What I Want to Do When I Grow Up

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum



What do I want to do when I grow up?

My answer always was

Grow flowers and herbs,

Make wreaths and such

But bees and chickens?

Not even a thought!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea


For many, many,  years, as a second grade teacher, I did a get-to-know-you activity with my students during the first week of school.  We designed All About Me T-shirts (on paper), adding different pictures and details about ourselves, to share with other classmates.  One section was to draw a picture of what they wanted to do when they grew up.  I always did a shirt design, too, and the kids thought it was funny that I drew something for “what I want to do when I grow up”.  I explained to them, that mine referred to when I retired, and could choose what I wanted to do with that part of my life.  What did I draw?  – always something to represent herbs,  flowers, and wreaths.  I saw myself growing herbs and making dried arrangements and wreaths with my herbs and everlasting flowers – something I loved doing, but just never seemed to have time for while teaching.

chickweed to harvest

chickweed to harvest

So here I am, 2 years retired, and what do I find myself doing?  I’m out in the garden, planting and weeding and harvesting herbs and flowers!  But not for making wreaths and dried arrangements.  Instead, it’s for use use in our BEEpothecary products, to compliment the amazing bee propolis!  It hit me today, as I was out harvesting lemon balm, oregano,  calendula, comfrey, lovage, thyme, mint and yarrow,  that I AM doing pretty much what I said I wanted to do when I grew up!  Pretty cool!  Of course the beekeeping and making beehive products were not even a blip on the radar when I was teaching.  The beehive products and a business to boot, not even an idea in our minds when we first got bees!  We just wanted pollination for our gardens and some honey!  Little did we know that some reading and research would lead us in this direction.  Our BEEpothecary adventure is an exciting, unanticipated addition to this next phase of life.

I’ve used herbs myself medicinally, for years, when doctors couldn’t help me or traditional medicine didn’t work.  And I’ve grown herbs and flowers for decades, but never really did much with them, because I just didn’t have time.  The harvest usually came in late August, right when I was heading back to the grind of getting ready for a new school year.  This year, with a great

Starting our herb infused oils

Starting our herb infused oils

A big batch of lemon balm in olive oil

A big batch of lemon balm in olive oil

spring and summer of warmth and rain, I ‘ve been able to harvest my herbs once already,  and today – a beautiful 75 degrees – I was able to harvest them a second time.  And Laurie has quite a garden going, from which we will get even more herbs to use.   It’s a good thing, too, since our business has grown to the point that we are now making 5 gallon pickle buckets full of herb-infused oils!  We’re going to need a lot to get us through the winter months!  It gives me great satisfaction to be able to use these natural treasures to make useful skin care and health products that others can benefit from.  Making things from something you have helped grow with your own hands and sweat and toil, is quite satisfying.  And working with God’s bountiful and beautiful creations – the plants and the bees and the animals –  always leaves me awestruck.

Now tomorrow, the plan is to clean out the chicken coop, after practicing the deep bedding method all fall and winter and spring – which means nine



months of layers of straw, chicken poop, wood shavings and more chicken poop.  Now this task should be interestingly awful –  but awestruck, NO!  I will be donning my muck boots and gloves and probably a mask to do this!  But I guess it is the price to pay after benefiting from God’s little chickens and their yummy eggs for all these months.  I’ll let you know if I survive!




Jeremiah 29

10This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

14I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”


Garlic Scapes Pesto

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The Land of Milk and Honey

Cooking with Honey

by Laurie Dotson 
Garlic in the garden

Garlic in the garden

Sorry, No honey cooking today!  How about garlic.

For years, We had this strange plant growing in our garden.  At the time, I loved flower gardening. I had multiple large gardens in my yards.  I would add any new or throw away perennials people would give me.  And If I didn’t have room, I would make a new garden.  Big, Beautiful flower gardens. I had an oasis.

