Project cleanup: I got free beehives!

When it’s time to purchase new beehives for the coming year, have you ever found your mind drifting towards discovering a beehive-tree that gives you everything for free? Maybe you’d plant your crown board tree, your broodbox tree, a couple of frame bushes and plant your wax foundation tubers… Equipment is expensive! And if your…

Spring update

I knew that the gorgeous February weather would mean we’d get punished in March or April. And I was right. The winds are so strong here that it’s not possible to really do anything outside. We have greenhouses where we can work if it rains or snows, but with strong winds they feel like rattling…

Simple Tiramisu

Tiramisu is such an easy and delicious dessert. It’s easy to make in a container that’s convenient to take with you to wherever you want to eat it. So it’s great for potlucks, picknicks, anywhere you’re required to bring food to share. This recipe is a more casual version of the white chocolate tiramisu I…

Species we’d love to have living near us

To me, homesteading isn’t primarily about farming. Homesteading is about making use out of the many resources your environment offers. So, grow your vegetables, chop firewood and raise chickens. You are human and you know you feel better in a natural environment. Helping life go on, regenerating the soil, and stewarding the spot where God…

Rendering down moldy frames in spring

Spring seems to have arrived early all of a sudden. It’s mid-February and we’ve gone from normal grey, rainy weather directly onto bright, 11-16°C beautiful spring weather. I am carefully sowing frost resistant crops and getting soils ready for planting. I’ve also done the first hive-check of 2019. Normally in my area, we don’t open…

Removing dying trees

Or property is lined with Japanese cypress trees (Chamaecyparis obtusa). These were planted in 1967 by the previous owners. In the past few years, more and more of these trees have started dying, getting sick and we’ve slowly removed them to make room for other trees. The summer of 2018 was very, very dry and…

The problem with modern versions of heritage breeds

When I began focusing more on the poultry I kept, one of the first breeds I fell in love with was the Orpington. Gorgeous, big, fluffy chickens who were described to me as excellent layers of large eggs, great mother hens and they come in tons of fun colors! I’ve owned buff Orpingtons, partridge, silver-laced…

Cheesy tomato pie

An ongoing project of mine during summer, is canning tomato sauce. As soon as the plants start to yield ripe fruits, I always have more than our family can eat. Thanks to binging on home-grown tomatoes all summer my taste palate is ruined to the extent I can’t swallow any ‘impostor tomatoes’; store bought bags…

Keeping animals hydrated in winter

Last week, we finally saw our first snow. It seems as if winter has been arriving consistently later and later than it used to. I hope that trend isn’t real or at least reverses soon, because I don’t want the spring season to be any shorter than it already is. I’m looking forward to starting…

Bee-eggs on the bottom drawer

I should start this by mentioning that the type of beehives that are used in western-Europe, always come with a screened bottom board AND a drawer underneath. I follow a bunch of beepeeking groups and blogs, within and beyond my own region. Watching these, I’ve noticed beekeepers in some warmer climates, or in places with…

Plans for small livestock 2019

2018 was a great year for duck nests and raising chickens. The drought took a toll on the terrain, most of the grass hasn’t been able to regrow. I will need to make sure there are less animals to put pressure on the terrain. I have been slowly but surely butchering ducks and chickens since…

Visiting wildlife

One of the great things about having a big backyard or living on a farm-type location are the visitors you get. We live nearby a small, protected nature reserve, so we get a lot of interesting wildlife-visitors. In a densely populated setting, these deer are some of the largest wild animals that will appear. They…

Red beet and pumpkin soup

It’s almost January, but I still have lots of typical fall vegetables to cook into something edible. Pumpkins and red beets can easily be preserved well into winter, all the way on to spring if you’re careful. I have a problem though; red beets aren’t liked here in my family. This soup is great for…

New breeding rabbit!

I’ll confess something right here… I only have one group of livestock that pays for itself, plus earns me money. This money gets eaten quickly by animals I can’t sell or raise as efficiently. These fantastic animals who bring in some money for feed and vet bills are my Belgian hare rabbits. Jup, the skinny…

Planning the apiary

2018 was my first year in beekeeping. The colonies that survive the winter will give me a honey crop in the spring of 2019. It’s difficult to predict how much honey you’ll get from a hive. In my area, a healthy hive can produce as little as 10kg of honey in a year if the…

Planning for next growing season

November, December and January are typical months to be planning your outdoor-activities for the next year. I will be doing the same and I need to be doing this for my garden, my small livestock and my apiary. In this post I’ll explain how I decide on new varieties to plant. I’ll limit myself to…

Planting flower bulbs when you’re too late!

Most flower bulbs, especially those that bloom in spring are planted in autumn before the first frost. In my area bulbs are planted onwards from the 15th of October into November. If you respect this time frame there probably won’t be any issues, most bulbs are hardy and will show themselves in spring. There are…

Caramel-honey pear tarte-tatin

This a very simple recipe to make. It makes for a spiced cake that isn’t overpowering. The cake is quite light and fluffy, if you’re worried about the sweetness of the top layer, simply use less honey and syrup. Preparation and top layer Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking tin with parchment paper….

Carrot & walnut cake with mascarpone glaze

It might be funny to some, but this is the first carrot cake I’ve ever made. I’m a big fan of cakes made with fruits or vegetables, because these stay moist better than anything else. Honey cakes are a close second because of the hygroscopic nature of honey, but mango, banana, apples or carrots are…

An introduction to honeybee varieties

Across the globe, people harvest honey from various sorts of bee-types. In Asia apis cerana, Koschevnikov and Dorsata are used. Not all of these can be kept in hives, but humans have gone looking for colonies to harvest from for centuries. It has been a popular subject for photographers and documentary makers, to show people…