The bees are alive, and beating the cold back with a stick.

I know that the cold (we are below freezing for a while now: 3F (-17C) this morning) might try and make us feel bleak.  Pulling at the loose threads of our cardi’s trying to unravel us.  Butting heads with our warm outlooks. But look what we can do in the cold.

Pasture-raised chicken on the wood stove to be made later into chicken chili.


Beer bubbling in a bucket. This is a new venture, making our own beer.  We are going to try and grow hops this coming summer.


The bubbling bucket is closely watched by the Watch Dog. Evidently  there is a monster burping in that bucket.


The winter means Coleslaw before every meal. Either I need to lose ten pounds or buy new jeans and I LOVE my old jeans! The coleslaw works. I make it with nuts and seeds and even dried apples and pears from the summer. And kale and celery and oh everything! If I feel like a snack I eat coleslaw. Even breakfast. Lunch.  At 4 O’clock when I am always at my hungriest – coleslaw. And with dinner.  I love the coleslaw celi diet. You have to beat back those winter bulges with a celery stick!


In the winter there are live bees clutched in a hot ball in the hive. The hive wrapped up in insulation and old feed bags. But the bees are alive.scoring-028

I took a peek when I was putting honey (in a zip lock bag with a couple of holes in the plastic so the bees can stand and sip, and some loose sugar so they can choose)  into the attic arrangement they have for extra food. I looked the other day when it was warm and forgot to tell you. I was very swift, but the supers are getting light, they are eating through their honey stores very fast. But they buzzed angrily at me, as I peeked.  Such a relief.

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Old Chooks fluff their feathers and Boo for some unknown reason digs in the snow. Ton we seldom see on camera as he has taken to sleeping in the barn all day with the animals.  I have to call him in at night. He misses Sheila. And is very sadly waiting in her pen for her to come home. Either that or he is thrilled to bits to get the whole bed to himself so he can stretch out. Who knows what is in the mind of a dog. Probably wondering where the houekeeper is, that bed has not been made in days.

I have visited Sheila and she is deeply in love with her piglet friends. I told her if she wants some piglets of her own she has to meet with the boar.  Though there is always adoption if the boar does not work out. Our Kunekune gets born in a few weeks!  scoring-059

Winter has the most glorious  sunsets.

I had to go cross country to get to the Old Codgers house yesterday, his drive was blocked with snow and our snow plow truck was under the weather. So unable to drive my little cooking oil car because of the ice  and cold John took me on the rounds yesterday in another old but slightly more reliable truck and dropped me at the bottom of Dales long drive. Ton and I scouted around and  across the field to get to our friend, carrying the washing basket of clean clothes. Laughing at ourselves. It was blowing and cold, but a little bit of an adventure. I should have packed my snow shoes!

Yesterday it was too cold to be outside much which gave me a little extra time to mooch about the inter-webs checking out your lovely blogs.

If you have children who would like a treat you might like to pop over and see how to make spring rolls for kids.And me!  A brand new blog written in New Zealand by a very clever young woman. Tell her celi sent you.

I hope you have a lovely wintry day today too. (or a lovely summery day as the case may be!)

Your friend on the farmy


74 Comments on “The bees are alive, and beating the cold back with a stick.

  1. The nearest I have got to brewing beer is home-made (and sometimes exploding) ginger beer. Nothing to beat it. Can’t drink beer any more, very sad state of affairs…

  2. Ah. That’s a familiar scene. A dog trained on something where a monster resides. Molly is still growling at the fridge. Good morning, c!

  3. I have spent the last two days indoors – because its been too hot to be outside! I think my goldens would much prefer the snow if they had a choice between the cold and lying on the concrete path trying to catch a breeze from under the house. We have been eating lots of coleslaw too and I love to add fruit and nuts to mine. Its a regular addition to our summer meals. Joy in dry and hot NSW.

    • You are so hot and we are so cold! Where is the moderation in our lives! Laugh.. ah well, in a few months we will trade.. kind of.. have a lovely day.. c

  4. Goodness, I can almost smell that chicken from here! After our rotten chicken-breeding season last year, we are down to two! I keep wanting to hang onto them for a special occasion!!! Enjoy, you lucky girl!

  5. Rufus had to be thrown outside to do His Business this morning…put one foot into that deep, new snow and bolted back to the door…Strange dog…
    Love your photos this morning! We’re fairly housebound this morning, at least for another hour or two when the sun is supposed to put in an appearance. Have a lovely (if cold!) day, C!

