We made a hivetop bee feeder this afternoon. As nectar gets more scarce during the winter we need to feed a thick sugar syrup to the bees for their winter food. Each of the hives has one of these.
This box has two parts. On the left is an area open to the hive below where bees can enter. They crawl over the low wall and cling to the screen to get to the sugar water. If they get past the screen and into the open sugar-water ocean they drown. Bees don’t swim well.
Time to get the garden ready for winter. We cleared out the remaining dead plants, and then tilled in a load of mulch and some rotted straw. Some lettuce will remain under cold frames to eat all winter long. The fall garlic planting is up and will grow all winter long for harvest in early summer.
Lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower are still growing, despite having several nights of lower 20 degree weather. We’ll keep it as long as it continues to grow!
We have started to harvest our small plot of peanuts. By this time of year they should be about a foot tall, bushy, and turning brown. Peanuts sprout from the shell, grow, then send out shoots from the leaves that touch the ground and form more peanuts.
At least, that’s the theory. This year not so much. After a dry summer they had not grown much. Then Hurricane Matthew came and dumped 7″ of rain. And THEN they decided to grow. The new peanuts in the shell decided to grow also, so instead of a lot of peanuts, we have new peanut plants. They are confused.
We will be able to harvest some, but not as many as hoped for.
We have our first greenhouse tomato. This particular plan came from the compost heap of summer. One of our green thumb neighbors suggested we cut a slip and stick it in water until it rooted. It did, we planted it, and it grew.
There are no natural pollinators in the greenhouse, so we get to play honeybee and touch the inside of each tomato flower with a small brush to gather pollen, go on to the next flower, and so on. It must have worked!
Tomatos are categorized as either ‘Determinate’ or ‘Indeterminate’. The first one to produce is a determinate variety, meaning it gets to about 4 feet tall, and then the entire crop seems to come at one time. Indeterminate varieties grow and produce throughout the growing season
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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
These are the best! Recipe comes from King Arthur Flour.
2/3 C light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 C granulated sugar
½ C unsalted butter, right from the fridge or at room temperatue
½ C shortening
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vinegar (cider or white)
1 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
2 C unbleached flour
2 C semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
1. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.
2. Beat in the egg, again beating until smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
3. Mix in the flour, then the chips.
4. Use a tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop 1 ¼” balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2” between cookies.
5. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the pan until they are set. Cool completely on wire racks.