She Brings Me Water

An aeclectic look at the nearby world

Archive for Environment

Beekeeping 101

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Last year’s garden (2014) was a huge success- if you judge it by the 30-foot pumpkin vine that grew there. If you judge it by its fruits and veggies, it was a sad failure. The 30-foot pumpkin vine produced flowers that should have led to pumpkins but the flowers on that vine, and on a lot of other plants in the garden, did not get pollinated. Here’s a clue why: last year, in our big yard and garden, I saw only two honey bees. My husband routinely leaves large areas of our yard, where clover grows wild, unmowed for the bees. Trying not to step on them used to be a problem. But in the past few years, they’ve gotten more and more rare, and last year, as I said, I only saw two.

I like bees and have always wanted to keep them. When I was a child, I used to catch them in jars because I thought if I caught enough of them, they’d build honeycombs and start making honey for me. That didn’t work, of course. More recently, when a nearby neighbor set up hives, we were thrilled- but the bees failed to thrive, probably because of the prevalence of other neighbors rigorously spraying chemicals on their gardens and fruit trees. Other factors played a role as well, but the end result is the same- no pollinators, no fruits, no veggies.

Do you have a desire to keep bees? Or just learn how bees and other pollinators affect our food supply, and what you can do to help? Here’s an opportunity: Buzzy from The Beekeeper’s Guild of Southeast Virginia will be on the island on April 18th, 2015 to answer all your beekeeping questions! Open to all, this event will be held rain or shine and is free (donations for Buzzy’s travel expenses and time are welcome but not required). Refreshments served after the class (your contributions of snacks or drinks also welcome!)

  • Date: Saturday, April 18th, 2015
  • Time: 10:30am
  • Place: 204 Parker Lane, Knotts Island, NC

Call/text me at 252.722.1690 or moonrabbit220 (at) gmail.com if you have questions or need directions. You can join this event on Facebook here. This event is hosted by me, Mari Mann, at my IslandLotus Yoga location. All are welcome to join!

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Earth Day 2012

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Ah, it’s so easy to be greenie this time of year, here on the coast of North Carolina. From our gardens and yard we’re eating asparagus, collards, cabbage, lettuce, green onions, poke, lemon balm (pesto!), and the wild spinach is coming up all over. The potato eyes we planted are growing luxurious leaves, and last week we acquired some guinea hens to eat the bugs off of them (and the ticks and any other bugs they can find). Our local organic farm market has opened its fields and stand with strawberries, asparagus, peas and cabbage and lettuce.  Soon we’ll be planting our corn, beans and squash garden, and we already have tomato seedlings ready to transplant, along with basil, melons, peppers, tarragon, and leek seedlings. Yes, it’s a good time of year.

But this year’s Earth Day is not a good day for planting, as it is raining steadily and at times hard. The rain is good for the things we’ve planted, though, and for those of us stuck inside, it’s a good day for reading! So here’s my Earth Day reading list, but first, here’s my recipe for lemon balm pesto:

Fresh cut lemon balm

Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)

Chopped garlic

Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Lemon pepper seasoning, or salt and pepper to taste

Place about 1/4 cup of the pumpkin seeds in a food processor, along with the garlic. I’m using approximate measures because I usually don’t measure, I just eyeball the amounts and taste test it. Process the seeds and garlic until coarsely chopped. Now take your lemon balm and fill up the bowl of your food processor with the leaves (I don’t like to use the stems but you can if you want). Pack the bowl full but not too tightly. Once the bowl is pretty well stuffed, add about 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese on top, and some of the seasoning. Process until the leaves are all chopped up and everything has blended together well. With the processor running, add about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Don’t process too much at this point, or the oil will heat up and cook your pesto into a gluey green ball.

This pesto is great in a salad, on pasta or toasted bread, in scrambled eggs, as a crudite dip- or just eat it out of the jar with a fork. I store the finished pesto in glass jars with tight lids (like canning jars), they keep for months in the freezer and weeks in the refrigerator. Seriously good stuff.

Now here’s my reading list for a rainy Earth Day:

Of course, anything by Michael Pollan: The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules.

Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.

That’s enough to get started on, so slice up some French bread, toast it a little, drizzle a little olive oil on it and then slather with your lemon balm pesto. Happy reading, happy eating, happy Earth Day.