Sunday, 26 October 2014

My New Assistant Through The Shift in Seasons

 We had the distinct pleasure of having our wee Grand-daughter, Penny live with us for nearly 3 weeks while her baby brother was in hospital having surgery.  I've raised 5 kids and am perfectly capable of handling toddlers (even unruly ones) but oh MY, I'm not as young as I used to be!  The days were busy and I was certainly tired at the end of them...  I'm a bit out of practice as to how long everything takes when you have a little "helper" (wink).   After I adjusted my expectations, everything turned out splendidly.

Penny helped me do all manner of chores here from harvesting veggies to caring for the chickens and even preserving food.     

It was quite amazing to see how capable she was - I would dig and she would bend over and collect carrots and potatoes, happily plopping them into the basket and bucket.  She could work for hours this way... slowly and carefully getting the job done.  At one point, she spontaneously said "Hard Working" with such pride - it was a fantastic moment for me.   I do believe that she felt a terrific sense of accomplishment in harvesting food for the table.  There's nothing like the pleasure of receiving thanks from everyone at the table for the delicious potatoes and carrots on their plate.  She positively GLOWED!  Children need meaningful work in their days and I can think of no other work  more rewarding than growing food for the table.

Of course we mustn't forget the honey...  oh, the HONEY!  We harvested quite a few bars of comb which has provided a wonderful sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for ALL of us.   We made some mistakes this year as new beekeepers, but that's okay.  I fully expected to make them and actually welcomed them as a chance to learn.  Thanks to frequent hive checks and lots of watching and reading, the bees are healthy and free of disease, the hives are in great shape going into winter, and we were able to harvest a little bit of honey.  I wish there were words to describe the taste - it's absolutely delicious! Everyone agrees that we all can taste peppermint and orange as well as lavender and liquorice.  The bees were incredibly busy gathering pollen and nectar from a a great diversity of species on our property (and beyond) this summer so I shouldn't be surprised by the taste, but gosh, the flavour is SO beautiful and complex compared to commercial honey.  I'm HOOKED on beekeeping!

Miss Penny had no idea what she was holding until we told her to push her finger in...  it came out covered in honey but her brow remained furrowed until she licked that sticky finger then oh BOY her face lit up like a Christmas tree and she dove in for more!  It was priceless...  "Like that honey, Grandma!  Bees make that!  Penny like it!"


In the end we have 7 quarts of honey plus some lovely wax to make candles from.  We chose to leave extra honey for the bees as "insurance" in case our winter is long...  I couldn't BEAR to take any more.   I have such a profound appreciation for every drop of that golden nectar and a tremendous respect for the honeybee.  If there's any honey leftover in Spring, we'll harvest then.

Finally, the last of our tomatoes ripened.  I canned sauce and fermented salsa for weeks and now the pleasure of eating it all is our reward for a season of hard work.  Frankly, I don't want to see another tomato for many months.

Our darling Grandson, Owen is finally home and is doing wonderfully following heart surgery.  It was a tough month for him but he fought hard and bounced back thanks to a terrific fight!   He is as his name suggests - a true warrior.  We are so proud of him and we love him dearly XO 

As I finish off this post, the first snow is falling...  I'm okay with that because I'm tired of working outdoors and I'm ready to be inside.  The sewing machine is calling name as is the basket of wool (currently under a sleeping cat).  It's time to turn inward and nest in preparation for a long winter...