bees

Souper Sunday

It's that day again friends... Sunday. For those of you who work all week, this day sometimes feels like "Shmonday" a.k.a. "I feel stress because the work week is staring me right in the face." I've got to be honest, each Sunday I feel the anxiety levels rise. My stress level has decreased a bit over the years however, thanks to a few sneaky tricks. I've replaced "Shmonday" with what I like to call Souper Sunday.

What is Souper Sunday? Well, it is the day I pretty much cook our meals for the entire week. That's right friends; I cook enough food to make us through the week. Crazy? Maybe. Stay with me people.

How does it work? Well... lazy coffee drinking Saturday mornings equal pulling up my favorite Pinterest pins and checking what we have in the freezer. This is followed by an intense amount of defrosting and come Sunday morning, the Klann kitchen is a cooking warzone. I typically make two crock pot meals, quick weekday grab and go breakfast, and something for Sunday dinner.

Tortilla Soup and all the fixings.

Tortilla Soup and all the fixings.

If you've lived on a farm (or are a parent for that matter), you know that there are constant projects and mouths to feed on the weekend. This means time is of the essence. By cooking for a few hours on what used to be stressful "Shmonday," those projects are still possible. By dedicating some forward thinking and a few hours of cooking time, hungry mouths will have something delicious to dig into after a long day of chores. Am I convincing or what?

There are a few tricks I would like to also share about Souper Sunday and here are some pictures to help illustrate:

1. Have precut vegetables on hand. I keep a gallon freezer bag full of veggies on hand in the freezer for Souper Sunday. My bag has carrots, celery, and onion ready to go.

2. Process your vegetables as you buy them. I am a firm believer in shaving time off tasks as much as possible. Exhibit A: I purchased a large package of celery from Costco and I make sure to clean and cut all of it during one session. We have veggies to eat in the fridge, veggies for the meal I am cooking on that day, and divided packages of veggies for another day. This not only saves me time later, I only have to wash these dishes ONE time.

Lunch for the week- leftover minestrone and four days of cabbage soup.

Lunch for the week- leftover minestrone and four days of cabbage soup.

3. Serve up lunch. Each week I prepackage my lunches in mason jars. I like mason jars for Souper Sunday soup because they don't leak. I love being able to pack my lunch quickly in the morning, and making lunches each week saves our family lots of money.

Even the hens win on Souper Sunday. Our well deserving, super egg laying, spoiled girls were served warmed up leftovers this morning. Happy hens = yummy eggs.

Think about making Souper Sunday a tradition at your house, I think you will be glad you did. By cooking ahead, I can enjoy a few hours the day outside with our feathered and furry friends. "Shmonday" no longer feels so stressful, and I like the sound of Souper Sunday better!

 Here are a few updates from the Honey Bee Haven:

Today's projects include checking on my honey bee girls, playing on the teeter-totter with the goats, and thinking about which seeds to start in the greenhouse. Lots to do, but it's possible with Souper Sunday.

Autumn Chores

As I look at the last post date, I truly have two choices to make. I could feel bad about how ridiculously long it has been since I last shared farm news, OR I could share some updates and forget the first part! I choose the later. 

Back to school and fall harvest equal a mountain of tasks that I wouldn't even be able to list had I not captured some of them on camera. We've celebrated the arrival of two new calves this last week, harvested enormous quantities of vegetables and fruits, canned, saved seeds, bottle fed our two precious pygmy goats almost to complete independence, prepared the bees for winter, and did I mention start school and survive soccer season? 

Three generations- Patch the bull, baby brother Buddy the bull and mama Snow White.

Three generations- Patch the bull, baby brother Buddy the bull and mama Snow White.

Are you ready? I don't even know if I am! I have so many pictures to share, it is hard to know where to start. Perhaps the best conclusion is... the realization that I can quickly share the snapshots now and then share the nuts and bolts of these projects over the upcoming winter months. Fall is upon us farm friends. Instead of an overwhelming declaration of information all in one sitting, I will plan to share more as the upcoming nights grow longer. 

