Last night, I went with Bruce to his bee club meeting. It was so much fun and really informative. I will be attending with him from now on as there is a lot to learn and lots of opportunities to learn how to market honey and the other bee products such as wax and propolis. Like all things, the good stuff comes with some responsibilities such as helping out with conferences and state and county fairs but that’s the price one pays. I think bee keeping has the best shot at providing us with a good source of income that does not require either of to take a real, full-time, away from the house job.
We are eating more out of the garden every day. We spent Wednesday evening fencing the tomato patch to protect it from the woodchucks and I may get a real harvest today. The garlic looks awful as do the brassicas (the heat and drought have been really hard on them) but the corn, peppers and beans look good. I made a batch of yogurt from milk I got from a neighbor’s goats. It was too runny to eat as yogurt but I have been slicing cucumbers and dressing them with sea salt, the runny yogurt and dill. We all love this, especially on these hot nights but I have just used the last jar so I now I have to make runny, goat milk yogurt again. I am also making raspberry vinegar. The process is simple. I fill a 1/2 gallon jar with raspberries and added plain white vinegar to cover the berries. Now I have to let this sit for three weeks, giving the jar a shake each day. At the end of that tine, I will strain out the berries. The ruby vinegar goes into a saucepan with some sugar (I might try honey) and comes just to simmer. I will hold it at that temperature for 3 minutes, then pour into hot pint jars. The hope is that the jars will seal and the vinegar retain its color and flavor without being actually boiled.
I am also making pickles. One of the sad parts of last night was touring the farm where the bee meeting was held. It is a big farm and the cuke harvest had just ended. The field was filled with too-big and aver ripe vegetables that the harvesters had missed. When you grow on a small-scale as I do, little gets missed like this. I can check every day and even a baseball bat sized zucchini will end up in soup or bread or sauce. But on the large scale, where all of the harvest is done by machine or on a given day, such waste is the norm. I guess the farmer sees the big picture while I see the jars of pickles that will never be.