Thursday, January 5, 2017

Country Christmas Connection

In years past we've had a blogging secret santa gift exchange called Christmas in the Country. Unfortunately the ladies in charge of that had to step back. Lucky for us Jenny from The Magic Farmhouse and Darleen from Guernsey Dairy Mama stepped in and made the gift exchange their own calling it the Country Christmas Connection and they did a wonderful job!

This year my gift came from Kailey Rhoades who blogs over at Anne's Alpine Dairy Goats

She sent 2 bars of homemade goat milk soap and some delicious chocolate truffles. The soaps smell amazing, when I got the package I could smell them before I opened the box!

Once again another successful Christmas gift exchange!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happenings From the Hive

A little over a month ago my dad and I attended the Fall Conference for the Missouri State Beekeepers Association or MSBA down at the Lake of the Ozarks. This was going to be the first time in 3 years I wasn't helping as Honey Princess or Queen and so I decided to volunteer and help head the Cooking with Honey Contest and Beekeeping Art contest. I had a blast doing it and we had a great turn out with several amazing entries. Along with the contests I was excited to listen to the speakers they had lined up. 2 of the best beekeepers in the country! I learned so much.

The first night of the conference is an awards banquet where numerous people receive awards for their contribution for the MSBA. I got to present the winners of the Cooking with honey and Beekeeping art contests. One thing that I wasn't expecting was that I was awarded Beekeeper of the Year. I was so shocked when the MSBA President announced my name I almost started crying! It was such a great honor and for me to have been chosen out of many many wonderful beekeepers in the state. It was just the night before at the board meeting that I was reading over the list of past winners recognizing many names of beekeepers who have mentored and taught me over the years. Many of whom have been keeping bees for 20+ years. For me only a 6 year beekeeper to win this award just means so much. This is such a great organization and I'm truly proud to have been involved with them for the past few years.

My awesome Plaque that I won! It's made out of a side board of a hive box.

Myself with the President of the MSBA

The funnest thing was that the next day I was writing a check and signing up for another beekeeping class to attend! I think that there is always room for more learning and with beekeeping things are always changing. If I want to live up to the title of Beekeeper of the Year I need to keep learning and bettering my skills as a beekeeper. I think in everyone's lives we never stop learning!

A little update on my honeybees from this year. We had 3 hives survive last winter and then I bought 1 more and caught a swarm bringing our summer total to 5 hives. I had 2 at my house and 3 at my parents house. 4 did well all season and but one grew week and eventually died this fall so we are currently down to 4. We harvested our honey late August. We didn't do as well as we were expecting but we still got around 40 pounds.

The bees are now settling down for winter. We have treated them for mites and I've made candy for them so they have something to eat if they run out of honey stores. Now we let them be and only check on them if it warms up above 50 degrees to check to see if they need more food. We will wait until spring before we do anything to extensive.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Knowing Where We Come From

A couple weeks ago I spent 6 days traveling around South East Iowa and North East Missouri visiting the graves of my ancestors. Each Memorial weekend for as long as I can remember my mom, aunts, and grandmother would take me to the various cemeteries and show me where many of my family members were buried. They told each year who each person was and how they were related to me. When I was young not much of the information sank in and I always got bored traveling around. It wasn't until a few years back that I really started taking an interest in family history and genealogy. So in 2014 I asked my mom if we could do the cemetery visits again and this time I wanted to document it all. I took my camera and a note pad and took pictures of each family member and wrote down how they were related. I was over the moon excited to do this.

It blew my mind that for years they were taking me to visit places that several sets of my 4th great grandparents were! It really struck an interest in me to learn more about who they were. Later that year I became busy with school and work and wasn't able to go do the cemetery visits on Memorial Day 2015. But earlier this year I signed up for and started making my family tree out. That has enabled me to find more ancestors and information. They become more than just names on a stone. You learn their professions, where they came from, and other interesting facts.

So this year I was able to take off of work and we started our adventures memorial weekend and visited graves of most of my moms family but did see a few on my dads side. We visited 9 different cemeteries and found one set of 5th great grandparents on my dads side! That's the farthest back that I've been able to see the graves of so far. The sad part was it was in a cemetery not far form where we've driven a thousand times and could have stopped at on numerous occasions.

