Oxalic acid is a naturally occurring acid within the hive. We can use this acid from common wood bleach, sold at most hardware stores, to create a last varroa mite treatment for the fall before we seal the hives for winter. Keeping our bees varroa free greatly increases their chances of winter survival. When the bees are clustered in their hive in late fall, find a day where the temperatures reach 50ºF or greater. Here in Central New Jersey, we perform our Oxalic Acid Dribble treatment around Thanksgiving.
600mL warm water
35g wood bleach
600g white table sugar (roughly 3 cups)
Mix the warm water and wood bleach until the bleach crystals are dissolved. Next add the table sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Test the temperature to ensure it will not scald the bees.
To apply to the bees, dribble with a syringe at the rate of 5mL per seam. A seam is the gap or space between the frames within the hive. Do not exceed more than 50mL per colony. Again, ensure the temperature outdoors is around 50ºF.
We Italians take our pizza extremely seriously. Homemade pie is served up in our household at least once per week and while the kids have their usual favorite, I prefer to vary it up and try new combinations. This recent recipe, inspired by my first lemon harvest from my own tree, is a definite keeper. And note that the term “white pizza” doesn’t imply white sauce. A white pizza means there simply is no sauce so we rely on the flavors of rosemary and fresh lemon in this recipe to give our tastebuds the burst of flavor.
For the cracker crust (makes two crusts)
1 cup all purpose flour plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
For the toppings
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
One container of mozzarella cheese balls (small size)
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley
olive oil for drizzling
salt and pepper
A handful of arugula for sprinkling on top (about 1/2 cup) - optional
Start by preparing the crust. Add all crust ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer equipped with a dough hook. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. While mixing place a baking stone inside the oven if desired and preheat the oven to 500°F.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. On a sheet of parchment paper dusted with flour, roll out one of the two balls of dough into a circular shape until it is thin. The crust will measure about 1/8” thick and the pizza crust size should form roughly a 10” circle. Poke holes throughout the center of the pizza with a fork to prevent air bubbles. With a pizza peel or a cookie sheet, slide the crust into the fully heated oven (onto the baking stone if using, or place the parchment paper directly on the oven rack). Close the door and bake for 2 minutes. This allows for a crispier crust.
Remove the crust and parchment paper and leave on pizza peel or cookie sheet while assembling toppings. Add garlic and shallots. Top with cheese. Next add thinly sliced lemon and seasonings. Slide the pizza back into the oven and cook for about 5 minutes or until the pizza has browned to your liking. Pull from the oven and immediately drizzle with olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Let rest for about 2 minutes. When ready to serve, cut into slices. Eat as is or top with fresh arugula.
Some recipes come down to a science and others are put together by feel. I often crave simple lunches of nothing more than bread sliced and topped with something savory. I pull what's in season from the garden or check my fridge for bits and pieces. Feel free to adjust the ingredients in this recipe to fit your tastes. Perfect for lunch or an easy appetizer.
I started growing my own food because I'm a foodie; I love cooking with fresh ingredients and getting the most flavor I can for each meal I prepare. This rustic homemade pizza was inspired by what's in season; I let my garden be my grocery store and combine seasonal flavors with my favorite homemade crust recipe.
1 pizza crust (store-bought or homemade)
12 oz. Bleu or Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
1 Delicata squash, seeded and sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 shallot, sliced
1 cup arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
Roast the Squash
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the slices of squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 8-10 minutes, until slightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Make the Balsamic Glaze
In a small saucepan combine the balsamic vinegar and the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let simmer until glaze is thickened and easily coats the back of a spoon (usually around 10 minutes). When finished, remove from heat and set aside.
Assemble the Pizza
Raise oven heat to 500F. Place pizza crust on a piece of parchment paper. Top with cheese crumbles. Next top the cheese with the roasted squash slices, shallot, arugula, and dried cranberries. Use a baking sheet or pizza peel to slide underneath the parchment paper and transfer the paper and pizza to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbles (roughly 8-10 minutes). Remove from the oven and cool and let sit for 2 minutes. With a spoon, drizzle the balsamic glaze over the pizza. Slice and serve.
This butternut squash soup recipe is the only one you'll ever need. You can easily substitute pumpkin or acorn squash for the butternut and the sweet potato adds a little flavor boost. Don't let the fact that this recipe is vegan deter you; it's seriously delicious. Or just swap half and half cream for the coconut milk if you really can't get on board.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Butternut squash, sliced and seeds removed*
1 sweet potato, halved lengthwise
1 white onion, halved
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
vegetable stock for thinning the soup of needed
Heat oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the sliced squash, sweet potato and onion on the sheet. Roast for 25 minutes. Open the oven and add the garlic cloves to the sheet. Roast for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool to the touch, scoop the flesh from the squash and sweet potato. Discard the skins and place the flesh into a blender. Add the roasted garlic, onion and coconut milk and purée until smooth. Pour the soup base into a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the maple syrup and seasonings and bring to a simmer. Heat thoroughly for 10 minutes and thin with vegetable stock if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve.