Seed Saving

Zucchini

Pumpkins

Our annual pumpkin pick down the driveway proved quite successful this year. The bees did an amazing job cross pollinating and providing a crowd pleasing variety.

Our annual pumpkin pick down the driveway proved quite successful this year. The bees did an amazing job cross pollinating and providing a crowd pleasing variety.

Grapes

Thanks to the thoughtful planning of Grandma and Papa Klann before us, we have three varieties of grapes growing on the farm. One small seedless variety that melt in your mouth and two seeded varieties. 

This is the first year the purple concord grapes were able to fully ripen on the south side of the house. 

This is the first year the purple concord grapes were able to fully ripen on the south side of the house. 

Eleanor and Emmett celebrate successful grape picking. 

Eleanor and Emmett celebrate successful grape picking. 

Red Pepper Jelly

There is a special someone in my life (my baby brother Jake) who celebrates his birthday in October. It's a big sister's job to make sure her "little" brother gets what he wishes for on his special day. Uncle Jake asked for jelly and that is just what he will get. 

Mixing ingredients to make red pepper jelly. Once canned, you dump it on a cube of cream cheese and spread it on crackers. It makes for a sweet, spicy mix slathered on a cracker.

Mixing ingredients to make red pepper jelly. Once canned, you dump it on a cube of cream cheese and spread it on crackers. It makes for a sweet, spicy mix slathered on a cracker.

Fifty plus baby bell pepper plants grew in the garden this year. Because of the incredibly long growing season this year, we were able harvest lots and lots of peppers. Peppers in Central Oregon are pretty hard to come by unless you grow them in a greenhouse. This year proved anything can happen.

Tomatillos

For a year that I hadn't even planned on harvesting tomatillos, we had a good one! We grew tomatillos last year and several plants reseeded themselves in the garden. I would cautiously estimate 30+ pounds of tomatillos came out of the garden this year and this equated to green enchillada sauce and lots and lots of salsa. If you haven't tried growing a tomatillo, I would suggest it. They aren't the slightest bit spicy, but they add a lot to a recipe.

Tomatoes, tomatoes

The tomatoes came on late this year and for a while I was afraid I wouldn't have any to harvest. Last weekend we worked to pick, clean, slice, and dehydrate over ten pounds of tomatoes. Grabbing them out of the freezer in the dead of winter to toss on top of a salad is well worth the effort this time of year. 

Thankful

Having baskets full of harvest can make for a daunting autumn season. I work so hard to get the garden going, I hate to not salvage all I can from its bounty. Having the honey bees here on the farm has 100% made a difference with our garden. For the cold months ahead and the many meals we will enjoy, I thank the bees and cherish sharing it with all of these creatures (human and not!).

Klann Farm Honey Bee Hives

Observation windows for quick inspections of the hive.

Observation windows for quick inspections of the hive.

We are taking orders for honey bee hives here on Klann Farm. The resident woodworker (my husband Eric) is gearing up to make these amazing hives over the winter for spring time honey bee needs. Here are some features of the hives available for pre-order:

*Space for 24 wood foundationless Langstroth frames

*24 preassembled Langstroth wood frames

*Two observation windows for easy honey bee viewing and quick inspection

*A cedar shingled roof mounted with sturdy hardware that opens with ease and stays in place during inspections utilizing the frame's roof brace

*Two screened bottom boards to help with varroa mite control

*Two mite count boards with handles for easy inspection

*Hand painted exterior finish including a primer coat and detailed stencil work

*Handles for easy transport

*A feeder slot and feeder

*A single honey bee entry point with an attached adjustable entry block (to minimize during robbing season and winter months and to maximize during honey flow)

*A hand sewn cover cloth made of duck canvas to serve as a traditional inner cover 

*For those interested in IMP strategies including using drone comb to combat varroa mites, we also will include one drone foundation frame. 

Pictured: Feeder space (covered) and hand stenciled adjustable entry space.

Pictured: Feeder space (covered) and hand stenciled adjustable entry space.

