on display in the reptile room. Ann lets them go after a couple of days, and catches new ones.

I got to put this guy in the pool, but he didn't want to go! He kept walking up my arm. Finally, he pushed off, and swam to the wall, and started to climb up! Silly frog!

When we went back to the kitchen, it was time to play with the dough some more. So I washed my hands and got back to work.

Adam had used a little too much olive oil... Here he is, using it up wisely.

Stretch, wait, poke, stretch, wait. Start putting stuff on top.

There's cheese, olives, and prosciutto. Then, there was more cheese...

Pop it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Let it cool for a few, and enjoy!

I love New Pond Farm!

Today, I did some gardening. Got the tomatoes in, some squash and zucchini, a little parsley and the rest of the rhubarb. Weeded, weeded, weeded. Sorry there are no pictures, I didn't take my camera.

But later, it rained

So bees with the Flanagan family was cancelled.

How was your day?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Bees

Gabrielle couldn't come today, she has a sick child at home. =(
So, I played with the bees all by myself. =) I was watching the observation hive, looking for the red-marked queen, when I saw a flash of red- But no, it wasn't her. It was a little worker who had brought in some lovely red pollen. =)

Pretty soon, I spotted the queen.

She had just checked out a queen cell. It's hard to see, but it's right above her.

I checked the other hives, topped off the sugar syrup, removed the entrance reducer on Gabrielles hive. (the others have mouse-guards.) I looked at the queen cell in the Taylors hive, it's still empty. It was probably from last years bees, since we re-use the frames. Looks like Gabrielles hive and the Taylors hive could use another super. The Flanagans hive is just starting to draw comb on their second super,

Then, I went to look at my girls.

Now you can really see the difference! I removed the entrance reducer on the wild hive, but left it on the other. I think I'll need another super on the wild hive soon. =)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Pond Farm May Fair

Yesterday was Fair day! There was sheep shearing, carding, weaving, hay rides, face painting, veggie plants for sale, Maypole dancing,

And of course, bees! All in all, a lot of fun. =)

Todays shot of my fermented mix:

I've pressed it down with a spoon, since the veggies should stay under the brine. And it's now in the 'fridge.
Who's coming over for a taste? =D

Saturday, May 18, 2013

#19 Upcycled Birdfeeders

Here they are, sorry I took so long!

This one is wants some more decorations, I hope to have time to do it before the tag sale that I'm planning!

This last one SOLD! At a tag sale that I helped out at. =) I have a few others started, more pictures to come when I've decorated a few more!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An easier day

All I managed to accomplish today was a little painting.

More of the same to come.

But, here's my fermenting project one day later:

It's starting to get juicy!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Busy Day

We started our morning at the Town Hall, where Erin was invited to participate in "Civic Day".

The kids were to shadow town officials for the day, so they were sworn in.

Erin was assigned to the Tax Collector, and off they went!

Please forgive the haze, it's the camera in my phone, I've lost the little protective outer lens . =(

I then ran to my class on fermenting, at New Pond Farm. This is Alex, New Pond Farms Program Director, and our instructor for the class. He spoke about fermenting keifer, yogurt, sourdough, and kimchi. He brought in something called "Curtido" which is like a latin american kraut. (I think it's similar to kimchi, too.)

Then we started making stuff. We cut up cabbage, carrots, onions, beets,

 ginger, dandelion, garlic mustard, some other herbs that I wish I remembered the name of, and a little salt.

 Mixed it all together, then mushed it! Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze... Stuff it in a jar.

And now we wait. He said let it sit for about two days, then put it in the 'fridge, where it could last forever! Getting a more tangy flavor as it ages.

We were able to sample some that he had made.

We mixed it with avocado, and had it on chips. Here's the avocado:

I was too busy eating to take anymore pictures! Yum!
Time to go scratch "ferment something" off my New Years List! =D

Quick! Back to Town Hall!

They had lunch for the kids. This was the best I could do, they just wouldn't stop making faces. -_-

The kids were awarded certificates.

Erin and her friends took the rest of the day off, and she went to play at their house... And I went to the garden! Where I found my new fence has already been destroyed.

Somebody went down the line, stomping on each post. My back hurts just thinking about fixing it. Again.
I did get several of the boxes weeded, and planted some sage, dill, and lavender. I spent about two hours there today.

Then it was back to pick her up, and check on my girls while I was there.

The wild bees are still more active, but Dave's girls are picking up a bit. =)

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a lazy day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Pond Farm Bees

 So I've volunteered to run the Adopt-a-Hive program at New Pond Farm. (Told you I'd been doing stuff!) And today I met Gabrielle. She's a nurse who will be visiting her hive on Mondays. I met the Flanagans last week, they'll be coming on Thursdays, but not this week. The Taylors haven't answered my e-mails yet, so I'll just watch their hive while they're busy.
 Gabrielle and I found and painted her queen.

 While I was there, I checked the Observation hive, Flanagan hive, and the Taylor hive. All looks well so far, but the Taylor hive has a queen cell started, I'll have to keep my eye on them.

 When I was done at New Pond, I went to check on my girls, and pick up the empty nuc boxes for David. Brave Kate had pulled the nuc boxes away from the hives. =) The wild swarm is very active, the other one not so much.
 This is a picture she sent me from her phone.

 I added a medium super to each hive anyway. I ran into Dave when I was returning his boxes, and he said that, that one nuc that he gave me wasn't as full as he'd have liked, and if I had any problems just to let him know and he'd fix it. =) That's a good seller! I'll have to keep a close eye on those girls.

 Over the weekend all the local plant clubs were having their spring/Mothers Day sales. I went with Sally on Friday to Ridgefield and Wilton. We brought Louie along for the ride.

 He's very popular with the ladies!

At Ridgefield, they had a few raffle baskets and I bought some tickets. And I won the bee basket!

I'm pretty sure the (now missing) tag said that it includes a beekeeping class at "The Hickories" which is a farm in Ridgefield that I've never been to! Inside the basket is a rubber honeycomb ice tray, some honey, some "honey soap", and  Marinas' book, which I haven't read yet,. Marina was the president of The Backyard Beekeepers Association last year, and she owns Red Bee. I don't know if the honey is hers or not, as there was also a card for "Just Desserts" by Kristen MC... Though, it was probably a recycled basket. I dunno.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Bees!

I know, I know... I haven't written in awhile. =(
I thought about writing everything to catch up, but that seemed too much like work. So, I've done stuff. I'll leave what I've done to your imagination. =)

But today! Today, I picked up two nucs from David and brought them to my friends house, where they're going to live.

This is my friend, Kate:

She was a little nervous, but jumped right in like a pro!

Then we noticed the hole.

Turns out, the girls had already found it!

Typical frame inspection shots here:

Kate spotted the queen, she's got a spot of yellow paint. That's because she was born last year, this years color is red.

The nuc hive in the front was wild caught last year. (Proving that it can be done!) And the other, with the painted queen, David raised himself.

And we were done!

Thank you Erin for taking the pictures safely behind the window.

Afterwards, we went to a plant sale. And dug around in Kate's garden. More on that tomorrow! (Maybe)