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Archive for the ‘bees’ Category

This week we focused on the Outdoor Hour Challenge Crop Plants #1Clover that is at the Handbook of Nature Study website.

Throughout this post, three different typefaces are used:
– Bold – are words from the Handbook of Nature Study website.
– Italics – are words from the book titled Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.
– Regular – are my own words.

Inside Preparation Work

1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 591-598.
These pages cover three sections in the Handbook of Nature Study but are closely related. I encourage you to read all the pages even if you do not think you have the particular clover in your area. Use your highlighter to mark sections you found interesting and that at some point you want to share with your children in the follow-up activity.


You can do an internet search for each of these kinds of clover so you and your children will know what you are looking for during your Outdoor Hour time this week. I use Google Images.


=>White Clover
=>Red Clover (Vermont’s State Flower)
=>Buffalo Clover
=>Crimson Clover
=>Rabbit Clover


This is some information from the Handbook of Nature Study that I found interesting and shared with the girls:


– Clover has for centuries been a most valuable forage crop; and…it has been the special partner of the bees, giving them honey for their service in carrying as pollen.



Those blossoms which are lowest, or on the outside of the head, blossom first.

White Clover

– All of them have upon their roots the little swellings, or nodules, which are the houses in which the beneficient bacteria grow. 



– If we pull up or dig out the roots of alfalfa or…clovers…we find upon the rootlets little swellings whic hare called nodules, or root tubercles.


– Each nodule is a nestful of living beings so small that it would take twenty-five thousand of them end to end to reach an inch.


– Even a little swelling can hold many of these minute organisms, which are called bacteria.


– The bacteria…are…underground partners of these plants.  The clover roots give the bacteria homes and places to grow, and in return these are able to extract a very valuable chemical fertilizer from the air, and to change its form so that the clovers can absorb it. The name of these substance is nitrogen.


– Clover roots, which penetrate very deeply, protect land from being washed away by…heavy rains.


– Clover foliage makes a thick carpet over the surface of the soil [and] prevents evaporation and thus keeps the soil moist.


– [Sweet clover has] a perfume so sweet, so suggestive of honey…in the blossoms. It may be the species with white blossoms or the one with yellow flowers.

Field of sweet clover in
Custer State Park, South Dakota.

– [It is] beneficial alike to man, bee, and soil.


– [Sweet clover can grow] on soil so poor that it can only attain a height of from two to four feet; but if it…gets foothold on a generous soil, it rises majestically ten feet tall.


– The blossom stalk…is at first an inch or so long, packed closely with little green buds having pointed tips.  But as soon as the blossoming begins, the stalk elongates, bringing the flowers farther apart.


– [White clover has] flowers [that] are all in one bunch, the tip of the stalk making the center of the clover head.

Clover growing in the backyard.

– The leaves are very pretty.

White clover leaves.

– The white clover, in common with other clovers, has the…habit of going to sleep at night.  Clover leaves fold at the middle, the three drawing near each other, looks like going to sleep.

Olivia looking a clover leaf she found.
They each picked a young leaf and older leaf
and compared the markings.
(The older ones have a more pronounced design in white on each leaflet.)



– The clover head is made up of many little flowers; each one has a tubular calyx with five delicate points and a little stalk.

Clover head made up of tiny little flowers.
This one is in the backyard.

– The outside blossoms open first; and as soon as they are open, the honey bees, which eagerly visit white clover wherever it is growing, begin at once their work of gathering nectar and carrying pollen.

New clover with the outside blossoms opening first.



– White-clover honey is in the opinion of many the most delicious honey made from any flowers except, perhaps, orange blossoms.  So valuable is the white clover as a honey plant that apiarist often grow acres of it for their bees.


Outdoor Time

2. Your outdoor time this week can be spent in your yard or at a near-by park.
Look for areas of lawn or pastures that may include clover. You may find clover at the edges of trails as well so keep your eyes out as you have your outdoor time this week.


We use to have a beekeeper who had several hives here.  This past winter was particularly difficult for the bees, and he lost all the bees. So, this is the first year in many years that we haven’t had bees here.

Beehive 2
One of the beehives that was here for many years.
After this past winter, which was very difficult,
there are no longer beehives here.



One of the years, he suggested planting white clover near the bees. The clover has since spread throughout different areas of the farm – the nature trail (which is used as a pasture during the late-fall and winter), backyard, and main pasture.

