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Showing posts from August, 2017

Zucchini-Crusted Mexican Pizza

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Zucchini is almost always a sure-fire garden vegetable, often to the point of ridiculous returns on the investment of a few seeds. We even planted ours in semi-shade this year to slow it down, and we’ve still managed to pick more than we can typically eat as a side dish. In addition to baking and freezing our favorite zucchini bread for the winter, we’ve had plenty of zucchini pizzas on the grill, along with zucchini salads and sides. 
There’s still always more to eat, so Kirk dug into one of our favorite summer reference books, the Moosewood Cookbook. This is full of excellent vegetarian recipes, and Kirk decided to try making a zucchini-crusted pizza. This is basically a grated zucchini fritter held together with egg and cheese, but you make it big enough to use as the crust of a pizza. You can find the recipe here. Kirk tweaked the recipe by making it on a flat pizza pan with browning holes instead of in a pie plate, which made it much crispier. 
Instead of the suggested Mediterra…

Our (Partial) Solar Eclipse

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You might have heard about the solar eclipse that swept the country on Monday. We weren’t prepared with eclipse glasses, but we caught Jonas heading out with this contraption:

That’s just two pairs of regular sunglasses doubled up, so after a stern talk about eye safety, we built a viewer to take outside. Kirk used an old cardboard tube to make a pinhole projector:

The tube is 4 feet long and 3.5 inches in diameter — it was leftover from a new carpet we had delivered earlier in the summer, and we were glad to have it still lying around. The longer the tube, the bigger the image. 
All he’d die was cover one end with foil tape and poke a small hole in it. The bottom is covered with white paper to make a screen. He cut a viewing window near the bottom, and this is what you see:

This was at the beginning of the eclipse. The rest of the photos below are in order as it changed. At its height, we were at about 62-63 percent in shadow.





It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and we’re defini…

Catching a Swarm for Our Second Hive

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Things have calmed down here considerably since this weekend’s bee tornado, when our colony decided to split and swarm to create a second group of bees. Once they settled down and found their queen, they all clustered up on a sheltered post of our grape arbor: 

This is a lot of bees, and they wouldn’t stay there forever. Their next job was to look for a new place to build comb for a hive — a hollow log would be nice, but it’s just as likely that they would find a hole in a wall and build their nest in a house or garage.
That’s not exactly good publicity for honeybees when it comes to the neighbors, so our job was to catch that swarm and give it a new home. To do that, I dug an old box out of the recycling bin and donned my bee suit to grab those bees and give them some shelter before the sun set. Kirk was called in to work, so I had to do it myself. This would have been better as a two-person job, since climbing on a chair and holding that box in one hand while scooping bees with the…

Swarm!

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This afternoon Jonas called me to look out the window because the wind was acting weird and things were flying around in circles in the back yard.
It wasn’t the wind.

What Jonas was lucky enough to notice was that the bees were swarming.
Honeybees do this when their colony is doing well. It’s a way to reproduce by creating a new queen and sending the old one out into the world with a bunch of workers to build a new hive somewhere. 
When they do it, it looks like a bee tornado.

The first video was early — probably not too long after they decided to ship out of the hive — but during the second they were starting to coalesce a bit. You can hear the buzzing if you listen closely. (Jonas was not exactly delighted by any of this.) Eventually I saw that they were beginning to land on the grape vines, and in another half hour or so they had all decided on a post of the grape arbor.

This is a nice, sheltered spot, and hopefully they have a little trouble finding a suitable log or hole to move…