Wednesday, May 29, 2019

First Artisan Market of the Season! We are on Instagram!

Floyd Artisan Market is back for the season. Our first market was Friday,  May-24 and it runs until the end of Oct.  It was really nice being back, but i also forgot how much work it is to set up and how boring it is when it's slow.  We shared the Friday with the Chantilly Farms Bluegrass festival and Floyd County High School Graduation and so the Market was really slow to say the least. 


This is a photo of my display from last year.


 When i went to set up this year, i switch the table covers without realizing it and then couldn't figure out why the table looked so busy. i like the way the table cloth covers the table better, but the necklaces that are laying directly on the table (not the jewelry displays) blend in with the patterns and are difficult to see. i really need to find a better way to display my jewelry.





It was nice to see familiar faces again and we had a few new vendors at Market this year.  Pam of Moore Designs is a past vendor that took last year off, but is back this year with beautiful sterling silver jewelry and batik clothing. Cottontail farm was set up with their fiber crafts and handspun yarns. Rich Ursomarso had his the beautiful birch bark baskets for sale and he also played us a bit of music while we waited for the band to start. 




This year i volunteered to take over the Artisan Market social media promoting. i've been posting to facebook and decided to create an Instagram page.  i'll be posting featured artists and live posting from the market every friday! 

For more information about the Artisan market you can visit the website https://floydartisanmarket.wordpress.com/

Check out the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/floydartisanmarket/

Follow on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/floydartisanmarket/

Market season had a very disappointing and slow start, but i'm hoping that it will pick up and that the social promotion with help!  If you are ever in Floyd, VA be sure and stop by the Friday night Artisan Market and say hello!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Keeping your Stainless Steel Shining with TriNova Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish. (Sponsored)



When we built our house, i was really excited about the granite counter and stainless steel appliances.  i even picked out a stainless steel compost bin, stainless steel tea pot and a stainless steel coffee pot to match!  

That excitement quickly turned to annoyance when i realized how difficult it would be to keep it clean. i tried using a few natural cleaner recipes, but it left the stainless steel looking dull.  Our water is well water with a heavy mineral content, so if you wipe anything down with a wet cloth or even splash/drip water on the stainless steel it leaves a mineral residue and water stains on everything. 

This shows the front of my dishwasher after it was wiped down with a wet cloth and allowed to dry.  It actually looks worse than it did before i wiped it down.  So as you can imagine  i'm always on the lookout for a Stainless Steel Cleaner that works!


TriNova Stainless Steel polish and cleaner won't scratch or streak on any surfaces, engineered to be easy to use without abrasive chemicals or ingredients. Just spray on, wipe off! It won't streak or smudge and leaves a high shine! 


The TriNova Stainless Steel cleaner really works great and a little goes a long way! i didn't have to keep spraying the cleaner each time i wiped. It only took a couple sprays to clean the entire dishwasher. Then i flipped over the microfiber cloth and polished it easily.



It really did a great job of cleaning and polishing my stainless steel appliances. They look almost new again!  i haven't noticed any residue or oiliness which some products leave behind, and i'm seeing less fingerprints overall. i'm also hoping it cuts back on the dust and cat hair that seems to cling to the bottom of the fridge.



The microfiber cloth that comes with the cleaner is thick and very nice. It really helps to buff out the shine.  TriNova's Stainless Steel Cleaner was expertly formulated to eliminate smudges and cut grease while going on streak-free. It also coats the surface to repel fingerprints and dust.  It's also made in the USA!

You can find it on amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XRGLB2M



disclaimer. i did not receive compensation for this post, however i did receive a free product to review in exchange for my opinion. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. This post may contain affiliate links.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Bees, bees and more bees!!

Our Apiary is growing by leaps and bounds!!  We had no idea what we were getting  ourselves into when we decided to keep a few bees.  We had a total of three swarms, and then split all the other hives/nucs before more swarms could take place.




We allowed the splits to raise their own queens and removed a few of the extra queen cells to try raising queens in a queen castles. It's always good to have a few extra queens on hand in case you lose a queen.  