These hives are truly the best for anyone with back issues, those who wish to have a visual access point to their honey bees or anyone looking for a work of art for their bee hives. Our hives are mounted to hive stands similar to the picture below. This method protects the hives from tipping, wind, and allow us to inspect the hive from a standing position. 

Hive stands similar to this image are also available for purchase.

Hive stands similar to this image are also available for purchase.

Pricing:

Empty hives

We do not currently have any available hives for purchase. We do however take orders for serious inquiries. Complete hives are available for $600. This includes the hive, frames, cover cloth and paint work. We also offer the stand for an additional $100.  Please reach out to us if you are interested in this type of hive and we can discuss a possible timeline. You truly won't be disappointed!

 

Photo credit: Andy Tullis @ The Bend Bulletin

Photo credit: Andy Tullis @ The Bend Bulletin

These hives are a labor of love on our part and we are very passionate about the future of the honey bee population. We hope to sell our hives to those serious bee keepers that recognize the commitment and dedication it takes to being honey bee hive owners. 

For more information about our hives or to see a hive in person, please use the contact option found on the main page toolbar. We thank you for your interest and look forward to working with you. 

The Klann Family

 

 

Cauliflower: A Harvest Win For The Whole Farm

Large cauliflower leaves provide a water source for our thirsty bees.

Large cauliflower leaves provide a water source for our thirsty bees.

I've been busy lately with the cauliflower in the garden. This is the first year I was able to successfully grow it and I have to say it has been an exceptional harvest year. I started this journey in early February when I first planted the cauliflower seeds in the greenhouse. It was February 2nd to be exact. The kids and I made our daily trip into the retreat of the insulated greenhouse on a cold morning. Believe it or not, a sunny winter day with temperatures below freezing can deliver an 80 degree retreat in the greenhouse.

Below is a picture of what we planted this year. This variety comes from the company Territorial Seeds. I devour their catalog during the winter months wishing and dreaming and this year I felt like this short season variety would give me the best chance. Notice the part about "50-60 days." We will get back to that part in a bit.

Fast forward to the tail end of June (4+ months later). I've harvested roughly 20-25 heads of this amazing and delicious stuff. Yes, that is correct, 20-25. I apologize for losing count, but I can make up for it with pictures of what I did (and still am doing) with it. 

The cold crop bed at the farm. This bed includes onions, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes and cauliflower. 

The cold crop bed at the farm. This bed includes onions, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes and cauliflower. 

With 20+ cauliflower heads ready all at once, I had to have a plan for what to do with them. I knew I wanted to harvest them before the big heat set in around here and I knew that meant pulling the entire plant. Cauliflower offers only one harvest as opposed to broccoli, which may send another shoot up. This left some gaping holes in the garden space, but I have plans for those!

Time to find some new things to add to those empty spaces.

Time to find some new things to add to those empty spaces.

In order not to make this post too long, I'll quickly show you a few of the things I did with this amazing harvest. The story of how to blanch vegetables and how to can them will come another day.

I made sure to wash the cauliflower when I brought it into the house to ensure that none of nature's little friends tried to join us inside. Soaking the heads for a few hours in a light salt water helps with this. I used my trusty Ball Canning book in my experiment with a few jars of pickled cauliflower. 

I can't forget to note that we had other winners in this great harvest here on the farm. Our chickens earned the right to forage and devour the left over leaves after my harvest. They were happy ladies too.


I feel very pleased with how this year's harvest turned out. We have fresh cauliflower in the fridge for snacking and meals. We have plenty of enticing cauliflower resources to reach for during the cold winter months ahead too. It has been an enormous task to "put it away" in the freezer and in canning jars, but I am thankful to have had the chance to do it. February 2nd to June 28th... not quite the timeline noted on the seed package. That is gardening in Central Oregon for you! This little face makes it all worth it though.

Finding the Queen Bee

Its been a few weeks around here since we helped relocate two local swarms to Prineville Honey Bee Haven. Each morning  the newest members of the family have been fed a fresh jar of sugar water to help them transition to life beyond their original hives. We've also tried not to interfere with their settling in and have only opened each hive just a few times. It takes a monumental effort to start from scratch and establish a new hive home. 

