Spring on the Homestead

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100_3985Been a very fun and interesting weedend here on the ol’ homestead. It’s what I find so exciting about spring, something new at every turn. On friday Carolyn planted the first Walla Walla Sweets. You’ve never had a sweeter, more tasty onion. The starts come in to the local greenhouse early and they don’t last long as folks scoop them up quick. Now here’s a little lesson when it comes to planting onions, you don’t put them in the soil as much as you rest them on top of it. Honest, I kid you not. You put them in the soil just enough so they don’t tip over. This time of year it can still be very cold in central oregon, so Carolyn suspends a ground cover over them to protect a bit from frost. She has nearly filled the new onion bed I built for her last fall. Last fall she filled one end with garlic and is it ever looking good. Garlic always takes off first thing in the spring. Now we have Walla Walla’s at the opposite end and still she has some room in the middle for yellow onions that will be planted later. She’s the onion master and no one grows a more delicious, organic onion than she does. We still have one onion left in storage from last season and it will sacraficed on the barby q grill in a matter of days.

Also planted this weekend was a bare root Bartlett Pear. They just came into the greenhouse and since they are still dormant there is no better time to transplant them. Our new tree will wake up in its new home and be ready to go as soon as the weather allows. Its flowers are something the bees just love.

The vineyard expansion is nearly complete now and I will soon be putting the fence back up, but the grapes dont like frost so it will be awhile before we see them come to life. Which reminds me, its time to break out some of the grape juice we canned last year as a reminder of just how scrumptious those fresh grapes are. I put together a mixture of Himrod and Concord juice that is quite tasty!

Another task that Carolyn has just about completed is the melting of all the beeswax we got from last years honey harvest. You wrap the wax in cheese cloth, set it in a pan of hot water and let the melted wax float out into the water. The impurities remain “beehind”, caught up in the cheesecloth. The wax is the most beautiful golden color and has filled the house with a wonderfully sweet aroma. All kinds of balms, soaps, creams and candles can be made from the wax and I found it interesting to note that it sells on Amazon for at least $10 a pound. I’m looking into a solar wax melter that will improve the process.

Our beeswax pics are at the top. This wheel of wax weighed nearly 4 pounds.

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