February Snowpocalypse...It's been a
long, frigid and snowy winter, not just here in northwestern
Pennsylvania but throughout most of North America. The snow depth
here is over three feet and drifts are, well, over my waist.
hear cheering when the temps get above zero.
It's been a brutally
cold week, Wind chills have been in the minus twenty to thirty range
most of this last week. Actually, most of February has been a deep freeze.
Be sure to check in on neighbors, those
who are older and those with health problems. Keep an eye on pets
when they are outside. This is serious weather and the upcoming
weekend promises more of the same. The upcoming weekend will see more
moderate temps, hopefully. Beyond the weekend, well more cold and snow.
Be very careful with space heaters, a leading cause of many winter fires. For some safety tips, BE SAFE
There are some hopeful signs. Daylight
is increasing and March 21, the first day of spring is about a month
Maple Syrup Open House Taste and Tour
The Northwestern Pennsylvania Maple
Producers Association is sponsoring the 10th annual Maple
Taste and Tour Open House the weekend of March 14 and 15. The
association covers five counties including Erie, Crawford, Warren,
Mercer and Venango.
Each participating Sugar House will
have a wide range of activities, such as horse or tractor driven hay
rides, maple demonstrations, information on backyard sugaring and
much, much more. Each will also have a wide variety of maple products
to sample and for purchase.
It's a fun time for people of all ages
and a great family to do activity.
Even if you are not from this region,
there are motel and hotel accommodations at special prices.For more
information on the individual sugar houses who are participating,
directions and activities scheduled, as well as overnight lodging,
Taste and Tour
As mentioned earlier, myself and two
others are planning on getting several bee hives this spring. It's a
fascinating hobby and or business venture (and somewhat costly).
Winter has had something of an upside - time for reading. We bought three
different books to read, and have been spending time online with
various bee keeping sites as well as watching numerous You Tube
We have been attending various bee
workshops and talking with much more experienced bee keepers.
And doing a lot of planning.
One thing discovered is the herb, or to
many the weed, Plantain. It is used to make a save to help with bee
stings, which are going to happened raising bees. Plantain
is a rather common weed
throughout most of North America and particularly in the vegetable
garden. It's hard to eradicate where it's not wanted because of it's
large tap root.
However near the bee yard, I am going
to plant a patch of it just so there is access to it promptly. Along with other First Aid helps.
For the bees ( and us), we are also planting a
variety of blueberry bushes and a rather large, wild flower bee
garden. Along with milkweed for the Monarchs, borage, called the bee
herb will be sown.
I've always planted the borage and once
it begins to bloom in early summer, the flowers are literally covered
with so many bees, you can hear the buzz.
The final post below is about borage from a
re-written version of one which I published several years ago, if you
want to discover more about this valuable herb.
And Just For the Heck of It.
Honeybees have an amazing sense of
smell. They communicate, find their way home (each hive has a
specific odor), and locate food using their 170 odorant receptors.
a little known herb in North America, is a good plant, almost of hero
status in the vegetable or flower garden. An attractive herb with
blue, star shaped flowers, it attracts many gentle pollinators such
as honeybees and bumblebees.
many bees can be attracted to this flowering herb, also called the
bee plant, one can even hear the buzz. It is an important herb, food
source, for the pollinators, a population of insects which have been
in serious decline for several years because of a lack of nutrients,
pesticides and habitat.
herb, Borage is said to make tomatoes even taste better for some. But
with all the bee activity around the flowers, which can open in late
spring in many northern areas, it is sure to increase pollination and
consequently more vegetables, like tomatoes, squash and peppers.
which originates from the Mediterranean region, is a highly regarded
herb particularly in Spain. In many regions, the honey produced from
fields of Borage is highly regarded for it's taste and light color.
herb, Borage, is edible; the leaves and stems can be used in salad
and have a mild cucumber flavor. Dried it can be used as a relaxing
tea. The brilliant blue flowers can also be used in salads and are
often used as a cake garnish or frozen in ice cubes and used to
decorate drinks. The leaves can also be dipped in a batter and fried
like a fritter for an unusual gourmet delight.
is an easy herb to grow. The large black seeds can be planted in the
spring and they usually sprout rather quickly depending on weather
conditions. The herb is a rapid grower and can produce vibrant
blue flowers in the matter of a few weeks.
has another useful habit. It readily reseeds itself and new sprouts
appear the following spring. These sprouts can be readily
transplanted to areas where they are needed. Or, as Jack Frost
threatens, the plant, which can reach upwards of 24 inches, can be
cut down, and placed in an area where it can grow the following year.
The seed will germinated. (I’ve been doing this for several
years now, just place the plant on the ground during the fall.
Presto, it’s magic, new borage plants readily sprout in the spring)
is a useful herb to consider in either the vegetable or flower
garden. It is easy to grow, rather carefree and provides a stunning
display of blue flowers. As many farmers, gardeners, researchers and
scientists become increasingly concerned about the decline in our
native pollinators, this is one good herb to plant and grow.