Every Spring and early summer, I would notice this plant. A hardy plant, that would grow a spiked shoot and then over night it would curl.  When it flowered, it has tiny little flowers and then it would grow these bulbs off the end.  Later the bulbs would drop and the next year I had more plants.  I loved the shape and the color. I would use them in flower arrangements and potted arrangements.  Still never knew exactly what I had.  Until one day, when I dig up a huge mound of them.     I eat everything.     So I took a deep swiff of it and then bit into it! Yeowzers! I had garlic! GARLIC!  All these years, I had Garlic. I love Garlic.  Garlic is a staple in my kitchen. It goes in everything I cook.  I could grow these, along with other herbs and make food for the family. But Vegetable gardening ? Never a consideration…until!

After a quick internet search on garlic. I learned how to care and grow garlic cloves.  I now have 200 garlic plants and that is where the garlic scapes come from.  What do you do with all your scapes??  Well we saute’ them with veggies, I roast them with meat, I cut them ups and add them to a salad… or I make this Garlic Scape Pesto is a great way to use something we get a whole heck of a lot of this time of year. When you grow two hundred heads of garlic, guess how many garlic scapes you get? That is correct – you get two hundred garlic scapes. That’s a lot.

Scapes are important to the garlic – it’s how more garlic plants happen. There are little seeds in the bigger round part, and if you leave the scapes in place, they would eventually burst open, scattering ripe seeds around, which will germinate and make more garlic plants. Unfortunately, in so doing, they draw nutrients away from the growing of the bulb they are on – and the bulbs are what is important to us. So, they all have to be cut off. And since we can’t stand to waste anything, we are working on finding ways to use them. They have great taste and very tender and the texture fabulous.  Get them early!

I cut a five gallon bucket full of these Garlic Scapes

I cut a five gallon bucket full of these Garlic Scapes

Fortunately, they are really wonderful in pesto, because we get all the great flavor and they get completely ground up, so texture isn’t an issue. And we LOVE pesto. I make as much of it as I can every summer and freeze it in ice cube trays to enjoy through the winter. Once the pesto is frozen solid, you can just pop the cubes out of the tray and store them in ziplock bags or other containers. You do want to have some trays dedicated solely to pesto and like substances though – the ice cube trays will absorb the flavor and pesto flavored iced tea is surprisingly un-tasty.

Garlic Pesto Ingerdents

Garlic Pesto Ingerdents

You will likely be able to find garlic scapes at your local Farmer’s Market this time of year, or maybe even in your CSA box. If you know someone who grows garlic, they might have some to share – they are worth looking for!

Garlic Scape Pesto

Serves: 1 & ½ cups
  • ½ cup chopped garlic scapes
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup lightly toasted pine nuts or almonds
  • ½ cup fresh basil, packed tightly – then roughly chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup good quality olive oil
  1. Add everything but the oil to the bowl of a food processor
  2. Process until everything is finely chopped and almost a paste.
  3. Leave the processor running and stream in oil
  4. It will only take a moment of two for the mixture to emulsify – turn off processor.
  5. Leave at room temperature for an hour or so to develop flavors- keep plastic wrap pressed to top surface to keep the top from turning brown.
  6. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, or can be frozen.

garlic scape pestoGarlic Scape Pesto is wonderful anywhere that you would use ordinary pesto – on vegetables, pasta, in sandwiches, topping a bowl of soup – just about anything, really. Experiment to find how you like to use it most!  I will be taking this on a camping trip with friends and using this in my dinner preparations.

Enjoy your Garden and Farm, and all it has to offer!


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First Dig of Spring

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

One garden bed down, 13 to go

Satisfying, that first dig of spring

Ground cold, but weeds growing

Preparing the earth

In anticipation of bountiful harvest

With help from the bees.

All this, while our bee girls “sleep.”

Clover, Bee and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

It was almost 50 degrees today, though breezy and damp. I decided to brave the chill to go out and weed the first garden bed of spring.  Steve has a new raised bed/cold frame in the works and has the 2 x 12’s painted and ready to go.  It will go in a former flower bed of mine, below our back deck.  One of those beds I just couldn’t figure out what to do with and so had neglected for several summers.  I’m glad Steve will be taking it over!