Then we came home for a couple days but left again for 3 more days for more family history fun. We stopped at a library in one of the counties where some of my dads family were from. It was the first time i'd been able to do research scanning through books and old records. I felt i could now officially call myself a genealogist! We found lots of neat information on not only my dads side but even my moms side which surprised me! One neat tidbit was there was a book about Ohio history (in a Missouri library) that mentioned my 4th great grandfather on my moms side was the first sheriff in Holmes Co. Ohio and that his brother served on one of the first courts. To find and see their names in books really is an amazing thing to me. After that we met up with my dads 1st cousin whom I've known all my life and a 4th cousin twice removed who I hadn't met yet, in a cemetery in NE Missouri. We looked around there and found family members and then went and ate a picnic in a park.

After the picnic we still had 3 hrs of daylight left so we hit up 3 more cemeteries. One of which was in the back of this guys pasture! We pulled up to the drive way and luckily he was outside. We walked up and introduced ourselves and said we had 4 generations of family buried back in his pasture and that we would like to see it if possible. He was nice enough to drive us out there! 3 strange women he'd never met before. It was a beautiful evening for tromping though a grown up cemetery not visited in several years.

The next day we visited a museum in another county where my dad was born and the local library and looked at their genealogical records. We found stuff that my cousin who's done a lot of research didn't know. We also visited 4 more cemeteries 2 of which were also again in cow pastures!! Luckily they were easier to get to and didn't require permission. This brought our total for this weekend up to 10 cemeteries and 19 cemeteries for the week!

One of the things that I've realized about my ancestors is that they loved hills!!! Most of the places where they lived and then were buried were in some of the hilliest parts of the area! But being buried in hilly land makes for some beautiful scenery when visiting the cemeteries. It was an awesome week and an experience I wish everyone would take the time to do. Most people I know don't know many relatives past their Great grandparents and sometimes even grandparents. If you don't take an interest and pass the stories down then they get lost and those people become forgotten. I know that I will drag my future kids around to the cemeteries in hopes that they to will learn to appreciate where they come from and who they came from.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Big Changes

Hello to the few followers I still may have. It's been a while! So much has changed in my life in the past 4 months since I last wrote!! I'm happy to say though as a whole 2016 has started off as an amazing year and I can say that I'm so extremely happy. After having a couple of rough years it's a nice change but kind of scary thinking that at any moment the other shoe might drop. But I can't think about that and only focus on the good and thank the good Lord for what he's blessed me with.

First off in January I started a new job working as an LPN in a Catholic Monastery in Northwest Missouri. I was a little hesitant at first applying for the job not sure I was ready to go back into geriatric nursing but I'm so glad I did because this job is amazing. I take care of Monks mostly the older ones but also Monks ranging from ages 20-90's and also Seminary students. So it's never dull. It's such a positive environment and everyone is so kind. I can definitely see myself staying here forever!! Here are a couple pictures of inside and outside of the Basilica.

Since I enjoy this new job so much and plan on staying for awhile I decided to move out on my own. I knew I wanted to start looking this spring/summer but really wasn't in a hurry to move. Then one night while doing our Taxes, with our tax lady, I mentioned I was looking for a place in the area when she mentioned that she knew of a place. She called the lady and the place was still available and I called them that night, we went and looked at it 2 days later and wrote a deposit check, and I moved in on April 1st!! I really lucked out with this place. It's a house out in the country on a gravel road which I am most happy about! I was not looking forward to living in an apartment in town! It's 2 bedroom, has a big living room with a fireplace and kitchen and an attached garage. It's been so fun fixing up a house just how I like it and filling it with antiques and things that I've collected over the years.

A few weeks ago I got to go back to Kentucky to attend Quilt Week and help my cousin out with her business. Met some new people, saw some amazing quilts, and had an absolute blast. It has inspired me to keep working on some quilt projects I've started. Including a quilt made out of this bee fabric. I'm doing it out of hexagon paper pieces (which the paper pieces come from my cousins business called Paper Pieces. Check them out!)