We decided to keep the swarm captures in these nuc boxes until they showed steady enough growth to move to a larger hive in the honey bee garden. The last inspection proved that these girls are tenacious builders and ready for a bigger home. 

One of the challenges to a swarm catch and the establishment of a new home, is the possibility that the honey bees may build various shaped comb. Our frames are foundationless here on the farm and this allows for some "creativity" on the girls end. As a beekeeper, you want the comb to meet size requirements for the hive and sometimes have to work to adjust the newly formed comb to fit correctly.  Notice how white this new comb is.

A trick you can use as a beekeeper is to borrow unused comb from another hive and to attach it to a foundationless frame with string to help give the girls a head start. Within a few days they will attach the comb themselves and make every effort to remove the string. It is important to get the string out as quickly as you can, as the bees can get caught in it and eventually die. 

Now that we know the new swarm catches each have a queen and  progress checks show freshly drawn comb, eggs and food stores, the next step is to ensure that each of the swarms have a large enough space to expand the colony and to check on them regularly. As the nectar flow comes on in the next few months, sugar water won't be needed at all. The girls will end up simply ignoring that it is even there...the real stuff simply tastes much better. 

If you build it, they will come

This weekend I experienced what I can only describe as simply AMAZING. Just after 1:00 pm I put our two kids down for a nap. When I walked out of the house, I heard what sounded like a jet plane taking off directly over my head. What I saw next absolutely stunned me: a honey bee swarm in our vegetable garden.

Almost instantly, my beekeeping instincts kicked into gear. I wanted to catch that swarm and I raced to tell both my husband and our daughter. We suited up and prepared to catch our newest farm family members before they decided to leave for somewhere else. 

 Honey bees swarm for a few reasons, but in essence half of the population of the mother hive leaves with the old queen to establish a new hive. When the bees leave the mother hive, they gorge themselves with honey in anticipation that it may take them some time to find a new home. Because of this, they are fairly docile and don't tend to sting. The swarm lands wherever the queen is and they cluster on top of her to protect her and keep her warm. 

   Once we donned our suits and collected our gear, we were ready to capture the swarm. This meant that we placed a "nuc box" directly underneath the cluster and gave them a good shake. The hope of course is to catch as many bees as possible inside of the box and more importantly, the queen. Afterwards, the box was set right near the original swarm location and the remaining bees ideally join the group within a few hours. If we missed the queen and she failed to land in the box, most likely the swarm would take off again.    Once evening fell and the swarm was inside for the night, we moved the box to its new home on the farm. We will keep the bees well fed with sugar syrup for at least a month and hope that they are able to establish residence in their new home.    The entire experience of course was surreal to say the least for all of us. Everything played into our favor on this one. We saw the swarm almost instantly, we had the equipment to catch it, the swarm landed in an ideal location and most importantly we were literally working on the finishing touches of the honey bee foraging garden fence. This truly goes to show, IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME. I am so incredibly thankful to have experienced this!

 

Once we donned our suits and collected our gear, we were ready to capture the swarm. This meant that we placed a "nuc box" directly underneath the cluster and gave them a good shake. The hope of course is to catch as many bees as possible inside of the box and more importantly, the queen. Afterwards, the box was set right near the original swarm location and the remaining bees ideally join the group within a few hours. If we missed the queen and she failed to land in the box, most likely the swarm would take off again. 

 Once evening fell and the swarm was inside for the night, we moved the box to its new home on the farm. We will keep the bees well fed with sugar syrup for at least a month and hope that they are able to establish residence in their new home. 

 The entire experience of course was surreal to say the least for all of us. Everything played into our favor on this one. We saw the swarm almost instantly, we had the equipment to catch it, the swarm landed in an ideal location and most importantly we were literally working on the finishing touches of the honey bee foraging garden fence. This truly goes to show, IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME. I am so incredibly thankful to have experienced this!