Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Official! We are now Bee Keepers!!!

No surprise to many just how busy we have been. Yeah, yeah,'ve heard it all before..but REALLY! We HAVE been busy!

Last weekend we were in Chicago for the National Restaurant Show (had a great time, LOVE Chicago!) and then came home to build the bee hives! This is what happens when you take something as earthly natural as Bees...and do what you can to replicate what they naturally do in nature. I think they are all chuckling as they go collecting nectar and pollen because we humans are looking after a lot of their needs and getting very little in return. Or so the bees might think!

We have had fun taking the classes (me), reading about it, building the hives and all that goes into the hives, visiting other bee keepers, reading the Sonoma County Beekeepers Yahoo emails (FABULOUS resource even if you don't live in the area) We have found beekeepers to be passionate, opinionated, passionate and oh, did I mention, passionate? It is the ultimate hobby if you like puzzles, mysteries, strategies, design, honey, and the general love of bees and what they do for us. Farmer Jeff has had loads of fun building and painting (the hive stand and the supers) and I have had fun putting the wax comb foundation into the frames and then embedding the support wires. It is a much more complicated process than I was previously aware. I was a little wary/daunted by the task, but then I figured if my brother could do it, so could I! (Sorry, Pat, I guess I am competitive at heart!)

We have been having lots of fun taking pictures and documenting the whole process of building the hives and bringing them "home". I have scads of photos posted on our official farm website:

Just click on the photo gallery page and you can see all of our latest photos. Actually, we are getting ready to move the blog over to this website, so please take a moment to change your Eastside Farm Chronicles bookmark over to and you will always have access to the blog and pictures! The general store is still in the works, but SOON!!!

Chicken Update:
All of the "little kids" have now been integrated into the various pens. The Ameraucana teenagers now look like young adults and are getting accustomed to living with the slightly bigger girls. The two males of the group still haven't discovered "their equipment" and probably won't for another couple of months.

The Welsumers and Lucretia Borgia, the bantam Booted Belgian hen, are spending lots of time together and are very docile, almost friendly. Lucretia is actually quite tame and not at all flighty like her counterpart, Katerina.

The four French feather-legged Marans are just now getting used to being out of their little cage. We tried letting them out last week but their little back feathers we too small and therefore drew attention. Attention = pecking mercilessly so they were protected until those feathers grew in...this morning! They are running around the pen like deer caught in the headlights...but they will get used to it all!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bully, the Brahma, defending her eggs

In living with as many animals as we do, I find myself "zoomorphosizing" folks, giving them animal attributes, the opposite of anthropomorphizing, which ascribes human characteristics to either animals or inanimate objects, like our cars or sewing machines or...?

Just the other day I found myself describing a friend's actions as that of a wounded dog, not wanting to show the vulnerable side for fear of attack. I also caught myself describing someone unwilling to give up total control by describing when I am collecting eggs and can't pick all of them up at once. The hen will quietly and discreetly extend her wing over the egg, slide it back towards her body and glide over it, now hiding it from me. I have a real hard time taking it away from them again after this sly maneuver.

The most embarrassing...when I am in the middle of imitating one of my animals behavior, complete with body contortions, facial expressions and deep, guttural noises. There is no lady like recovery from that show!

I love my animals and can't even begin to count all of the mouths we feed. The numbers will jump exponentially when we get our bees in two weeks. I am dizzy just thinking of that many creatures I will be mothering. What is another 30,000 mouths?

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Monday, May 04, 2009

The Earth's Axis MUST be Spinning Faster

Doesn't it feel as though life is speeding up...or is that just me? Maybe it is just Spring and that is our time to hurry up and grow! I mean, work! Whatever the reason, we find ourselves very busy!

We have been experiencing a late Spring storm and are expecting another 2 inches of rain today. So much for mowing the lawn. I can't complain...we so badly need the rain! It did slightly dampen the spirits for our first Healdsburg Farmers Market...but only slightly. It was fun to finally make it to market and I couldn't stop smiling, even in the rain!

It was a bit dreary picking in the rain. I was not a happy camper. On the other hand, we ended up with a "body" of Swiss chard!

I found myself with time to spare while at market and took pictures down the aisle.

While I was at market, Chef Jeff was over at Relish Culinary Adventures teaching a class on Cheesemaking! (yes, another skill!) I wandered over to the school after market, dried off, and was able to take some pictures as well as sample the fabulous fresh mozzarella (in a beet salad and on pizza!) and then fresh Meyer Lemon ricotta in Cannoli. YUM!!!

Yesterday was the Annual Gathering for the membership of Sonoma County Farm Trails. Chef Farmer Jeff and I, along with other board members, produced the food for the event. It was great to be able to visit with everyone! Farm Trails also gives scholarships to 4 high school seniors that are heading into a career in the agricultural field. It is so great to meet and recognize the next generation of farmer.

We are getting ready for another week All good...but it prompted Chef Jeff to decant our vinegar (yes, he does sleep, but he wakes up with far more energy than I!!!) Here is a picture of our first BIG batch of Eastside Farm Vinegar!

Have a great week!

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