Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Little Rock, Arkansas




We have just returned from our trip to Little Rock, Arkansas.  We were able to stop by and see David's sister Phyllis and her husband Alan, along with their daughter Holly and grandaughter Faith in Martin, Tennessee.  Then we trailed along to Forrest City, Arkansas where we met up with cousin Leonard who showed us around Crowley's Ridge for a bit.  We're looking for some land there to settle bees on, and there's several acres available right up close to the cemetery where David's mom and dad and brother were laid to rest.


After that, on to Little Rock, Arkansas for the Arkansas Advanced Beekeeping Workshop put on by the University of Arkansas in which David taught queen rearing classes.  I got the pleasure of driving this little bit of the way into Little Rock. I don't really like driving at all, and Arkansas highways reminded me why.  Now, if you are an Arkansans (how do you pronounce "Arkansans"? I'm guessing it's AR' kan-zanz, but doesn't that just change the entire word?) anyway, then I apologize to you right now, but here I am driving down the highway, and I need to pull off for gas, and David says "here, Sheri, pull off here." And I'm replying, "where David? There's no exit." To which he replies "Sheri, don't you see it? There! There!" And finally I see this, like...SPACE between a fence (I am not kidding) where you just kind of take your car and dive for the open spot--and that's what an exit here is.


I'll tell you what though, people here are nice.  And I do mean nice. We have several Arkansas customers, and they are all just the most gracious people.  So I can overlook the highways difficulties because they are all so great. I think they are so nice because the weather is so nice.  We were pleased to learn that we missed several days of really cold, cold windy days in Illinois with a few close tornadoes in favor of some lovely weather here.


We did a little sight seeing at the Arkansas Train Museum and also
at the Arkansas Nature Center where this snake (picture at right) seemed to get as big a kick out of Christian as Christian did out of him.


We topped off the trip at a really cool restaurant called the Purple Cow.  You can see David enjoying a nice milkshake while Christian enjoyed his purple ice cream.


David had just gotten stung on the eye by a bee, but enjoyed
the milkshake anyway!


After returning home, we spent the following day celebrating our youngest granddaughter's birthday and then enjoying a relaxing Memorial Day. We hope it was a great weekend for you all too.


Our oldest son DT trying to talk the babies out of some candy


Monday, May 23, 2011

Banana Honey Muffins

Joy in the spring
Doesn't this weather just make your heart sing?  I am just loving it. The grass is so green and thick, the irises are blooming the most gorgeous color of purple, and we can sit outside on the swing in the evening after the sun goes down, and just look at the stars.


The garden is in, with the exception of the peas. A good customer of ours also came out and put in several new apple trees for us.  Years ago, we had an acquaintance pick up what he said were apple trees and we planted them.  They never grew and our friend MJ came out and told us they weren't planted well and they really weren't the kind that would ever grow apples.  So as a nice gift to us, MJ got some "real" apple trees and planted them in a more suitable place and I'm looking forward to that gift that will keep on giving over the years.  Lots of folks don't want to plant trees because they feel it would be forever for it to grow.  But I read a book once from a gardener who has since passed away and he said that unless you have one foot in the grave, get out there and plant some trees!  I think he's right. 


New baby chicks came in.  We had quite an experience trying to get them however.  We got a call from the post office on a Saturday night saying they were there.  So we went to this post office, that was an hour and 1/2 round trip for us--TWICE--on Sunday trying to pick up these poor little things and were finally successful late on Sunday night around 9:00p.m.



We'll soon have more gorgeous free range eggs like these
as soon as our chicks start laying.



We held two more classes out here on the bee farm.  One, a queen rearing class, and the other a Beginner's Class. And now we're looking at several days in Little Rock at a beekeeping conference that David will be speaking at. I am ready for a mini vacation.  When we return, we will celebrate our youngest granddaughter's birthday, take a trip to the circus, and then help celebrate my nephew Doug's graduation from high school. 


I am leaving you here with a honey recipe for Banana Honey Muffins.  We just got the preview of the Aug/Sept Country Woman magazine which will have a story about our farm in it, and the editor, Ann Kaiser, mentions having the Banana Honey muffins for lunch and then directs everyone here to the website--and then I realized I didn't have it my blog! So here it is for all to see and use!


BANANA HONEY MUFFINS
1 1/2 C flour
1 t soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 c honey
1 egg
1/3 c butter, melted


TOPPING
2 T flour
2 T brown sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
1 T butter
Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, then combine. Line muffin tins with papers.  Spoon mixture into cups.   Sprinkle on topping and bake at 375 degrees 18 - 20 min.  Always remember: honey will cause baking goods to brown quicker, so check frequently.



Friday, May 13, 2011

What a Great Time with Country Woman Magazine

Ann, Sheri and Karee
We had a great couple of days here at the farm with Ann Kaiser, Contributing Editor at Country Woman Magazine. 


Ann has an amazing job.  As part of her work at the magazine, she goes to lots of different hands-on farming operations all over the US and Canada and spends the day doing whatever they are doing that particular day. Ann is as warm and fun as she seems in print.  She's been with Country Woman since back when it was called Farm Wife.  Since I've read Country Woman for years, it was just like getting together with an old friend again. She has many stories of wonderful places she has gone, people she has met, and makes herself right at home, which is something I very much appreciate when people come over. 


Behind the scenes
Along with Ann came Matthew and David, photographer and photographer assistant respectively, who came from Chicago to shoot pictures of us working the bees and grafting. Besides being very professional, these two were a hoot as well. So while it was a  little windy and hazy (apparently a photographer's dream day) we had a good time.


On left: David, Christian, Sheri and Ann
On right: Matthew, David and Karee






We had a nice picnic lunch of Mandarin Honey Chicken Spinach Salad (I wanted to name it something catchy but couldn't decide when enough was enough).


The article should be coming out in the Aug/Sept issue of Country Woman, so make sure you pick up a copy! After a perusal of my blog, the food editor may be selecting a recipe to add--I'm hoping she picks the Saucy Peachy Chicken, my favorite. 


Thanks Ann, it was great!