Clover growing in the backyard.



3. Another subject for your outdoor hour time could be the honeybee. The relationship between clover and honeybees is a beneficial one and if you can observe bees in the clover you have witnessed a great partnership.


We did a study about bees several years ago, learning about the different types of bees, and the different stages of honey (from the bees gathering the nectar to harvesting). This was a fun hands-on lesson that had the girls pretending they were bees as they visited different activity stations (e.g., clean the hives, drink nectar).


This time we went out and sat by the clover for a while to see if any bees visited the flowers.  We didn’t see any in the backyard.  However, later while I was mowing on the nature trail where there’s a combination of white and red clover, there were some bees visiting the red clover.
4. Pollen can be a topic for your outdoor hour time if you don’t find clover or honeybees. You can review Outdoor Hour Challenge #18 if you need help knowing where to look for pollen.


We found plenty of clover so we didn’t focus on pollen during this nature study.


Follow-Up Activity


5. After your outdoor time, make sure to discuss with your children what interested them from their nature study this week. They may be more interested in learning about something they observed and our job as parents is to help them answer their questions. Use the Handbook of Nature Study by looking up the topic in the index or the table of contents.


In the Handbook of Nature Study, on page 593, there is a section on nodules. The nodules will be found as little “swellings” on the roots of clover. These nodules have an important job which is explained in the Handbook of Nature Study on the same page. Make sure to read this section to yourself so when you have your follow-up activity you will be prepared to talk about nodules.


Sophia wanted to know if you can eat clover. Told her that it is edible so she tried some. “Please do not take a picture of me eating clover,” she said. She tried it and said it had a “pleasant” taste…”kind of sweet.”

Sophia holding some clover and
wondering if it was edible.

Found some recipes for ways that clover can be used for eating. Since there’s an abundance of clover on the nature trail, we will pick some of that later this week and make some recipes using clover. In the mean time, there are recipes listed below that use clover.
5. On page 594 in the lesson, #3 suggests that you take up the clover plant and look at its roots. This would make a great addition to your nature journal. Sketch the whole clover plant and then perhaps one of the flowers.


The girls picked several clover plants and leaves to draw in their nature journal and observe closer with a magnifying glass indoors.

Olivia holding a clover leaf and blossom
that she brought indoors to draw.

We did not dig any of the clover plants up since it was so hot outside (almost 90 degrees). On a cooler day, this would be an interesting thing to do.
6. On page 598 in the lesson, #5 suggests that you tie a string around a clover head that has not yet blossomed. This way you can observe the same flower over a period of several days. You could record each day’s observations in your nature journal either in words or as a sketch.


There were many clover plants in different stages of growth in the backyard. The girls looked for ones at the early stages of growth, middle, and end.

Sophia looking for clover in different stages of growth.



Optional activity: Find some clover honey at your grocery store and enjoy it on bread or in some herbal tea.


We enjoyed some honey that was produced from the bees/hives on our farm.


Other activities


I read on Healthy Home Gardening that “Native Americans used whole clover plants in salads, and made a white clover leaf tea for coughs and colds. Leaves of white clover are edible, raw or cooked. The young leaves are best harvested before the plant flowers, and can be used in salads, soups etc.


“They can be used as a vegetable, cooked like spinach. Flowers and seed pods have been dried, ground into a powder and used as a flour or sprinkled on cooked foods such as boiled rice. The young flowers can also be eaten raw in salads. The root can be eaten if cooked first.


“A sweet herb tea is made from the fresh or dried flowers. It is considered delicate. The dried leaves impart a vanilla flavor if mixed into cakes etc.”


The recipe below is from the Manataka American Indian Council


Clover Soup


Ingredients:


2 cups clover flowers and leaves
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter (we used dairy-free butter)
2 pints water
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper to taste


Directions:


Clean and dip clover flowers and leaves in cold salted water. Remove and cut into pieces. In a large saucepan, sauté flowers, leaves and onions in butter.


When all is softened add water, then potatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for 20 minutes. Drain the cooking liquid and save it.


Puree potato mixture and dilute with the cooking liquid, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Can sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese if desired.


White Clover Salad


Make a fresh salad using lettuce and onions from the garden.  Sprinkle white clover blossoms on top.