My Quilt I'm working on

Speaking of bees. This year all 3 hives that I had going into winter made it out of winter and are thriving. So I'm hoping for a good honey crop this year. I bought another hive last weekend and my dad set it up for me at my new house. But yesterday we got a huge wind/rain storm and I was watching out my back door when I saw the lid go flying off of it! So I ran out and put it back on and found a brick to put on top. It was raining so hard I could barely see and came in SOAKED!!! I checked on them today and they seemed to be doing alright. I even saw the Queen!

Then about 2 hrs ago I got a call from a beekeeping friend of mine saying he got a call about a swarm but he wasn't able to go get it so he gave me the number and I went. It was a textbook swarm catch. Nice cluster, not to high off the ground, and on a branch easy to clip off. So I just had a regular jacket and some gloves on and I snipped the branch off and into the box the whole swarm went. Tapped up the box and on my way I go! Got back to my house and my parents met me there with a hive since I don't have any extra equipment at my house. We put the swarm into the hive and were walking back to the house when BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Right on the side of my nose I get stung. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think i've ever been in more pain! It felt like someone punched me right in the face. Almost an hour later and it still hurts. Luckily i'm not like my dad where he swells up every time he gets stung. :) The sad part about it is that I've told countless people over the years of teaching about bees to always where something over your face when working with your bees! Should have listened to my own advice!! If this hive survives that will mean I have 5 hives this summer. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

German Chocolate Cake

I baked a German Chocolate cake yesterday and posted a picture on social media and had some requests for the recipe so I thought I would share it here! I had a piece last night and this cake is amazing!! Plus I got to use my new Jadeite Cake Stand that I got for Christmas!

This recipe comes from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook. I've had this book for a few years and I love it! I love just sitting down and looking at all the beautiful pictures of vintage kitchen tools and their beautiful farm! I recently learned that German Chocolate Cake does not originate from the country Germany but rather a man by the name of Samuel German who formulated the bittersweet blend of chocolate that they use! 

Here's The Recipe!

Ingredients for the Cake:
Cooking Spray
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
12 tbsp (11/2 sticks) of unsalted butter at room temp
4 oz Germans Sweet Chocolate Melted (I used double boiler)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tbsp Buttermilk

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray. 

In a bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time, add 3/4 cup of the sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a bowl, with electric mixer. Beat together the butter and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, until well combined. Add in the chocolate and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 

Stir about half the egg whites into the chocolate batter, then gradually fold in the remaining whites. Divide the batter between the 2 pans. Tap against counter to get rid of air bubbles. Bake in oven for 35-45 min, or until the cake starts to separate from the edges of the pans. Let them cool in the pan for 10 min,  then invert onto the rack to cool completely. Pull of the paper. 

3/4 cup cream coconut (NOT COCONUT CREAM OR COCONUT MILK)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
9 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans. 

In a large, heavy-bottom sauce pan, whisk together the cream of coconut, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. Cook over medium heat, whisk constantly, for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened and the color of caramel. Remove from the heat and stir in shredded coconut and pecans and let cool to room temp. 

Frost the first layer add the 2nd cake then top with remaining frosting. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cooking With Honey

One of the perks of being a beekeeper is having fresh honey from your hives. If I don't end up selling it all or giving it away as gifts I am always finding new recipes to try that include honey. So I thought I would share 3 of my favorite go to honey recipes! But first I want to talk a little bit about the process it takes to make and harvest the honey.

A hive of honey bees begins collecting nectar in the spring time. Some of the first flowers to bloom include many trees, dandelions, and white clover. Spring, summer, and early fall are the peak flow season in which the honey bees work to store up honey they need for winter. It takes around 2,000,000 flowers to produce 1 pound of honey. This is why bee keepers are advocating for pollinator plots and the preservation of fields that produce flowers because it takes a lot of flowers to produce honey. One colony can produce around 100 pounds of honey but only 1 bee can will produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. This is why we are constantly monitoring our hives during the summer to insure they have adequate numbers to produce a good crop. Around August or September we begin to collect the honey and start the process of harvesting it. We will leave a substantial amount of honey for the bees so that they will survive the winter and only take the excess for our personal use.

Dad and I checking frames and pulling supers 

After we collect the frames of honey off the hives we uncap (remove wax sealing honey into the cells) the frames and then put them into an extractor. An extractor is basically a washing machine type of contraption that you place the frames in and spin with either a motor or a hand crank until all the honey  is pulled out of the cells. It then collects at the bottom of the extractor. Next we use a screen to strain the honey and remove the wax, wings, and legs as we say! We don't heat the honey or micro filter it like some big name companies do which takes out all the pollen and healthy properties out of the honey. Then we bottle it and sell it or use it in cooking. So now to the good part the recipes!!