It was a little nerve racking having so many nucs/hives without queens at the same time. We just had to trust they knew what they were doing.  When we peeked inside after a couple of weeks we spotted on of the virgin queens. So we attempted to mark her, but she flew away!! We had no idea the new queens would fly like that!  After freaking out slightly, we moved onto a new hive and spotted another virgin queen.  This time we didn't even mark her, as soon as she saw us she flew away!!  So we closed up all the hives and had to walk away for a few days.


We peeked in again after about a week and were relieved to see eggs!!  We have never been able to spot eggs, because they are so tiny, but Kenan bought some dark foundations to help us spots eggs and sure enough there they were!  


These tiny eggs mean that our flyaway queens returned and they are now mated!!  


Now that all the hives have queens they are busy raising brood, drawing frames and bringing in lots of nectar!! The spring honey flow (Poplar, clover and Locust) has started and we've placed queen excluders on the strongest hives and will finally be able to collect honey if all goes well.


We decided to try using wax foundations instead of plastic, so we can potentially offer honey with cut comb. :)  We've had several local folks request it.


This week, we had a really good day in the bee yard! We found and marked 2 new mated queens and found one more unmarked virgin queen. So we have successfully raised 9 new queens, and combined 3 hives with 3 nucs to strength the hives for honey making. We currently have 6 hives, 11 nucs and 3 colonies in the queen castle.  We are really hoping for a good honey harvest!!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Garden Season- First week of May



Not a bad harvest for the first week of May. We are still getting lots of Shiitakes and asparagus. Kale, spinach and lettuce are really starting to come in.   Rhubarb is exploding and i have radishes!!



Shiitake have done amazing this year, and we are starting to see some oysters from plugged logs. i found one last morel.



Cool crops have been doing well, but it's getting warm quick so i'm hoping they don't all bolt. We are getting lots of fresh spinach and lettuce. Some of my lettuce seeds were old and didn't germinate well, so i have to replant.


 My radish are actually growing bulbs this year! Most of the varieties i've grown in the past have failed. The greens grow big and lush, but the bulbs never develop. French Breakfast is where it's at!  They are the only ones that grew well, and they grew effortlessly with perfect bulbs! 

My summer garden has been started in the greenhouse, and i'm hoping to finish getting it planted with weekend.  i could have put things in earlier, but we've had such a busy spring it just hadn't gotten done. i've also found with tomato plants there is really no rush moving them out the garden this early. They prefer the heat of the greenhouse.  i usually plant beans, squash directly in the garden but i've been having and issue with bunnies nibbling my new sprouts so i've started my beans and squash in the greenhouse as well. 

My broccoli have pretty good heads on them so far, and my peas are about knee high.  Hoping the temperatures stay pretty mild the rest of the month and don't get too high or i'll lose all my cold crops.

Artisan market is starting back up next week, so i'm already anticipating a very busy summer!

How are your gardens doing?


May Morel Season- better late than never


Typically my morel season starts the second week of April. Every year, i get excited and begin hunting at the end of march, but rarely find any until the second week of April.

We have a couple spots on our property where we tend to find the morels, so i always start looking there first.



This year i only found a couple in one of the spots around the 3rd week of April, and was feeling pretty discouraged. Our original morel honey hole dried up about 10 years ago, and we've been hunting this spot ever since.  Over the last couple years there have been less and less morels leading me to think it too may be drying up.


By the beginning of May i'd given up on our regular spot, i think i found a total of 3 there.  i started exploring the rest of the woods looking for a new honey hole. Morels like hardwoods. Elms and Ash tend to be there favorites, although i've always found them around oak and poplar trees on our property.


 After spending a few hours exploring the 150 acres surrounding us, i came back through an area near our creek that was almost exclusively poplars.  It's a pretty steep bank and i'm not sure if i've never looked there before or if i just always looked too early, but the morels were everywhere!  They were larger than the ones i usually find (because i hadn't found them earlier) and so they were much easier to spot! They were just about waving at me!


So i ended April super disappointed that my morel spot had dried up, but started May with a brand new spot for next year!   We didn't find a crazy amount of morels this year, but found enough to make a meal. Hopefully next year this spot is productive and we'll have a new honey hole for at least a few more years.