    • I must do some research but I would imagine the cold winters here would put paid to just about anything going crazy.. it seems too that you don’t need a huge amount of hops.. though we are still in the learning phase.. c

    • The sun was shining in its hard winter way and my shadow as we plodded, Ton and I through the white white untouched snow, was like a dark cut. Black on white. But alas no camera sitting in the basket of sheets and warmies.

  6. Leandro and I loved your photos today. He especially loved the chicken (the live one) and is very impressed that you are working towards living entirely off the farmy. I forgot to comment this morning, since you sent me dashing off to see the spring roll recipe!!!

    • You are right Deb, it is bloody cold but still we are maintaining our crisis free status. Touch wood, fingers crossed and all. c

  7. The snow blower was in his lane this morning as I passed by on my way to work. It made me wonder if you had tried to get up his lane! My cat does not like the treats so the few I kept will be finding their way out to you…give them to the plonkers! 🙂

    • Ah, that will have been The Cow Breeders husband, he was away yesterday, thank goodness. Thank you for that connie. c

  8. What kind of “dressing” do you put on your coleslaw?? Sounds like a good diet to me!

    • I use mandy’s mayo recipe.. her blog is The Complete Cookbook.. and then I add a little extra lemon juice, garlic, and honey. It is all made to taste though so I am sure you could add other things like celery salt if you wanted to. I seldom make it the same every time.. Mandy forgives me c

  9. Glad your bees are surviving, Celi! Your stewed chicken looks divine! Will there be a recipe for the stewing of the chicken and the chicken chili to follow? We are back in the teens for overnight temps and under a threat for an overnight 6 degrees Thursday into Friday. Though not so cold as you! Our pipes burst on the Mountain and we have just turned off the water. It is too cold to work anyway, so we will wait for the weather to turn before we begin the plumbing repairs.

    • yup.. only 4 or 5 weeks to go of the deep cold, then we will just go to Cold.. Cold sounds nice.. we have a windchill of -20 today, everyone is huddled.. c

      • yes horrid here as well but warmth and rolls in by Saturday. Stay warm and safe.

  10. I, too, am wondering what kind of dressing you put on your slaw so that it remains diet food. The commercial ones are way too high in fat and sugar and I have never found a good, simple one to make myself. My mother used to make it with milk, cider vinegar, a pinch of sugar and some celery seeds.

    • I had wondered that too, Mary and remembered that my Ma used to make a dressing that used a commercial mayonnaise but that she doctored it to make it less cloying, with lemon juice and milk I think.

  11. Your coleslaw sounds wonderful! I’m glad Sheila is having a good time on her outing and hope that she and the boar can meet soon. I miss seeing her here!

  12. C. so glad your bees are alive and buzzing mad! I have been wondering about them in that bitter cold you’ve been having! And soooo glad Shelia is happy and enjoying her visit with her new friends. I have also been wondering about her too. She must just love her heated bedroom…I would!
    We grow lots of hops here in the NW. It grows in vine fashion and is quite pretty draped along something like a fence, across the top of a porch, etc. The little hops flowers just hang down like little lanterns and colors up beautiful in the fall! So it’s quite a useful plant, really!

  13. Well we didn’t get the snow predicted, as our every present little bubble over my town, and being nestled so close to the mountain it passed over and went round us! I for one am glad, but some around here wanted the snow. However we have the chilled biting wind and bitter cold. Chickens upset with me because I won’t let them out, but after seeing yours with frost bitten combs I am trying to protect them.
    My winter project this year is the Guest Bedroom, but before I can start painting it needs a new ceiling , the carpet needs to be removed and the wooden floor underneath sanded and stained. All of which my great contractor is going to do for me. So to day I emptied the room of everything but the bed and dresser and also emptied the closet. Now every room in the cottage as ‘stuff’ from that room and the whole place is up-side-down! Kittens think this is great fun as they have loads of places to hide now!!

  14. Could you give us the recipe for your diet slaw?
    Also checked out the spring rolls. Wonderful.
    We have grown hops here for years and, yes, they go crazy and we get colder than you. However, they are tough and a beautiful ornamental vine. There are many varieties, also. They make a wonderful screen and are pretty much the first things to come up in the spring. Hops have lots of pollen so bees should probably love them. Also, hops help sleep, like lavender. They are very prone to spider mites and thrips and I eagerly wait for the ladybugs to feast on them every summer. I miss Sheila, too.

