Shiitake Mushrooms!

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Last spring we started the ‘mushroom logs’ if you don’t remember, check out this post http://www.simplylovinghome.blogspot.com/2012/04/adventures-of-mushroom-farming-begins.html  We had lots of fun and ended up with 213 logs of mushroom spores!! Some of the logs won’t produce because we made some wrong choices in the type of wood to use, but for the most part…  they are producing!!

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Pete is trying to figure out if soaking the logs in cold water for 12 hours, 24 hours or more makes any difference in the overall production….  so far, I have no idea! :)  Like I said, we are still on the learning curve! (The picture above is courtesy of Austin!)

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Lots of tasty results for the freezer!! I’ll be trying my hand at dehydrating some of them and discovering new ways to use them! Did you know… Shiitake mushrooms are VERY good for you? They are loaded with protein… and when cooked they release MORE of their healthy qualities then when eaten raw!!

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The blueberries are here! The blueberries are here!! FINALLY, after a few years of trying to get these bushes going, looks like we’ll have some yummy berries for the freezer! Here’s the first bowl full…. it filled a gallon freezer bag! MMMM looking forward to more bags for the winter muffins!

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Surprise!

Audrey and I decided it would be a lot of fun to go to her friend’s work place and surprise her! Keep in mind, Ericha had not yet seen Audrey for 6 months and was being so patient waiting for Audrey to make a few adjustments of being home again. (jet lag after traveling for 24+ hours and after recently having a flu bug was hard, not to mention getting used to being back in this time zone!)001Ericha was busy cleaning when Audrey stepped up to the counter, ‘excuse me.’

005Ericha answered as she was turning around, “I’ll be right with you….. AAAUDREEY!!”003Then immediately there were hugs & happy tears!!  What a wonderful surprise!!🙂 Ericha had another hour of work so we went along and looked for someone else to surprise!!

We decided to pop in to say hi to Cindy & Gary since they live just around the corner from where we were. Audrey spotted them taking a walk so I let her out of the car and she snuck up on them…

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Surprise!! They were so happy to see each other!! Gary knew her voice right off and enjoyed the texture of her braids! Do smiles get any more special than these!? What a fun visit!! One more surprise to make!!

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After picking Ericha up from work we brought her to her home and Audrey went up to the door to surprise her mom, Rhonda!! :)  Three successful surprises!! What a fun day!

Audrey is HOME!!

The most beautiful sight in the whole wide world is seeing someone you’ve dearly missed for the first time again!! Audrey’s smile lights up the whole world around her and for sure lighted up our hearts again!  After 7,000 miles of flying in a 24 hour window of time, she is back on NH soil, exhausted but happy! 038 Everyone got hugs and laughs and admittedly, a few teary eyes and then we chatted for a little bit and loaded up the car! Austin and Travis were VERY happy to have their sister back between them, safe and sound!

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Two Weeks Later

The anticipated two week mark has finally arrived!! I’ll tell you right up front… I did NOT go down to the hive with Pete. We had two littles here and I couldn’t leave a 2 year old and a 7 1/2 month old alone in the house and I was not going to take them down to see the bees get smoked out. Besides, if I was holding them, who’d take the pictures anyways?

Pete took the camera, suited up, brought the smoker down, wore the gloves this time and opened up the hive for the first time in two weeks since removing the travel box.

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Looking into the hive, you can see by the wax that they were working hard! There was too much space left between the frames and the bees were filling it in! Pete had to take it out and move the frames so that they had the same amount of spacing! He said the bees weren’t too happy with him and were flying around like crazy! BUT THEY NEVER STUNG HIM!

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You can see on the frame how gentle these bees really are!

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This is what he took out from between the frames! Quite a bit of wax honey combs, some of the spaces had pollen, some had bee lavre and yes, indeed there was honey too! NICE & SWEET!

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Ready to try again…..    he left what he could of the wax intact on the frames and shifted them a little to close up the big space. Now in two more weeks, he’ll peek again!🙂 Until then….  they’ll be as ‘busy as bees’ and after these past couple of weeks, I understand that phrase!! They really do work hard!!

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Pretty amazing work these litte guys do!! Phew, who would know there is sooo much to learn about bees!!

3 Days Later

It’s Saturday….  three days from when the bees were put into their new hive!

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After opening the top and removing the travel box this is what was discovered…..

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The queen and her attendants ate their way out of the little queen box and now all the workers are busy making a new home!  They were all still docile and easy to work around. Pete wore his jacket and veil (he was the one moving things around in the hive) and Austin wore a hoodie (taking these pictures)… both were comfortable around the bees!

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Pretty cool huh?!

3 Pounds of Bees

I wondered, “What the heck is three pounds of bees going to look like?” and now I know! Pete arrived home with his box of bees….  naturally, being the curious sort, I grabbed my camera and ruler! The box measures 16 inches long, 8 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches wide and has screen on the two biggest sides! These little guys were buzzing and clinging to the queen all around a can of sugar water! Quite fascinating to be sure!008

After making sure the sugar water feeder is all in place and all the tools are ready (gloves, veil-jacket, opener, spray bottle) … we headed down to the hive! 009

012Pete took his time and never even wore the special gloves! :)  The queen is housed in a separate little box with a few attendents and was fun to look at! She is longer in size but still would be hard to pick out of the crowd of so many bees! The few escapee bees never bothered or buzzed in warning… they hung on the box and allowed us to check it out!022023

The bees were reallly docile… which made this whole first experience sooo much easier! After removing the plug from one end of the queen’s box, Pete hung it in the hive. They bees are suppose to eat through the remaining fondant to freedom within the hive while the worker bees are all getting use to each other and accepting her as their queen! They have quite a sophisticated little kingdom from what we are understanding!!028

Pete took out the can of sugar water that they traveled with and put the bigger box of bees into the hive, then put the next stack on top and the covers.029

034035They have an opening near the base of the hive where they can come and go from and after a few days, the hive will be reopened and the travel box will be removed. If all goes well, the bees will be happily adjusting to their new home and flying out and about looking for the flowering fruit trees and bushes and flowers!

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Now to hook up the solar powered electric fence and keep our fingers crossed!!