Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thank you!

The Honey Sale at the Holiday Gift Shop went fantastic! 

A special thank you to Cameron and Marianne and Marta and Lidia for all their enthusiasm, time and inspiration. The crafts and balloons and equipment were amazing!

Also, a special thank you to all of you who purchased some honey. 
I hope you are enjoying it. 

A portion of the proceeds will be used to purchase 2 packages of bees, the box and hive and training through Heifer International (

Be on the lookout for fun information regarding bees in the coming blog entries.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Little Humbugs!

As a follow up for the Holiday Shop Honey Sale and Pollinator Information Sharing, I thought I would for the next few posts, share some fun pollinator sites that are children friendly and also informative and very much worth a visit.

On this site, they provide a little downloadable booklet about how to save pollinators, providing beautifully illustrated pictures and excellent information:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bee cartoons!

After the last two visits, I see why bee doesn’t drop in on grandpa more often.

An interesting take on the troubles bees are having. 

Below is the link to the site for more fun cartoons:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Save the Bees!

My friend's son, Cameron, has been so very excited and eager to learn more about bees and to help me sell my honey, as he is quite the salesman.

On Friday, December 9th, at his elementary school, they have a holiday shop, where the children can come and purchase reasonably priced gifts for their parents, friends and siblings and he and his mother have invited me to participate. Cameron and his friend, Lidia, have made amazing bee crafts too, including bee necklaces, bee headbands and bee ornaments and Lidia will offer bee nails.

They also created an amazing information board as they are more concerned with getting the word out about saving bees and other pollinators than making money!

Stay posted for more information about how to save the bees!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pink Footed Goose Sighting

Curiosity got the best of me today. 

There have been loads of cars parked down by the reservoir of Pine Run and I thought they might be hunters but instead they were BIRDWATCHERS! What a pleasant surprise! Cars from all over including several from Maryland.

After investigating, they are on the lookout for the

Pink footed Goose 

which normally lives in Greenland, where it nests on cliffs next to glaciers
 and migrates and over winters in northwestern Europe.

Here is a video of one swimming and walking - note the feet are not so very pink!

There have been a few sightings the past several years in PA dating back to 1997. (see

I was curious how the word gets out and I found this site:

Also, a local birder had more information about this event on his blog:

This is quite an exciting moment for birders and we were told if the goose stays longer we can expect folks from all over as far and wide as from CA coming to get a glimpse, since it such a rare event.

Happy Goose Watching!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

October Snow brings more tricks than treats!

"It was only going to be a dusting!" 

I happened to just catch a snippet of the news on Friday afternoon and was shocked to see a snow storm headed our way with 6 - 12 inches forecasted. Friday night was spent putting on the snow blade in the dark, just in case, and it was a good thing as we woke up on Saturday, October 29th to heavy snow falling -

Note that most of the trees still have leaves. 

Power went out around noon and as we meandered around the house to past the time, we suddenly heard an abrupt knocking at the window and were shocked to see some wild turkeys pecking and eating some berries that had fallen from the Green Hawthorne tree.

 As startled as we were, they headed off towards the woods, past the truck,   . . .

 . . . leaving these huge tracks behind. Stepping outside to take these photos, you could hear branches crashing through out the woods. 

The next day, we had bright sunshine, clear blue skies and brilliant white snow  . .  .

 . .  but we could then see all the damage . . .

We lost about 10 branches total, many falling from the tops of the trees and bringing other branches down as they fell. One massive branch from the old maple covered the driveway. 
We were fortunate though, as many folks were out of power for days or lost entire trees. 

Below is a snowfall total from Accuweather for the Northeast breaking records everywhere. No one in this area we talked to can even recall having snow in October. 

Apparently, power outages have increased in our area by 60% in the last few years. 
Is it system issues or more intense storms?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Funky Fungi

Earlier this fall, between September 8 and 9, Tropical Storm Lee passed through, bringing buckets and buckets of rain, dumping over 7 inches and causing flooding throughout the Delaware Valley region and beyond. Normally, in early September, we have about 42 inches for the year but this year we had over 49 inches. 

This excess has also translated into more fungi and mushrooms to enjoy, such as  . . .

Elegant Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans)
The top of it is covered in brown spores that are spread 
by insects, that are attracted to it
 due to its strong smell. 

  . . . and this Brain Fungus - not its official name - it is hard and hand sized and grows up in the grass. It had bites in it from the deer but must not be too tasty as it was left for not . . 

 . . . and these Puffballs - they were all over in various shapes and sizes. This one is hand sized and stalked. They are of the division of fungus called Basidiomycota and produce a cloud of brown dust like spores called statismospores as seen below when you step or poke at it. 

 . . . and also this type of  Puffball, but it is not stalked and grows up 
from the ground on a small stem that dies away. 

Here are a couple online mushroom identification guides:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Whose Hungry?

Our Kousa Dogwood has provided a lot of fruit  . .

            . . . to an array of animals this fall that luckily I spotted over the last few weeks. 

Unfortunately,  I didn't catch any of them in the act with a photo
so you will have to use your imagination - 

here is the tree:

Following a storm,  
I saw two young raccoons scampering up and around it. 

Several deer, a week later 

and then an opossum
one late night, 
whose shiny eyes I caught in the headlight beams. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

" We'll eat like kings."

This Farside comic came to mind one foggy morning this past August when I discovered several huge spider webs about 2 feet by 3 feet in diameter

dangling from our Sweet gum trees 
and then several along the evergreen path. 