White Clover Tea


White clover has many health benefits. According to the Peterson Field Guide of Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, American Indians used leaf tea for colds, coughs, fevers, and leukorrhea. In European folk medicine, flower tea is used for rheumatism and gout. Like red clover, white clover contains the estrogenic isoflavone genistein which has cancer-preventative properties and antioxidants.


To make white clover tea:


1. Pick fresh flowers and leaves.
2. Rinse.
3. Place in a tea kettle or small pot with water.
4. Heat to almost boiling.
5. Strain into tea cup.
6. Add sugar or honey (if desired).


We enjoyed learning about clover and its benefit to bees and environment.  It was an added bonus to learn about its use throughout history by American Indians as well as other in folk remedies.  I’m sure that when we use the blossoms in a variety of food this weekend, it will be something that we will remember for a long time!


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On 5 Kids and a Dog, there’s a series called the ABCs of Homeschooling.  This week’s letter is “J.” 

Alphabet ATC or ACEO Available - Needlefelted Letter J ….is for Joy

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy
in creative expression and knowledge.
~~ Albert Einstein ~~

As I look at pictures of homeschooling, joy is a word that comes to mind. It is most often expressed when we’re doing hands-on activities and bringing to life what we learn through reading about different subjects. 

Sometimes, joy comes from the girls making connections on their own.  For example, Sophia was having fun building a snowman and making a pinecone heart near it one day during the winter.  She was so happy with how both turned out. 

She put birdseed in the snowman’s hat so the birds had another feeder to visit. She left carrots on the ground for the rabbits or deer.

Sophia with Snowman Bird Feeder and Pinecone Heart
Sophia with the snowman and pinecone heart she made
inspired by the book Stranger in the Woods.

She told me after she made the snowman that she was thinking about the book, Stranger in the Woods as she was making the snowman. It’s interesting to see how Sophia and Olivia both are inspired by books that I read to them as part of homeschooling, and how that translates into their play and learning.

I also see joy in the girls’ faces when they are doing something they love to do and at which they feel skilled.  Olivia has always enjoyed coloring and could spend the majority of her days coloring (that…or coloring and doing puzzles). 

Olivia with Egyptian Pyramid
Olivia showing jewelry she colored
and was wearing as part of the Egyptian unit study.

In the photo above, Olivia is holding a paper pyramid that has facts about pyramids on each side. She also is wearing paper jewelry she colored.  These weren’t projects that were displayed in the house or worn after multiple times.  Rather, she put them on and wanted to show what she did – and she radiated joy. 

After she was done, she took off the jewelry and carefully put it in her Egypt 3-ring binder in a protective sheet holder.  In that way, every time she looks at it, it can remind her of how much she enjoyed coloring at that point in her life.

Another time that the girls are joyful is when we spend time cooking and baking together…and then sampling what we made. 

Tea Party with Hungarian Treats
Having a tea party with food made
as part of the geography unit study about Hungary.
The girls and I have made foods that we enjoyed (like cookies and coffeecake as shown in the picture above).  Likewise, we’ve also made some food that none of us would like to eat again (Ukrainian sauerkraut and Welsh Oatcakes).  

Whether or not we enjoyed the food, the experience of cooking together brought us all a lot of joy and happpiness.  We were sharing time and creating special memories that we all can enjoy looking back upon.

Having opportunities to play and creatively express oneself are important parts of homeschooling as well.  Playing, pretending, and dramatic expression all foster creativity and being able to think independently…rather than having someone tell you what to do and when to do it. 

Sophia Ready to Start Beekeeping
Sophia was pretending to be a beekeeper after
learning about bees, beekeeping, and honey
during a home economics lesson.
Being able to exercise together and be outdoors always makes us happy.  Joy is often shown with huge smiles and laughter, especially when we’re riding bikes; playing badminton or croquet in the backyard; or walking the dogs or horses.

Olivia Riding Behind Me
Olivia riding her bike on a beautiful spring day.
Her bike is actually attached to mine (a tag-a-long bike),
thus the odd angle of this photo.

Living in the country on a small hobby farm means the wheelbarrow is used at least once each week…if not more often.  Many times, Sophia gives Olivia rides in the wheelbarrow.  No matter where you are here, you can hear Olivia laughing as she’s bumped and jostled on the rides.

In addition to having fun, the wheelbarrow rides are good for their bodies.  Both girls have sensory integration dysfunction (aka sensory processing disorder), so pushing a heavy load (for Sophia) and getting input from the ride (for Olivia) help address some of the needs that their bodies have because of SID.

