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It’s Honeybee Swarming Season!

 

 

Honey Bees in my Plum Tree

Honey Bees in my Plum Tree

Why do #honeybees swarm? Because they are honeybees. Honeybees swarm for a number of different reasons, but the overwhelming most reliable reason why honeybees swarm is due to genetics. Genetics make honeybees swarm and it is also one of the primary ways that honeybees expand the population and genetic diversity of colonies in a geographic area. Honeybees can also swarm due to inhospitable living conditions such as, too crowded and not enough space, poor beekeeping skills (i.e. the beekeeper is new or not paying close enough attention), and pest infestation. Even though a swarm of honeybees looks very threatening, it is my experience that while honeybees are swarming, they pose little of no risk to people. Prior to an actual swarm, a pheromone based signal is given off, likely from the Queen, to prepare for swarming which causes many actions to start happening. Some of which are: scout bees go out and find a new suitable home and report back and the nurse bees build a queen-rearing honey-comb cell for a new future queen. Once the queen-rearing honeycomb cell is built, the existing senior queen deposits a fertilized egg inside. About twenty-eight days later a new and future queen bee emerges, soon thereafter, she takes a mating flight and the male bees all chase her, where I have read, a queen bee will mate with as many male bees as she can, sometimes over fifty!

Once the new and future queen returns from her mating flight, the existing senior queen has decided to leave, relinquishing the hive to the new and future queen. The senior queen already has made a crucial decision of where the next home will be and then she takes roughly 50% of the worker honeybees with her and by the tens of thousands, they take flight. Presto! You have a swarm of #honey #bees.

Over the next couple of weeks to two months, I will be out capturing honeybee swarms, where and when possible, I will post pictures of the little darlings wherever they land a give you all an update of honeybee hijinks.

Yummy Tummy Farms 2013 in Review

Let me the 101st person to wish you, dear reader, a happy new year. I often wonder about why I’m blogging, why people would read my blog, what makes a post interesting? Based on how-to articles and my past experience, I thought I had a clue. Apparently, I have no clue about what readers find interesting except that I’m convinced pictures really help. As you will see below, the most interesting posts, based on reader views, were some of my simplest posts and the formula is more or less this: take a cool picture, write one to two sentences, and maybe conclude with a question. Part of me is thrilled with that simple formula because it means a lot less hours thinking about and working on content, but part of me is a bit disheartened because it means that anything I have written, of what I thought was substance turns out to be forgettable or unremarkable, based on views on this blog. The evidence is below in that my most popular post was a simple picture of an eggplant. What do you think? What would cause you visit this blog more? What types of content causes you to visit other blogs daily or weekly?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Okra

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Red Okra Flower

Okra flowers are stunningly beautiful. Okra- generally, you either love it or hate it. Call me Switzerland because while I have not found very many recipes where okra is the star and not a supporting ingredient, I remain hopeful. I planted six red and six green okra plants with the intention of preparing pickled okra. I am planning to pressure can several jars with different brines and see how I liked it.

How do you feel about okra? Do you love it, hate it, or are you searching for okra greatness like me? When you comment, suggesting fried okra does not count because almost anything is delicious fried. What say you?

Food Warrior

Sun Lu-t'ang

Sun Lu-t’ang

I, Farmer Donald, am blessed to have the experiences associated with farming the land around my suburban home. I had motivation from many sources, but key sources of inspirations were family lineage, supporting the honey bees, feeding myself and my family healthy food right from the garden. In my personal quest to understand more about where my food comes from, how it was raised, how it interacts with my body, both in the short term and the long term, I have found maintaining clarity is very difficult. Food is personal.

My health is all that I have for without health; everything else in life becomes more and more challenging. I feel that it is imperative to arm myself with the latest information, protect myself and my family from industrial food companies, and defend my community from lies and deceit. It is difficult not to feel embattled from the many foodborne illness headlines, GMO produce, GMO meat, packaging contamination such as BPA in plastics, vitamins and supplements that work one day and the next week they are linked to a malady, and on and on it goes. Speaking as a farmer, I feel a certain energy and zeal when speaking about food, nutrition, and health; therefore, I am going to evolve this blog into discussions around health, diet, food, nutrition, recipes, and how-to guidelines. There are a lot of people doing similar things; however, I hope that I will inspire you, dear readers, to follow this blog, recommend this blog, like my posts, leave a supportive comment, and even visit the farm some day. In becoming a Food Warrior, I hope to enlighten and bring a bit perspective to the wide and diverse subjects around food; moreover, I hope to interact and learn from other bloggers and learn from the fine community of readers too. Lastly, while being a Food Warrior will be an evolving term, it is my goal to fight for enlightenment, peace, and a long healthful life for me, my family, and my community.