What were the spiders trying to catch? Deer? Me? 
I never found the spiders who cast these webs. Perhaps, that is a good thing so I can sleep at night.
There were also smaller ones in the trees dangling like ornaments in a Christmas tree:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eggplant for Everyone!

Unlike last year, we have had a boon in eggplants this year and have enjoyed eating them and discovering new ways to prepare them. They are delicious when dredged first with egg then dipped in breadcrumbs and then lightly sauteed and eaten as a side dish. Using this same method and then assembled as Eggplant Parmesan makes for a healthy, vegetarian dinner meal served with a crisp green salad topped with fruit and baby tomatoes and some warm italian bread to the side.

I use the delicious recipe from The Victory Garden by Marian Morash and the recipe is as follows with some of my own minimal additions:

Eggplant Parmesan

2 lb eggplant - that's about 1-2 eggplants sliced 3/8 of an inch and then salted and patted dry
3 eggs
1-2 cups of bread crumbs
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 tsp of fresh oregano
1 lb of mozzarella cheese - I use grated
3 cups of tomato sauce - I use 1-2 jars of spagetti sauce

Peel the eggplant, slice and salt. After 30 minutes pat it dry. Beat the eggs with 2 Tablespoons of water. Dip the eggplant slices first into the eggs, then the crumbs. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large frying pan, and then saute the eggplant slices until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on brown paper ( I used paper towels). Add oil as you complete sauteing all the eggplant.
Place half the eggplant slices in a a 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, half the oregano and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Cover with 1/2 the tomato sauce. Repeat the layers. Top with the last of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 6-8.

Recently,  I enjoyed a different variation of this meal at Florentino's in Newtown (18 South Street, 215.860.1133),  where they slice the eggplant very thin and then lightly saute it, stack it about an inch high and then add the sauce and cheese on top instead layered in between the eggplant. The eggplant flavor is more prominent and very delicious. Thank you, Sue Ann, for a wonderful outing!

Buon appetito!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our very own QR Code!

In case you didn't notice, to the right of this entry is the blog's 
own QR Code. 

We have added a QR code on each of our honey bottles this fall for quick access to this blog 
via a smart phone application. 

The app is called Scan and is a free download and lots of fun. 

Anyone can get a QR Code or Quick Response by going online to the QR Code generator site. Your code can include a variety of information including a phone number, 
email address, or any other alphanumeric data. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby Mantis on the loose!

After walking the dog 
earlier in the summer, I came in to eat breakfast. 
As I sat down, a flash of green caught my eye and there, 
on the ground to behold was a baby Praying Mantis. It must have hitched a ride indoors. 
I quickly scooped it up before Sigi could step on it and transported it
outside to the Fothergilla gardenii bush in the corner of the garden.
I grabbed my camera to capture these shots. 

Note its powerful forearms that can crush prey in half and are spiked.

I guess it needed to clean up after such an unsettling affair. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catch me if you can, big dog!

Despite the fact that we have a very large dog, Sigi, we still have rabbits all over our back yard. They enjoy teasing him and leaving remains for him to smell and torment him and then even mock him by hopping right by his door. 

It is a friendly interaction though and provides great entertainment for us all. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Little Fawn, don't be afraid!

From my office earlier in the summer, I could see a young fawn nestled in the grass 
sleeping out in the open unprotected. 

I was curious and watched for awhile and finally went down to investigate. I startled her eventually and she ran unfortunately into my garden fence and seemed very wobbly.

I was concerned that perhaps the mother had abandoned her. I called the Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center for instructions and they informed me to keep a watchful eye out for her but not capture her at this time. If the fawn was abandoned she would quickly become dehydrated and decline quickly.

Another deer appeared within the hour and the fawn gleefully ran to it but was met with some unwelcome kicks. The fawn undeterred remained nearby nibbling on some grass.

I spied the next morning the fawn reunited with the mother eating 
happily some apples under the crabapple tree.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cicada Killers Hard at Work!

I received an email from my good friend, Blanche, regarding an insect in her yard that was making large holes which she could not identify. 

After discussing it back and forth and sending her various insect photos, we determined she had in her flower beds an Eastern cicada killer, which is a very large solitary wasp. The females are larger and sting their prey, a cicada, to paralyze it and then use it to provision their nest. They emerge in June and can be seen until late September.

I visited her yard to take photos and found her flower bed all dug up with many large holes around her plantings and a male flying about keeping us on guard as he flew from hole to hole. A female arrived carrying a paralyzed cicada larger than herself and she promptly carried it down into one of the holes.

See the following article for further fascinating information:

I searched in my own yard for similar nests with no luck but did find 
this cicada, safe for the moment, on my porch. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sweet Clover Honey!

Although we had a slow start this year due to the cold spring weather, we still managed to collect over 90 lbs of honey. The first harvest was July 5th, the same day as last year! The second harvest was just 2 weeks later and we bottled another 40 lbs. The honey is mostly made from clover nectar and is delicious, light and sweet. We had a beautiful bumper clover crop this year that lasted for weeks until the hot dry weather rolled in.

We have 3 hives this year and they are vibrant but we are working hard to keep the mites and beetles at bay. We plan to add a 4th hive next year. The hive to the far left has been odd - just collecting honey for themselves and not putting any honey in the honey super for us and they spend a lot of time just hanging out as you can see. The hive to the far right was amazing and is the one from which we collected the most honey.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Frolicking Spring Arrivals

The meadow has returned, green and lush.

Spring has brought many beautiful little surprises.

A fawn was born . . 

mom holds a close watch . . .

Baby groundhogs scamper nearby  . . .

What adventures await them in the coming summer?