  15. I’ve eaten supper, but still really fancy a bit of that chicken with some yummy coleslaw!
    Poor lonelyTonton – please give him a hug from me.

    Your posts are not appearing in my emails, so I shall re-follow you and see what happens.

    • This is happening a lot .. i get hardly anyone in my emails anymore, i need to go about and unfollow and refollow myself!

  16. You are joking, Celi, aren’t you 🙂 ? I mean the slaw ideas are wonderful [shall adopt some myself] but for YOU to say you need to lose weight is just unbelievable!!!! Oh, jealous of the chicken: can’t buy anything like that here; glad Sheila is SO FAR enjoying her holiday; so you not only take the Old Codger food but look after his laundry as well [!!!]; Hmm: the bees eat a la carte and I have been to view the spring rolls also!!! Quite a morning 🙂 !

    • Well it is not as much pounds, I have not weighed myself, it is more about fitting my clothes comfortably, lying down on the floor to get the zip done up is SO 80’s! wish i could send you a lovely chicken. I would say youcould grow them yourself but then I imagine the faces on the grim masters ofyour community and think not!!(though i am sure you would laugh at doing it just for the stir.. only takes 6 weeks you know!) c

      • [huge laugh] Since all the cottages are set in beautiful open parklands with no fences whatsoever within the gated community it is not just Management which would throw a fit but every neighbour trying to grow their fancy gardens . . . methinks they would last all of ten minutes ere being squawking all over . . . would you believe that tho’ ‘small’ dogs on leash are allowed, a lot of residents even ‘scream’ at their supposed ‘dirtiness’ and noise 🙂 !!!!

        • My daughter lives in a gated community with a no animals rule – not even visiting goldens. I tell you I wonder what the world is coming to particularly as there is a doggy beach and doggy exercise park nearby. 😦

          • Poor people, how miserable they must be! Poor you – all those rules.. but you handle it all so well and it does sound very pretty and cool, (hopefully a few cool spots!).. c

            • Betcha re most of the people!! I have just learned to switch off to a large degree! Enjoy the trees and the wonderful birdlife and [mostly] v good climate!! Amen!!

      • Your clothes are probably getting tight because of all the muscles you are building; schlepping water buckets, shoveling snow, breaking snowdrifts, etc, etc. Farming is not for the weak and puny,

  17. Freezing cold here too, this is never ending it seems. Today we had light snow all day long. Enough to make a mess and slick up the roads. Am in the midst of bathroom renovations, totally gutted and now being put back together. Such a mess. Good luck with your beer, when my brother and cousin (who lived with us) were in college they embarked on a beer making project. Several of the bottles exploded all over the laundry room. My mom was NOT amused. Sure hope it warms up well before the Kune Kunes come!

    • Are you getting one from Bobs February farrowing? I forget the name of the sow, was it rose? My problem is that they are going to be weaned the week Daisy is going to calve. what terrible weather to have no bathroom! sigh.. c

      • No, I believe I’m getting one from Annie, who’s due March 11th or thereabouts. I wanted to get the little guy as late in the spring as possible in case we have another cold spring. The bath is coming along nicely, Bob the builder has been wonderful. Whenever he has to remove the ‘throne’ he puts it back at the end of the day for which I am eternally grateful!!!!

        • Your builder is Thoughtful.. lets hope our spring is a gentle one! Otherwise i am just going to bring my wee piggie inside at night, he will be small enough for a dog crate.. but looking out there now i can’rt see how it will ever warm up.. c

  18. Brewing – cooking – cutting – visiting – inspecting – marvelling: what a lot you pack into one blog post! How reassuring to know that the bees are alive and well.

  19. I love the curve of Boo’s leg and the light of winter dancing through your home. Tell me a little more about the coleslaw, does it have a dressing or is it unadorned to go with its function in the pursuit of the fit of the old jeans?

  20. Tis bitter cold today here too, though nothing like your temperatures! You’ve inspired me to get some cooking going this afternoon!

  21. That is a nice looking chicken in the pot. I’m glad Sheila and the bees are doing well. It’s comforting to know that somewhere on the planet, someone is enjoying summer!

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