Having Fun in the Wheelbarrow
The girls having fun in the backyard.

Since the girls were infants, they have enjoyed swinging.  When they were under a year old, they would be pushed and would fall asleep while the wind blew, birds sang, and sun gently warmed them.  They were so content and at peace while swinging…a more quiet form of joy.

Olivia Swinging
Olivia in a moment of pure joy
while swinging!
Swinging each day when it’s not raining or well below zero with bone-chilling winds, is both relaxing and exhilarating for the girls…often at the same time.  When they have too much energy and can’t focus on learning, taking some time to go on the swings helps get some of the energy out.  In the process, they are laughing and joking, and having a wonderful time.  They come in awhile later ready to begin homeschooling again.

Homeschooling is about joy.  And when I think about joy — about happiness — I think of spending time together; creating memories; and learning about new things and gaining new skills. 

Joy is present each day we homeschool.  I know that because I hear it through laughter; and see it through smiles and love shown to one another.
 

Nez Perce - Beaded Necklace
Sophia wearing a beaded necklace she made
during a unit study about the Nez Perce during the 1700s.
Hearing joy expressed through laughter
is what homeschooling represents.

Your success and happiness lies in you.
Resolve to keep happy; and
your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
~~ Helen Keller ~~

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Each month, the Unique Women in Business team does a Blog Hop focused on a different theme.  For April, the focus is on celebrating womanhood.

Each woman has many roles in her lifetime.  At some stage in her life, a woman may only have a couple of roles (perhaps a daughter and niece, for example). 

My Niece's Hand
One of my niece’s hand. Her fingers are saying
“I love you”
in American Sign Language (ASL).

At another stage in her life, a woman could have many roles such as: daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, friend, wife or partner, mother, grandmother, worker, volunteer, leader, follower, nurturer, caregiver, peacemaker, teacher, artist, or more. 

Nana and the Girls
My mom with two of her grandchildren:
Sophia and Olivia (my daughters).

Some of these roles are not of one’s choice – they are made by others…while other ones are clearly personal choices. 

Two of the roles that I have chosen are: stay-at-home mother and homeschool educator.  When I was younger, I did not even envision my life as having children in it…much less being a mother who homeschools her two daughters.  Yet, being a mother and homeschool teacher have been two of the most challenging and rewarding roles in my life!

Girls in Awe as Monarch Flies Away
The girls watching a a monarch
that they raised from a caterpillar
fly in front of them. 
This particular monarch stayed around them
for quite a while before flying to the pasture. 
It was such a memorable and amazing moment for us all!

Prior to adopting Sophia in 2000, I was content with running a non-profit organization that I founded that offered art and farm camps to children; a teen mentorship program; and volunteer program for individuals, families, corporate teams, and individuals required to do court-ordered community service.  A good percentage of my year was spent writing proposals and seeking funding to do the camp program; and writing curricula for each of the camp weeks. 

Once Sophia and Olivia were adopted from orphanages in China, and their special needs were diagnosed in the United States (both came with referrals as “healthy” children), life took a very different…and unexpected…turn. 

With Olivia requiring in-home therapy multiple days per week from an occupational therapist, physical therapist, and special education instructor combined with therapy that I needed to do with her multiple times per day, my decision to end my outside-of-the-home career was necessary.

Playing in the Body Sack
Sophia and Olivia playing in the Body Sack I made.
It was designed so that they could go into the tube of fabric
and move, crawl, and stand up
(they were small enough to do that at the time this picture was taken).
It helped both of them with their sensory issues
(sensory integration dysfunction); and
helped them identify where their bodies started and ended
(a proprioceptive issue).

I have learned a tremendous amount over the past 11 years in terms of special needs; health/medical issues; developmental delays; learning disabilities; educational philosophies and methods; and a variety of subjects that I have taught the girls….just to name a few areas of growth.

Womanhood, though, isn’t limited to child rearing. While this is certainly an important role and is central to many women’s lives, there is so much more that we (as women) are called to do.

One of the things that I believe celebrates being a woman (and that I try to make a central focus of my life) is is of helping and serving others – whether people are struggling financially, emotionally, or physically.  Women can help individuals outside their family or they can choose to focus on providing support and care for their own family or aging parents.