2013 Silicon Valley Tour de Coop

Come and get it at Yummy Tummy Farms!

Come and get it at Yummy Tummy Farms!

The Silicon Valley Tour de Coop 2013— a self-guided bicycle tour of chicken coops and urban farms between Menlo Park and San Jose.

The second annual Silicon Valley Tour de Coop, bike ride and coop tour is taking place 9am – 4pm Saturday, September 14, 2031. This free, self-guided bicycle tour of chicken coops and backyard urban homesteads, including honey bees, worm composting, and organic gardening, and, of course, chickens. Experienced urban farmers will show off their coop handiwork while sharing their joy of raising chickens and the benefits of creating backyard ecosystems that support the residents and neighborhoods, as well as the planet.

Your very own local suburban farm, Yummy Tummy Farms will be a featured urban farm stop where Farmer Donald, friends, and neighbors will be greeting cyclists, offering delicious farm samples, and leading regular farm tours. Full details are available at: http://tourdecoop.org/yummy-tummy-farms/

In addition to providing a fun, family friendly, community building event, the organizers also hope to energize those “on the fence” to jump into the urban homesteading movement. As Michael Pollan says in his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, “What we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world– and what is to become of it.” In a time when lists of ingredients are virtually unintelligible, raising chickens or honeybees, and gardening organically provides wholesome, fresh, nourishing food, as well as being a balm for the earth.

This year’s tour features a variety of coop tour routes, with individual city loops (5-10 miles) and a larger 50 to 100 mile loop including stops from San Jose to Menlo Park and every city in between. Participants, or “tourists” register for a limited number of reservations on Eventbrite and a few days prior to the tour receive a printable map showing the tour route. Full details are available at the Coop Tour website, http://tourdecoop.org.

So grab your bike, your friends, and family and join us on the Silicon Valley Tour de Coop! Find out for yourself how to reconnect to the great outdoors of your own backyard. Enjoy meeting your neighbors and making new friends while cruising between urban farms on bikes!

Yummy Tummy Farms: "Harvesting Healthy Happiness"

Yummy Tummy Farms: “Harvesting Healthy Happiness”

20 oz. Striped German Beefsteak

This monster tomato almost required two hands to hold it. This beautiful and delicious heirloom tomato and over 25 other varieties in many colors and sizes are seeking good homes.

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Come and get them!

Heirloom Tomatoes are Ready!

What’s Ripe at Yummy Tummy Farms for 8/24 and 8/25? Great question and here is a comprehensive list to wet your appetite:

Heirloom Tomatoes: Gardener’s Delight cherry, Black Cherry, Heirloom Beefsteak, Japanese Black Trifele medium-large,  Ghost Cherry, White Tomesol beefsteak, Punta Banda small, Riesenstraube cherry, Indigo Rose- black small tomato absolutely stunning in its beauty, Yellow cherry,  SF Fog small medium, Mr. Stripey large, Great White beefsteak, Striped German beefsteak, Green Doctors super sweet cherry, Green Tomatillos- bring on the salsa, Sungold cherry.

24 oz Striped German- Size, beauty, and delicious flavor!

24 oz Striped German- Size, beauty, and delicious flavor!

Pepper: Numex Anaheim- chile rellenos anybody? Red and green and chocolate bells

Numex Anaheim Pepper- Chile Rellenos anybody?

Numex Anaheim Pepper- Chile Rellenos anybody?

Eggplant: Heirloom Aswad Eggplant from Iraq- big and super meaty!

Aswad Heirloom Eggplant- indigeneous to Iraq. Super meaty & flavorful!

Aswad Heirloom Eggplant- indigenous to Iraq. Super meaty & flavorful!

Basil: Plenty of Italian Genovese- bring on the pesto! Lots of Royal Siam Thai Basil, Pho anyone?

Cucumbers: Marketmore- slicing and fresh eating and Pickling

Marketmore Cucumbers

Marketmore Cucumbers

Kale: Lacinto Dinosaur kale

Squash: Burgess Buttercup

Melon: French exotic Ananas Vert and delightful sweet melon scent

Indigo Rose- Black "Super" Tomato

Indigo Rose- Black “Super” Tomato

Organic Honey

Organic Honey

 

All of our produce is biodynamically grown in alignment with organic growing standards. Yummy Tummy Farms will be open from 12 noon to 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday 8/24 & 8/25. We hope to see you here.

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