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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Beauty of North Carolina

We have been living here in the foothills of North Carolina for 15 years now and I am beginning to appreciate the beauty here.  I mean I have always thought of this area of NC as beautiful but to really appreciate the beauty and not long for the scent of Lilacs wafting in my window is a challenge.

This year my son, Dallen, and I have been noticing all the flowers we have been missing.  And just the other day, as we were on our daily walk along the river, I actually said "oh wow you can smell that sweet smell of honeysuckle so strong along here."

Another flower we noticed this year was the Trillium reliquum.  Of course at the time we saw the flower, earlier in the spring, I had no idea what it was.  I asked a friend what that beautiful deep red, almost purple, flower was and he told me it was Trillium, and Trillium reliquum more specifically.  He proceeded to tell me that Trillium is not all that common any more, and that Trillium reliquum was even more rare to find.  So much habitat disruption.  There were certainly plenty along the edges of the Greenway, beside the river, in Morganton.  We did look it up on Wikipedia to find out more.  Here are a couple of the pictures we took at the time.  Just amazing.  Almost like finding a lady slipper in the woods back in Maine.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tomato Pie

Last year a friend posted that she had made a wonderful tomato pie.  OK that did not compute, I had never heard of a tomato pie and initially the thought just made my stomach turn, aren't pies supposed to be sweet.  The more I thought about it the more it sounded like something I needed to try. I decided to use a traditional pie crust but sometime I am going to try using a gluten free pizza crust mix and patting that into a pie plate and precooking it. I think that would work wonderfully. But since I do know how to make a good pie crust I decided to go with the tried and true.  I did altar the recipe to make it free of cow dairy.  Cow dairy and I just don't agree.  So this is my tomato pie.  Followed by the recipe.

~one 9 inch pie crust, pre cooked
~2 large ripe tomatoes
~1 large onion chopped
~3 cloves of garlic crushed
~3/4 cups mayo
~1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
~1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
~handful of fresh basil, chopped
~1 TBSP fresh chopped oregano
~Thinly sliced manchego cheese
~Olive Oil

Slice tomatoes about 1-1/2 inches thick, place on a cutting board over the sink and salt them just a little, let sit while you prepare everything else, this helps to get some of the moisture out of the tomatoes. 

In a skillet add just a couple TBSP olive oil, the onion, garlic, basil, and oregano.  Cook on med heat until the onion is soft and cooked, slight browned.  

In a bowl combine the mayo, goat cheese and pecorino romano cheese, and mix well. 

To assemble, take your cooked pie crust, line the bottom with the sliced manchego cheese.  Now spread the cooked onion mixture on top of the manchego cheese.  Third layer is the tomatoes, squeeze in as many as you can in one layer.  Top layer is the mayo mixture, spread it around on top.  Sprinkle just a little pepper on top and cook in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.  It will be just starting to brown on top.  Let it sit for 15 minutes, then cut and enjoy.  This will make your house smell so delicious and it tastes heavenly!  SO RICH!

To Split OR Not To Split

OK I am trying to decide if I should split my hive.  These bees are so docile, and so productive.  We have had them probably 3 weeks or so.  And they have filled one deep and one medium box.  Jackson and I added another deep between the two this past Sunday, so only a couple of days ago, and at that time I noticed a queen cell in the hive.  I have done some research and talked to my bee mentor, Teri.  I think I am going to split the hive.

Today Dallen and I went out to the hive to inspect it again, make sure there has been no swarming, and so far so good.  We took the hive down and looked into two of the boxes, and I have spotted two queen cells, and I know there is one more in there.  Here are pics of the two queen cells, the pics aren't the greatest, but my helper, Dallen, was a little freaked out.  This was his first time near the hive.

This one is really in the center of the picture, toward the right of the hive frame but not on the edge.

This one the queen cell is bottom right of the hive frame.  

I have put together another hive, finished that this morning, so I am all ready to go.  I have read a couple of sites (or 10) on splitting hives with a queen cell.  Need to do a bit more research (as this is my first time splitting a hive) about splitting with more than one queen cell.  And I think this afternoon, when Jackson is home to help, I will split my hive.  Here are a couple more pics.  No queen cells but just cool pics that Dallen took.