Looking at the Sensory and Memory Quilt
My dad looking at the sensory and memory quilt
that I made for him (he has Alzheimer’s Disease). 
I gave him the quilt for Christmas 2009.

As the Washington Post reported in its June 16, 2009 issue, “Assistance for frail elders comes, the majority of the time, from a single individual. More specifically, from a woman: Seven of every 10 adult children who help frail parents are daughters.”

Another way in which women can celebrate their gifts is by working with their hands and sharing their creativity with others.  I believe that creativity can inspire, encourage, and even provide comfort to others. With only one lifetime given to us, it’s important to use our time wisely to make things that are wholesome, beautiful, nourishing, and inspiring. 

Mary Mom Me Sophia Olivia
From left to right:  My sister, my mom, me,
Sophia, and Olivia on my mom’s 80th birthday (April 24, 2010).
I made the quilt she’s holding. 
It has the handprints of each family member on white squares. 
On the blue squares, I hand-embroidered words that
were qualities her family used to describe her.

As Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” It’s worth taking some time to think about how you can make a difference with your gifts and skills.

The poem, Beauty of a Woman, was written by the late eduactor-humorist Sam Levinson for his grandchild and read by Audrey Hepburn on Christmas Eve, 1992.  I think it is a wonderful poem that celebrates womanhood:

For attractive lips,
speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise,
walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,

you’ll find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands,

one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in

the clothes she wears,
the figure she carries,
or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman
must be seen from her eyes,
because that is the doorway to her heart,
the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman
is not in a facial mole,
but true beauty in a woman
is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
the beauty of a woman
with passing years—only grows.

Harvest Moon by Hand celebrates womanhood with the following products:

Set of three fabric bags that can hold gifts for a special woman in your life.
A peaceful image of a swan to hang in your window
made from hand-poured beeswax.
A set of upcycled notecards made from wallpaper samples.
Wonderful for sending a beautiful greeting or thank you letter to
a woman who has made a difference in your life.
A hand-embroidered needlebook made with all-natural wool felt.
If you sew and share your skills with others,
a needlebook is a good way to keep your needles and pins handy.
A four-color window star to beautify one’s home.
Window stars are lovely gifts for birthdays and Mother’s Day.
The UWIB team has many inspiring and creative women who are participating in this month’s Blog Hop.  Please take some time to visit these women and see how they are celebrating womanhood:

Audrey Fetterhoff http://audreygardenlady.blogspot.com/
Linda Stranger http://capecodjewel.blogspot.com/
Judy Woodley http://wellspringcreations.blogspot.com/
Janet Bocciardi http://www.honeyfromthebee.com/
Ann Rinkenberger http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/ (you are here right now)
Celeste Bocchicchio-Chaudhri http://elephunkstrunk.blogspot.com/
Wendy Kelly http://blog.vintageday.com/
Cory Trusty http://aquarianbath.blogspot.com/
Karen Terry http://jmjcreations.blogspot.com/

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The book that I’m starting to read this week as part of 52 Books in 52 Weeks is Made from Scratch – Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich. 

The description of this book on the inside cover says, “In a world of mass-produced food, factory-stitched clothing, 300-channel cable television, and computer-centric desk jobs, it’s easy to overlook the simple pleasures of eating homegrown vegetables, raising animals naturally and humanely, wearing hand-sewn clothing, or enjoying an evening of unplugged entertainment.

“Inspired by her growing admiration for small farmers and her growing distaste for rampant consumerism, 26-year-old web designer Jenna Woginrich decided to take control of her life — what she ate, what she wore, and how she spent her free time. Learn a few basic country skills, she reasoned, and she would be able to produce at least some of the food and other resources she used every day.

“Goodbye, prepackaged food; hello, homesteading. Made from Scratch tells the story of Woginrich’s hilarious, heartbreaking, soul-satisfying journey — from her first attempts at planting a garden and installing honeybees to the bliss of gathering fresh eggs for an omelet or baking bread made with her own honey. Woginrich describes her successes and failures alike, inspiring and entertaining readers who dream about a more self-sufficient lifestyle.”

