Friday, June 22, 2012

Pay No Attention To Little Me

I am not a bug person. I found them interesting as a child, learning about potato bugs and butterflies, but I have terrible arachnophobia and I don't really find six legged creatures to be all that attractive either. I don't like looking at pictures of insects, let alone looking at an actual live, moving insect.

So at first I was not into the idea of getting bees. I went to a beekeeping class up in Burgville, learned a lot, but still thought that was not for me. And then, somehow, I'm not really sure how, that changed. Somehow I ended up with a beehive and a package swarm of bees on my front porch. 

I read the book, I joined the club, I did the research. And then I actually suited up and put the bees into their new hive...and I was hooked. I've suited up around five times now, each time delving into the depths of the hive, examining the the combs, searching for larvae and the all important Queen bee. Each time a bee will land on my gloved hand or crawl on my veil. Each time I think to myself  "This is the coolest thing ever." 

Today I once again delved into the beehive  I always feel like Winnie the Pooh when I first approach the bees. But anyway, I pulled out a few frames, and squealed in delight over the dozens of larvae and mass amounts of HONEY. We scraped the burr comb off the top of a frame and honey oozed out of it. It was amazing. 

We pulled out the next frame and I almost jumped up and down in excitement (not a good thing to do in the presence of three thousand bees)  "Look! Look, Anna! The Queen! It's the Queen! See? Look!" 

We scraped off more burr comb and closed up the hive. We took the comb inside the house and the kids dipped their fingers in , grabbed big chunks and popped them in their mouths. I actually had honey dripping down my hand. REAL honey. Amazingly delicious tastes-nothing-like-store-bought-honey honey. 

I'm surprised. I really didn't think I would love beekeeping as much as I do. I LOVE it. So, the moral is...try new things? Bees make tasty honey? Winnie the Pooh is a good role model? I'm not sure, but I am delighted. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

You are Almost Ready to be Entrusted with the Secret Ingredient of my Secret Ingredient Soup. And Then You Will Fulfill Your Destiny and Take Over the Restaurant Just as I Took It Over From My Father Who Took It Over From His Father Who Won It From a Friend in a Game of Mahjong.

Hello blogging world. I have not forgotten you. I just...meh

Today we went to the annual Pinewood derby and chili cook-off! Once again I entered my chili (more just to make sure there would be chili I could actually eat rather than to enter the contest) but this year I had two surprises.

First, there were two other vegetarian entries! I had three bowls of chili! It was awesome!

Second, I won an award! My chili is now award-winning.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili 
3 medium-large organic sweet potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried black beans (soaked and cooked until soft)
1 16-ounce can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
4 teaspoons fresh ground cumin
2 teaspoons California chili pepper powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

 Bake the sweet potatoes at 350 for 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 3/4-inch dice. Set aside until needed. Water sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion is golden. Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro and sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered for 15 minutes. Add the diced sweet potatoes and cilantro. Let stand off the heat for an hour or two, then heat through right before serving.