Honey Are You Home?

Honey, what are we going to do about the crisis with honey bees? You know the vanishing of the bees, colony collapse disorder, pesticide die off and poor nutrition. You can read a whole list of problems in this short article in Truth out, Everything You Wanted to Know About the Bee Die-off

One item the Truth-out article didn’t talk about was how commercial hives are used in pollinating cultivated plants and the impact and possible stress on the bees during the seasonal migratory movement of hives from San Diego,California up through the different blooming crops until they reach Washington state. Add all the problems together and the bees can’t survive.

Yes, the big focus on the financial side of honeybees is their work as pollinators. The money for commercial beekeepers is made by renting out their hives to pollinate crops. Honey is a secondary income. If you are like me, my first thought was honey bees = sweet honey.

Here in Stevens county a few of the local beekeepers have decided to keep their bees home, renting out hives to local orchards and farms for pollination. They are putting more marketing energy into honey production and sales. (and some of the side products like beeswax or bee pollen)

For us, as bee and honey lovers, we get to taste and share in the harvest of specialty honey from our region. All of the students that have been though our farm workshops have had a chance to try Snowberry honey from our Beekeeper friend Steven Schott. (some of you may be sorry you didn’t buy more)

There are many ways that you can help save the Honey bee. One of them might just be the sweetest, let’s keep our Honey home!

Here is a fun video of Rick and our daughter Willow, capturing a swarm of honeybees.

MAD Inspiration


Winter is a time to reflect, to question and to envision a path forward. I found insight in this talk by Italian ethno-botanist Andrea Pieroni at the MAD symposium in Copenhagen.

Pieroni speaks about the language of food, science and culture. He believes science needs to step back and learn from traditional knowledge, that the scientific taxonomy of plants doesn’t tell us the human stories about communities of people, plants and their relationships. How plants are celebrated, prepared or eaten is often narrated in the context of traditional names of common plants. Andrea states that the cultural information becomes lost in the language of science.

Andrea’s challenge to build a platform to educate young people and all of us about where our food comes from inspires us.

We have built our vision of this educational platform on our farm, check out the 2015 workshops. Now we need you to share the vision, help us make 2015 Quillisascut Farm workshops the best ever! Sign-up, tell your friends, the table is set.

Here is Andrea Pieroni at the 2012 MAD Symposium.

Pleasant Valley

Jan6PleasantValleyLast year I took a photo  every Tuesday of the view up Pleasant Valley. Standing by a Black Locust tree, alongside our driveway, you can just see the tree branch tip in the upper left corner of the photos. I missed a few weeks during the workshops or when my forgetfulness took over. It is fun to see the seasons all laid out to compare, and compare the few weeks when the grass is green.

You can view them in a larger format on Flickr January- December 2014 You can view them on Flickr
[slickr-flickr tag=”Pleasant Valley”]

Transplanting Carrot Tutorial

My sister has a lovely garden, last year she decided to try transplanting some of the tiny carrot plants. Some of you may have had this idea. Carrot seeds are small and planting a row can be tedious, maybe transplanting could solve the problems of weeds crowding out the baby plants and the need for heavy thinning later when the plants are established. I asked her to share her carrot transplanting experience with us.

Training Your Carrots To Sit
Don’t Transplant Your Carrots

Not all carrots will sit. One must practice patience and balance. Sorting through the carrots after they are clipped and scrubbed, the better students will show themselves. Don’t even try to train the hugging, the kicking, or the straight (where did THAT one come from?) carrots. Set them aside for other displays or possibly for eating.

To gain the properly trained carrots for sitting, plant your carrot seeds as usual. When they are about an inch to an inch and a half high, dig them up with a knitting needle. Poke a new hole for the transplant and place the baby carrot down in the new hole. Guide it in with the knitting needle. Because the hair-like roots have been moved, the carrot will grow in a new and unique shape. Early fall dig your special vegetables. Sort them carefully to find the ones bent at a 90 degree angle. These will sit the best. Be advised that the carrots must be screened and censored for X-rated forms and positions.

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As Janae said, all carrots are not as well schooled in sitting here are some of the rejects (or x-rated).IMG_0938