What intrigues me about this book is that it reflects some experiences that I’ve already had as well as some that I’d like to try.  Some of chapters in Made from Scratch that will most likely bring back some good memories are:

  • Chickens – I’d really like to have a flock of rare and endangered chickens again.  Building a safe enclosure for them is the only obstacle to not having them…right now it’s cost-prohibitive.
  • Grow Your Own Meal – The book focuses on having a vegetable garden.  I’m looking forward to expanding the vegetable and fruit gardens this spring/summer.
  • Beekeeping – I tried this many years ago and kept getting stung.  Now, a beekeeper keeps hives at the farm and I get some honey each year from the bees in exchange for having the hives here.
  • The Country Kitchen – The book has recipes and instructions for making homemade bread and butter – both of which I’ve done.  I enjoy making bread and am always looking for good recipes.  Have used a butter churn when my daughters were younger and we participated in an early-childhood program at the local Waldorf school.
  • Old Stuff – The author talks about visiting antique shops and acquiring antiques.  I use to do this many years ago as a way to furnish the 1890 farm home.  It’s nice to have antiques that are from around the same time period that the house was first built.
  • Outside the Farm – The book suggests several ways to connect with others.  Some ideas are farm-related, and others are not.

Some of the chapters are ones that I don’t have much or any experience in, but would like to eventually try:

  • DIY Wardrobe – The author shares her experience with making her own clothes.
  • Angora Rabbits –  Portable Livestock – This is more of Sophia’s goal – to have rabbits and something that I would probably end up taking care of a good percentage of the time.
  • Working House Dogs – Although I wouldn’t be able to have a team of dogs and sled here, going on a dog-sled ride would be something I would really enjoy doing some day.
  • Want More? – There are some good recipes to try in this section.

And, a chapter that will just be interesting to read:

  • Homemade Mountain Music – I don’t have a strong interest in playing the mountain dulcimer, fiddle, banjo, or mandolin as was mentioned in Made from Scratch.  However, I would like to get back to playing the piano on a regular basis and challenge myself to continue to learn new songs. I have a strong feeling too that I’m going to have to learn how to play the harp and guitar when Sophia and Olivia start playing their instruments of choice next year and the following year respectively. 

Made from Scratch has so many great ideas that are worth exploring, especially as prices increase for food, gas, and other necessities.  It gives encouragement and direction to those wanting to be more self-sufficient and to lead a more sustainable life.

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3 Beeswax Ornaments
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

These are three of the eight ornaments that Sophia and I made. It takes about a pound of wax to make eight ornaments. In the window, the sunlight reveals the pattern.

I have wanted to make these ornaments for several months now after purchasing the beeswax and molds.  The ceramic molds were originally for cookies, but the designs lend themselves well to ornaments.

The first step was to melt the wax.  Sophia emptied a huge can of black beans and washed out the container.  I put the wax into the can and then into a heavy pot with a few inches of water.

One pound of wax melting on the stove.

The next step, once the wax was melted, was to pour it into molds.  Initially, we poured the wax directly onto the mold.  It ended up sticking.  One of the ornaments came off easily, but the rest stuck.  After getting the wax off, I put some vegetable oil onto the molds.  We re-melted the wax and tried again.

This time, there was too much oil and the ornaments looked greasy.  Removed all the beeswax and re-melted it.  Wiped off some of the oil so there was barely any there.

Third time…re-poured the wax in the molds and put little holes where the ribbon would go through.

Pouring the melted beeswax into a mold.

The beeswax hardens quite quickly.  For the initial ornaments, Sophia and I made holes with toothpicks through the wax so a ribbon would go through them.  For the last batch, I put the ribbon in the back of the hardening wax.

Three different stages of wax pouring and hardening.
If we had trouble taking any of the ornaments out of the molds, we put them in the freezer for a few minutes.  Then they would come out easily. 
After drying them for a couple of days at room temperature, I took a paring knife and cleaned up the edges as well as put a ribbon through the holes for hanging them. 
Sophia and I enjoyed making these ornaments together, and look forward to making more of them.

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This is the first time that the girls and I have made jelly. Have always made jam. Was happy that it turned out.

The jelly is made with lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and honey from the beehives in the backyard.

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Beehive
Originally uploaded by
Pictures by Ann

One of the three hives here at the farm. This hive produced 36 pounds of honey.

This year the honey was a very light color. It’s very sweet and flavorful thanks to the apple, pear, cherry, and plum trees on the property as well as raspberries (red and black).

Neighboring farms also have raspberry patches, clover, and alfalfa growing which helped make the honey so sweet this year.

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