Thursday, March 26, 2015

Beekeeping {assembling the hive}

If you follow me on Insta, you may have observed that I am beginning to dabble in BEEKEEPING. I have been fascinated with bees since college (sustainable design minor + Frank Lloyd Wright obsessive + Masters in Sustainable Design) never thinking i'd actually OWN them someday. THEN, about a year and a half ago I found out that urban beekeeping is a THING, which prompted me to drop everything and learn ALL THE THINGS about keeping bees alive in Minnesota (because bees are on the decline, which is sad and horrible because like 60something% of our diet is in thanks to bees pollinating your food).

Have I mentioned before that i'm not really the type of person to just JUMP into something? I'm that wierdo twenty something at electrical 101 surrounded by 15 adult males. I just wanna learn people! SO, of course when I wanted to know everything about beekeeping I looked into taking a class and stalking current beekeepers to teach me their ways.


The University of Minnesota has some dope courses, I took the first one last November and i'll take a 2nd next November (that goes over year 2 of beekeeping). I also shadowed a few local beekeepers last summer while they checked their hive so I could see how they worked/what they looked for. OH, and I also took a community class with a bunch of 5 year olds. I'm so cool.

All of this and i'm still reading online forums/books. Bees are SO INTERESTING PEOPLE. Don't even get me started.

TODAY, let's talk about the first step (after my lengthy educational step) assembling the hive.


Ask any beekeeper and they will direct you to the same supplies. There are some more avaunt guard beekeepers who fashion bird houses into a hive with a spigot for extracting honey, but the PRO's told me to get Langstroth Hive bodies and supers.

I bought all of my equipment from Mann Lake because they are from MN and come highly recommended. Also, everything came within like 3 days of me mailing in my order - so they are SUPER speedy.



I saved some cashola by buying the hive unassembled, because remember - I like to make things super long and painful for me! So, I started out by nailing in the billion nails to the hive body, NBD just throw on some tunes and get to work pounding away.


What was taking FOREVER, was nailing in the frame nails (the frames hold the wax in the hive body). The frames are not super sturdy (until nailed together!) and you need them to be UBER square so they fit perfectly. So after taking 10 minutes to do one, I threw in the towel and brought out the nail gone. BOOM, done.



NOW that it's all assembled, the last step in getting the hive ready (well, really to be placed in the wilderness), is paint! Since it's bare wood and we live in the ELEMENTS, the wood needs to be protected. ALSO, bees can see color! And what bee wouldn't want a pretty hive to come home to after a LONG day of pollinating?! I chose a bright blue, because some crazy scientist thinks it's bee's favorite color, and I totally believe them.


BUT, when you paint, you ONLY paint what is exposed. The insides stay RAW for the bees to hang out in. mmkay? They like a more, natural, decor inside.


Fingers crossed I don't kill 50,000 bees this year...





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Delicious Homemade Salsa

BEFORE I get back into a little kitchen update, I wanted to share a recipe from our trip to Mexico. I've made it twice since coming home, and it beats out ALL the store bought salsa in my fridge - I love it. AND it's super easy. 


When we were out to lunch one day in town, the restaurant had free salsa and chips while we wait for our meal (don't you just LOVE Mexican restaurants that do that!). We weren't really paying attention when she was making it by our table, because basil mojitos. THEN we tasted it and were like WHAAAT is this it's amazing and she just made it in like 5 seconds. SO, when a new table came in and she went to make them some, we totally creeped.
  

The secret ingredient? Isn't really an ingredient, but it's to ROAST erry thing before you chop it into salsa.



SO, put some olive oil (or coconut oil!) down on a pan, I used 2 tomatoes (cut in half), 2 cloves of garlic and one jalapeno sliced in half. I think the oven was set at 350-400, but it makes the room smell soooo good (i love garlic!). You know when they are done when the skin on the tomatoes crack - about 15 minutes.