Peanut Butter Honey Bars

This recipe is very simple and has only 3 ingredients. I shared this with my Great Aunt and she makes them all the time now for her family!

1 cup peanut butter 
1/2 cup Pure Honey
2 1/2 -3 cups oatmeal (I add it gradually not wanting to make it to dry)

Heat up the peanut butter and honey in sauce pan just until it softens and is easy to mix. Then add oatmeal. Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Pour peanut butter honey mixture into pan. Refrigerate. Cut into squares or form into balls. Keep in refrigerator so that they maintain a solid state. 

Honey Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are great because they use only honey as the source of sweetener. I entered them in a cooking contest and have won prizes with them! 

1 cup Honey
1/2 cup veg. Shortening
1/2 cup butter (softening)
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups flour
1 cup quick oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans 

Cream honey, shortening, and butter until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and beat. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to honey mixture; mix. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by big tablespoon not greased baking sheet. Bake 12-16 min at 350 degrees. Let stand 1 minute, then remove to wire rack to cool. 

Honey Snack Mix

This stuff is amazing!! It's sweet and savory and probably one of my favorite snacks now. Plus you can change up the ingredients to make it to your liking. I will give the recipe I received so you know the amounts of stuff to use then you can change it how you like. No matter what I use I keep the measurements the same. 

3 Tablespoons Sesame oil (I used vegetable oil because that's what I had on hand) 
3 Tablespoons Honey 
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Garlic salt
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
Whisk the above ingredients together in a small bowl 

4 cups Chex cereal
6 cups mini pretzels
1 cup soy nuts
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
Toss together in a large bowl

Pour sauce over cereal mixture. Toss it gently to coat cereal. Scatter on foil lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 205 degrees for 25 minutes stirring frequently. Turn oven Off and let the pan stay in the oven 1 hour to continue crimping. When cool store in zip lock bag or box. 

Stuff I used in mine: 
5 cups Chex cereal
5 cups oyster crackers
1 cup peanuts
1 cup cheese it's 

If you are looking for more recipes using honey check out

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Christmas in the Country 2015 Reveal

This year was my third year participating in the Christmas in the Country. Like the previous years I enjoyed getting to shop for and receiving a gift from other bloggers! It has been a great way to connect with bloggers across the country. I have to give a big shout out and thank you to Laurie from Country LINKed, Jamie from This Uncharted Rhoade, Lara from My Other More Exciting Self, and Kirby from 15009 Farm House for their work on making this possible for us!

This year my package came from Alica who blogs at Happily Married to the Cows. She is from Pennsylvania!

When I opened my package I found a letter telling me about herself and her family and the special meaning behind each item.

She spent the time to find stuff that not only I would like but that were personal to her and her area or that had a tie to her family and friends!

Inside there was: 

Coffee: This coffee was roasted by a friend of her family. It is delicious! I'm enjoying a cup as I write this post! 

Chocolate Goat: Yes I said a Chocolate Goat!!!! She knew that I showed goats and who doesn't love chocolate!! It is so cute and I hate to eat him. This was made by her cousins family candy business.

Stroopies: These are thin cinnamon waffle cookies that have caramel in the middle and dipped in chocolate. Can you say YUM!!! They are delicious!! They go great with a hot cup of coffee. They were made by another cousin's business. 

Greeting Cards: Theses cards were made by her daughter. She took the photos that are on the front of each card. I love to write letters to people so these are perfect.

Post Cards: She included 4 post cards that represent her state. 2 include recipes one for Whoopie pies and shoo-fly pie and the other 2 show Lancaster county and Amish Country. 

Potholder and Dish Cloth: The pot holder was made from quilt squares from her mom and the pot holder was handmade by Alica!! 

I was very happy with all of my gifts and the opportunity to make a new friend from Pennsylvania!! If you haven't already go check her blog out and give her a follow!

This year I sent my package to Texas! I sent mine to Kristin who blogs at Rice Roundup definitely go check out her blog as well.