Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Samplings

No cute chick pics today but I have to take more because they are growing up fast, those wee birds!

Here is a photo shwoing about 2/3rds of what I somewhat lovingly refer to as the Vegetable Garden from Hell. It's about 5,000 SF and this photo doesn't do justice to its asinine size. Two people live in this house and I have something like 45 tomato plants.Yes, actually, I am insane. I'm planning on putting the veggie stand up at the end of my driveway again this summer.

We've had too much rain and the weeds have been horrific. The weather SUCKS. I went in for another weed smackdown today and I think I have it under control. I have better things to do with my life than weed by hand! The tomato and potato plants are going nuts... oh heck, everything in there is going nuts. I need to get a garden helper or cut down on the size of this monstrosity.

Meanwhile, here is my sleeping beauty Sophie, with her horsie toy...

And dinner today was splendid. Here's a fuzzy shot of my Guinness and Gordon's fuzzy arm:

I don't drink a lot but when I do it's Guinness, or Kilkenny Cream Ale, or Boddingtons. I'm a terribly cheap date and one beer a week is about as far as I go! Nothing against drinking, but I've always been a lightweight.

And here is the pièce de résistance, the soup Gordon lovingly prepared for supper tonight:

Curried Butternut and Peanut Soup, from Bonnie Stern's Friday Night Dinners. (Yes, I know it's Sunday.) The white stuff is coconut milk, the brown things are toasted peanuts. Oh my, oh my! I am so glad I taught that boy to cook.

On the chick front, all is well but on the bee front? I did my second hive inspection today and am 99.9% certain one hive is missing its queen. They have already got two queen cells on the go, meaning another queen is in the making (whoever hatches first will sting the other one to death in the cell.) The beekeeper who gave me my bees said they probaby assassinated the other queen for not being productive enough, and are making a new one. This is called supersedure. Tough world out there in the hives! As I read on Wikipedia: "When a new queen is available, the workers will kill the reigning queen by "balling" her, colloquially known as the "cuddle death"; clustering tightly around her until she dies from overheating." Death by cuddling... those wicked bees!

William the beekeeper is coming over tomorrow to take a look at my hives and hopefully reassure me that I haven't completely and utterly f*cked things up. And I get worse at lighting my smoker every week. I figure I am just overthinking it, since I light the fire in our wood/oil furnace every day in winter! Today I came back from the hives smelling like a forest fire...

Hope you had a good weekend and no one suffered from cuddle death.


  1. I can't imagine the amount of work you seem to do on that farm! and did I once-upon-a-time say I want to be a queen bee? I changed my mind! Sheesh they seem so violent!

  2. That bee stuff is kinda scary. Hey, I have that Bonnie Stern book so I'll look up that recipe and make it. Sounds good!

  3. Mmm, that soup looks deliscious! I love peanuts in all kinds of forms. Don't think I've eaten soup with them in it though.
    Very intersting to read about your bees.

  4. I was just about to buy some dark buckwheat honey at the health food store on Broadway when I stopped myself and said: "Wait a minute! I'll wait for Knatolee's!" Just curiously, does harvesting the honey harm the bumbles?

  5. Umm, here's my evaluation: you will never be able to cuddle with a bee. A bee will not fly to the front door and wag its tail when you return from work.

    You will never be able to make a custom collar for a bee. No cute dangling heart with "Clarence The Bee, I'm lost, please call my mommy at 514-980-7667" on it.

    At night when an intruder is silently breaking the cellar window, a bee will not buzz to your rescue. A bee will retreat to the hive.

    Bees have a tendency to hang out with themselves. They will never greet you as an equal. No amount of "bee-speak" will ingratiate yourself into their clan.

    But they're kinda cool, huh, all black and yellow and stingy and full of bee-gression! Where do I get one?

  6. Those bees, Surani. They look all innocent, then WHAM! They murder the queen!

    Monika, the peanuts really made the soup. There was a quarter cup of peanut butter in it too. Of course, if you have peanut allergies, this is not the recipe for you! :)

    Brian, I won't have honey this year, and I won't have buckwheat honey until we get buckwheat planted. But next year, I can (I hope) give you lots of non-buckwheat honey! It's a bad year for honey and if my girls make any, I am going to have to let them keep it for themselves. The process of harvesting it doesn't hurt the bees, but you have to leave them enough honey stores to get through the winter or they will die.

    ChefNick, if you're looking for a bee, go out on your balcony and check the flowers on your tomato plants! :) On the pet front, bees also don't throw up on your carpeting, leave hair on your black pants, or need surgery to remove things they shouldn't have eaten, like cell phones and cacti.

  7. Anonymous3:59 pm

    Beautiful Garden! god i LOVE your life!

    My friend and research partner, Fatima, makes a GREAT peanut soup. It's a Bolivian thing... she's from there. It is SO GOOD. I love peanuts in recipes.

    and my dear friend Mr. Nigel Fox love Boddingtons...probably because it's cheap .... hahahah ... well it's good too!

    And of course I love guinness .. although i understand that real beer/ale/stout aficionados sort of poopoo it because it has become such a vast commercial empire (and the cans have a WIDGET, god forbid ... and well i mean, it's available in a crass is that???). don't care. i made the pilgrimage to the dublin headquarters last november. hahah AMEN come lord jeeeeezus!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!