Winter is the time to get stuff done

Posted on February 3, 2014

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Despite the cold days that turned into 80’s overnight, our praying hands banana has set to flower and has its first beautiful bunch of bananas forming under the inflorescence – that’s what a banana flower is called in the plant world. Weird, huh?

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You can eat the inflorescence, but it seems a waste since even small varieties of bananas produce a great deal more food from the bananas.

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Our bees are happy about the warm weather. We need to check on the hive soon, and we have several friends who are wanting bees, so I’d like to learn and explore more about how to split the hive. If anyone has done this and can enlighten me on the easiest way to do it, we’d love more information. We’re rather hands off beekeepers. We leave our bees plenty of honey for the winter, don’t feed corn syrup, don’t use pesticides, and pretty much let the bees do their own thing. We think they swarmed last year, but as we weren’t around to see a swarm, it’s hard to verify that except for knowing that there seemed to be a lot less bees all of a sudden at one point.

One friend who wants bees has a top bar hive and I am not sure how one would get bees from a Langstroth hive into a top bar. We don’t use foundation, but our bees still tend to fill out the rectangular frames, so transferring brood right into the top bar wouldn’t be very feasible. Any thoughts?

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I’ve sighted our friend black racer in the garden lately. I think it’s a new one, though, as it seemed quite a bit smaller than the one we saw around regularly last year. Found a shed skin that I intended to bring into work for the kids to look at, but forgot it and it got rained on and pretty dilapidated.

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We are downsizing our animals. We have a rabbit to give away, but our usual rabbit retirement home is pretty full as it is since one of our prior retirees had a littler of kittens recently. Most of our ducks will go to their new home tonight. We’ll miss Greg and her crazy self, but she’ll do well up in Sulphur Springs at the Birdhouse we’re sure. The goal is to be more realistic with our space and not draw attention from our neighbors, as seems to have been happening since some new folks moved in next door. Nate dispatched some rabbits last night for a delicious rabbit curry, and the neighbor girl seemed to be craning to see through the fence slats to see what’s going on. It makes us nervous since we’ve never had a real complaint about our slaughtering yet, but we anticipate it’s bound to happen at some point in time. Nate asserts that if she’s going out of her way to see what’s happening when he puts up barriers to keep it from being in plain sight, that’s her problem, not ours, but we both know that if a complaint makes its way to the landlord, I doubt that would help us much.

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Our garden has been beautifully productive this winter. We could have gotten much more out of it, but we eat most of our meals at work now due to our hours, so we’re growing more than we actually consume at this point. Nate has supplemented some meals for the children with bits of our herbs and produce, but we’ve been jealous with our tomatoes. Winter in Central Florida is the time for BLT’s. We have frequently been substituting the L for an Asian green of some kind, since they tend to provide a crunch that most lettuces don’t always have in their baby form and for whatever reason, our lettuce has tended to stay quite small.

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I’ve finished a great many projects in the last few months. Knitting really took off. Scarves, a sweater, I’m working on a cardigan to go with that first sweater, and a super cute pair of baby pants for a friend who is going to pop any day now. I’m also making awesome headway on an ages old quilting project for a friend of a friend. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m not beating my head on the table about it, but instead enjoying seeing it come together, though I’ll admit quilting doesn’t seem to be my go-to hobby. I’m hoping I can have the top entirely pieces and sewn together by the end of February so that I can get it quilted and sent off before I’ve had these baby clothes for 2 years time. Oy vey!

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What are you working on? My friend Tricia over at Farmish Momma is doing Saturday Pin-Alongs to push people to actually use their Pinterest inspirations to DO something instead of just pinning and never utilizing the inspiration. I think I may push for following one of the gorgeous and delectable looking recipes I’ve pinned instead of the crafts, since I have plenty of fiber-type crafts going on at one already.

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Posted in: critters, fibers, garden