*The seeds can be saved and served as a garnish for the soup. Simply remove any pulp, rinse with water and toss to coat with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast while the squash and sweet potato cook for 8-10 minutes.
Nighttime temperatures are beginning to get pretty chilly around here. I’ve switched over to sugar cakes for my hives because liquid feed will run the risk of getting too cold soon, causes moisture and humidity within the hive during chilly months (which is a big no no), and they last a while! The bees love these sugar patties for winter time feeding.
20 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
1 tsp HoneyBHealthy supplement
1 tsp distilled while vinegar or apple cider vinegar
bread loaf moulds*
Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Stir constantly until a simmer is reached. Insert candy thermometer. Continue to heat and stir in regular intervals until the candy thermometer reads 234°F. This will take a while so be patient, observant and continue to stir regularly. Once desired temperature is reached pour the sugar solution into the moulds. The sugar will continue to boil and breathe as it cools and hardens.
Sugar cakes can be made in large batches, wrapped in parchment paper and stored in the refrigerator or in a cool dry place until use.
*Sugar cakes are to be placed directly on the brood frames. I use a shim/spacer/rim spacer directly above my brood box to allow space for the sugar cake. Note the size in height of the spacer/shim you are using in your hive. Mine is about 2" tall. Ensure that the amount of sugar solution you pour into each mould will not be taller than the hive spacer and will still fit within the hive. My sugar cakes are just short of 2" tall within the moulds. I then place the inner cover above my spacer.
Many hours of baking, help and input from friends, and a lot of trial and error loaves have led to this sourdough recipe. I'm always working to create the perfect loaf, but this recipe is my go-to and default sourdough formula.
2 cups fed sourdough starter
4oz. potato flour
4.5 cups of bread flour (more if needed)
1 Tablespoon of salt
1 Tablespoon gluten (optional)
Combine water, starter, and potato flour into a bowl. Barely mix until just combined and let rest for 1 hour. This is the autolyse phase. Mix gently and add the bread flour, salt and gluten (if using). Mix until well combined and knead for several minutes with the dough hook on a standing mixer. The dough should form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Form loaves and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or place loaves into bread baskets. Rise for 4-6 hours depending on humidity levels and desired loaf size. Heat oven to 500F. Turn risen loaves out of bread baskets (if using) onto parchment lined baking sheets. Score the top with desired cuts and then insert into the preheated oven. Grab a handful of ice cubes, open the oven door, throw them in the bottom of the oven, and quickly shut the door. This causes steam which creates crispier loaf crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the loaf is a deep golden color. Cool on a wire rack and slice to serve. I keep my loaves wrapped in a floursack towel and on the kitchen counter for storage.
Already this year we’ve had the flu in our house. And strep. And colds. My go-to strategy for quick healing is a super hot detox bath and a whole lot of Healing Ginger Broth. This recipe is filled with loads of antimicrobials, antibacterials and antioxidants. Use as a base for soup or do what I do and just drink the broth right out of a mug.
8 cups water
2 large carrots sliced
6 cloves garlic, whole
1 medium onion, quartered
1 leek, halved
1-1” chunk of ginger, sliced
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley to taste
Throw everything in a large stockpot and simmer for 1 hour. Strain out the solids and leave the broth.
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup freshly fed sourdough starter
1.5 cups milk (plant or dairy)
1 duck egg (or two chicken eggs)
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla or lemon zest
Combine dry ingredients with a whisk in large bowl to remove lumps. And wet ingredients and mix to combine. Heat your favorite pan or griddle (we use cast iron) and grease with butter or oil. Drop a ladleful of batter onto the skillet and continue cooking as you would a typical pancake.
I feel there are certain badges a homesteader earns along the way; making a decent bar of soap, learning to can goods, and knowing how to bake a great loaf of farmhouse bread. We're big bread people so the last one is important to us here at the farm! Here's our recipe for a super easy, last minute loaf:
1.5 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon honey
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tablespoon dry yeast
About 4 cups bread flour
Combine water, honey, salt, oil and yeast in a bowl. Let sit until bubbly (about 5-10 minutes). Knead in the flour until well mixed and dough forms. Cover with a dish towel to rise for 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 400F. Divide dough into two balls and roll out two loaves and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven. Immediately grab six ice cubes and toss into the bottom of the oven, being quick to close the door to keep the steam inside (steam creates a crisp crust). Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove when the loaves are a nice golden brown color and let cool on a wire rack before slicing.