Start by slicing the Jalapeno, then mash that and the garlic together to make a chopped paste.



Then Add the tomatoes (I take off the skin), and some cilantro and a DASH of sea salt (as needed). The salsa is then, obviously, warm. So I stuff it in the freezer for a few minutes to CHILL it a bit.

SO good, SO easy.








P.S, I got that lava rock masher in Mexico, after watching the angel of a server make this dish for us. We were scrounging for luggage room on our way home (thanks to 2 trips to the market!) so I ALMOST brought this in my carry on. THANKGOD I didn't, it was one of the ONLY things restricted at the airport (right next to a gun and knife). IDK why...!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Zihua

Zihuantenejo, Mexico. Or as the tourists call it "Zihua". Or as the Locals call it "Z". It's short for paradise.


At the end of February, my family and I took a nice little vacay across the Mexican boarder to a town on the west coast, a few miles south of Ixtapa. Although we never left the beach, save for a few small trips into town, we were told that Ixtapa was very tourity, whereas Z was more MEXICO. Totes true, but I think that's what we loved the most about this town.



We arrived into Z (such a local wannabe) and were greeted with an airport apparently sponsored by Corona, hustled into a non-air conditioned line for immigration/customs - hailing from Minnesota, we were all still pretty bundled up at this point. Once we got out of the airport, a driver from our condo was there to pick us up - it's typically about 15 minutes into town, but a road is getting re-paved at a GLACIAL pace, so it took a bit longer. NBD. The streets of Z reminded me of Cambodia (minus the tuk tuk's!), I loved it.

The road being built...and all the workers...

Our condo (Club Intrawest) sat on top of a hill (which is SO fun to walk up and down everyday! Liquor helps) Cinque Terre style.


The architecture inside our condo was very spanish-adobe. It even had a dipping pool (which we wondered why, then found out why after a sweaty walk back from town one day). Most days we spent on the beach, followed by happy our in the pool, then happy our in our condo, then stumbling to dinner. It was a pretty nice routine we fell into. The first day we were there, about 90% of the pool hailed from MN, so that was funny.


Happy Hour in the pool turned into Flip Cup on boogie boards one day. 



The resort had a few kayaks that you could rent for 30 Pesos, so my sister and I took those out a few times to different beaches.



You thought I would go to another country and NOT do a weird yoga pose? Psh.
More basil Mojitos pleeeeeeease!

We walked into town one day to check out the markets. There is an artist market and a food market. Both were awesome and i'd highly recommend stopping by. We stopped at the artists market again a few days later :)




Best. Drink. Ever. Mint & Basil Mojito



The only thing she wanted in town.




Salsa made before your eyes at Bonobos in town, so delicious.
Each night we tried to pull ourselves together enough to head to dinner. Our favorite spot (which we went to twice!) was Il Mare.


It was Italian and had the best views of the water/port in town.




La Gula was recommended from a couple staying at the resort (they couldn't remember the name but said to look for a sign that said "slow food" LOL). It was a short walk into town, had decent food. Those are the only two restaurant names that I know of, of the places we went. Others just had nick names. Like, the "Alligator place" (because there was a fence nearby with alligators). Super good food (get the Mahi, Calamari and Guac), and great music. Or, Two doors down, with the blue umbrellas.


That's a mango tree!
This is the hill down (and then up!) into town.
 The resort had some great food too, their brekky was my favorite. They had a wine night one night, which obviously we had to attend.





We had a great time relaxing in the sun for a week. Each day, the weather was beautiful - except for the last day! We saw clouds! Which means it was time to head home, obvi. The food here was everything, so rich and full of flavor - we all agreed we'd happily stop back again.

This is what happy hour (round 2) looked like. Fresh strawberries (bought from a women walking the beach).



The staff there was SO nice, we especially loved them because at 3pm they found us and asked if they should bring us our basil mojitos for HH. 

Shoutout to the parents for letting us vacation with them! Love you guys :)