Blueberries!

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Here are some blueberries from my brother’s farm! He just dropped off a box of 8 cartons at my house for me, and another box for our uncles down the road. While not certified organic, he has never sprayed his blueberry bushes.
What to do with that many berries? I washed and froze most of them in ziplock bags. For most fruits I slice and freeze them on cookie sheets prior to storing in ziplock bags in order to keep them from turning into one big block of fruity ice. However, with the blueberries I’ve found that as long as you drain the water thoroughly and stack the bags flat, the berries don’t stick to each other too much. This saves some time.

There were a couple cartons that were getting soft, so I made blueberry compote. One carton was past its prime so I am using it in homemade enzyme cleaner (aka fruit vinegar). So that leaves me with four cartons frozen, two jars of delicious compote, and one carton will be combined with various citrus fruits to make cleaner and one to eat fresh! I also will probably use a very small number of them to experiment with making my own inks to draw with. I’ve been experimenting with some different berries lately and I would like to post a video of my drawing experiments some time in the near future.

All I had to do is get stung helping to Install his beehives in the rain this spring….actually, Andy would have given them to me anyway, and I don’t need blueberries to help with the bees : )

Thanks, Andy!

Impossible Garden August 2013

I thought I’d take you along with me on my morning stroll through the garden. The video ends with a puff of smoke from the smoker I am about to use to inspect my beehive. Instead of trying to explain everything to you though I thought I’d let the garden speak for itself…

5/3 Bank, Thanks for Feeding my Honeybees!

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I know I just said no more bee posts for a while, but I don’t often get an opportunity to randomly thank a local business for doing something environmentally friendly. I was just at 5/3 bank near Harlem and North in chicago. I think every bee in the neighborhood, including bumblebees, orchard mason bees, honeybees and several kinds I couldn’t identify, were busy working the flowers planted around an otherwise grey concrete parking lot. Given the fact that my Sweet Melissa hive sits less than a mile away, chances are pretty good that at least a few of these honeybees are mine.

The plant that was so popular appeared to be something in the mint family and I’d love to know for sure. I wonder did the 5/3 Bank landscapers know they were going to feed bees or were they just looking for an easy, long flowering, drought resistant plant?  

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Anyway, when local businesses use plants like these around an otherwise lifeless expanse of grey concrete parking lot, they not only make it more inviting for their customers, but play an important role in the local ecosystem. I think these parking lot landscaping areas can and should serve multiple purposes. In fact they play a vital role in providing habitat for creatures that wouldn’t otherwise make it in an urban environment.

5/3 Bank, Whether you meant to feed my bees or not, thanks for the bee food!

I’m excited!

Less than a week to go before my first art fair as a vendor! My friend Rose and I will have a booth at What’s Blooming on Harrison, in Oak Park, IL. We’ll be street vendors on Saturday only, but the event is happening on Friday at the brick and mortar galleries in the arts district, too. For a little information about What’s Blooming, check out this link.  Personally, I’m hoping I can take a break from my booth long enough to check out the beekeeping demonstration.

As an aside, I like bees a lot. They keep me well fed, between all of the fruits and veggies made possible by bee pollination and the delicious honey they make, as well as all the things you can do with bees wax…what’s not to love?