It was exciting to get out this early in the spring,  to get a jump on the grown of weeds already flourishing in some areas of my 20140529_022524gardens.  In past years, on a Saturday in mid-March, I would be  ensconced on the couch for hours, surrounded by piles of papers and journals to grade, and piles of lesson planning materials.   But this spring, my first one of retirement, I can get outside on the first warm enough day and get started.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the gardens I have created and  dread going out to what seems like endless work.  As someone once said so well.  “Whoever said a job well done is a job done once, never had a garden!”  We live out in the country a ways, where no one trims, or treats for dandelions or fertilizes their lawns – which is fine with us!  We’re into the more wild and natural look.  But it also means tons of invasive weeds seeds brought in by birds and bees and furry creatures  and wind.  So, keeping my garden beds under control is a never ending battle, and one for the last 35 years I haven’t come even close to winning.

But this year, I hope to get a jump on things and keep up.  I have to psych myself into getting started though, when there is so much to do.  I am a person who like closure on projects – I like to work on something until it is finished.  But there is just too much outside to do.  It would never happen.  And I am finding that at my age, I need to pace myself.  Too long working in the garden, and I won’t be able to get up off the couch for days.

So I went out today, intent on doing JUST ONE BED – that would be “finished” for today.  1 1/2 hours later, muddy rear, muddy elbows and knees, muddy shoes, tools and gloves – and I had accomplished my goal.  I love the look of freshly turned soil, just waiting to be planted, waiting to nourish and grow seeds and plants, in concert with our bee friends.

Without the bees, we would not be able to grow anything.  They are such a huge part of God’s nature plan.  I have worked, for years, in my garden, side by side with the bees visiting from flower to flower.  But I never really thought about how important they were to our world, our food source, our lives.  And I certainly never thought I’d be raising bees!

Two years ago, our first with the bees, our gardens were phenomenal!  But last summer, due to the demands work and of caring for our sick parents, we didn’t get much of a garden in. So I am excited to have an early start on gardening tasks.   I know we will reap the benefits of our bee friends’ work, with well pollinated crops and bountiful harvest! There is something immeasurably satisfying about growing your own!

Beginner’s Luck

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Newbies, beginners, don’t really know what we’re doin’

But we’ll fake it and hope the girls will make it

Without us constantly viewing.

By God’s natural design, they’ll probably do just fine!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

We (did you catch that? WE, not just Steve…guess I’m starting to feel some ownership of this reverie – er project!)  haven’t done a really great job of  staying on top of hive inspections this first year.  We may have bitten off a bit more than we could chew.  Steve planted a huge garden in 3 different locations in the yard that have required much, much tending and weeding.  Can you say – thistles!?  But oh, my do we have tomatoes, and tomatoes, and tomatoes , and beans, and cabbage and onions, and squash, and  . . .   It has to be the great pollination from the bees.  We’ve never had garden production like this.  We’ve spent a lot of time making salsa, and sauce and canning and freezing – Steve more than I.  I only have the summer for all my projects and gardening and household fix -ups and it’s almost time to start getting ready for school, again.

Tomatoes galore!
Tomatoes galore!

Fortunately, despite our limited hive inspections this summer, our hive of bees seems to be doing fine.  We didn’t really know just how to check for mites, but didn’t really see any problems.  We did see a few beetles, but dead ones, at least.

One thing I learned was that bees like curly hair!  I went out without my helmet and veil one time, just to watch, and the bees found me!  At least one got stuck in my hair and buzzed like crazy as I ran around the yard freaking out, yelling and brushing at my hair – trying it get it out.  Of course, in all the commotion, I got stung.  Man that hurt – no fatty flesh to absorb the venom!  I won’t go without a hat, again!

But did you know that they die, once they’ve stung you! Serves ’em right!

Psalm 65

11 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.