Dandelion Jelly and Back to Work

My bees are here! I ordered 250 leaf cutter bees, these are non-stinging, efficient little pollinators. I buy mine at this website. https://backyardpollinator.ca/leafcutter-bees-megachile-rotundata/leafcutter-bees-at-work/

So cute, immediately after hatching they mate and then the males die. I think I know what I am coming back as next life. Probably have a clean garage and less headaches!

Recently I was very inspired by a collection of memes where Karens get served their comeupance a movement out of Ireland, the concept of learning to grow one food. I think I mentioned it last post, here is the link:

https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/gangster-gardening-living-off-the-land-5071034-Apr2020/?fbclid=IwAR0hNHa-vUdad3r-mtlyLXvLCyzeOrKjBqeMPAK_7pWWIJjrdiGD7xQ553E

(I don’t know why I can’t insert the link in a word, WordPress has changed it’s blogging layout and I agreed to try it before it properly launches June 1st and like many things before, I sincerely regret guinea pigging this.)

So let’s go a step further. What is growing in most of our yards, that is a food, edible from flower to root? Years ago my Grandmother who was the oldest widow of a WWI veteran, (yes, the first world war, my Grandpa didn’t start his 10 kid family until his 40s), she came up through the depression era, the daughter of a small town Lutheran minister, and she ate dandelions. Loved the darn things. There was this radio show back in the aughts, called “Win a Dinner”, it was on the Wingham radio station – anyways they called you and you answered with what you were having for lunch. Grandma won with dandelion salad, she then introduced the DJ’s to dandelion salad. Well Grandpa lived to 88, died in 83. Grandma refused to go into the retirement home until she was 93 because she had to stay in her house longer than her bossy older sister, she passed in 2010, very close to 100… So maybe they knew something about dandelions. 🙂 I know people make dandelion wine, but I don’t drink and need to have a conversation with my naturopath because she prescribed a supplement with alcohol, so what else besides adding the greens to salad could I do.

Enter Dandelion Jelly!

So pretty – I actually had to reprocess it, and now it is an even darker hue. You start with dandelion tea, then allow the petals to infuse the tea overnight

So easy to make, we don’t eat jams or jellies because of the sugar content, plus we don’t eat bread and aside from Christmas, limit baked stuff. However I do enjoy gifting my preserves and may, sell them this year. I have done a lot of interesting ones, a couple I will repeat this year, like peach/vanilla jam; preserved apricots have to be my favourite, I leave the skins on and apricots seem to cut nicer than peaches, which I frequently mangle. Jessica only takes fruit to school I have preserved. I can it in it’s own juice, no sugar or freeze it. In fact, we just ate the last 6 bags of strawberries from 2019 this month.

Going off-side a bit, so many of these skills and passions have fallen by the wayside, growing up on a farm, all we had was the Tommy Hunter Show and Hockey Night in Canada – I’m sure there was more, we weren’t really allowed to watch tv, we had a tower and maybe 3 stations. We read and learned to sew, in fact I still do embroidery and frequently will gift my stitch work. My mom baked bread, canned, froze food, one time the vet castrated a boar too short and Dad had to butcher it right there on Mom’s chest freezer – I’m sure he could have done it somewhere else, but it was a good story and that chest freezer still had blood stains until the day it was finally decommissioned at probably close to 30 years old. Mom always says, we didn’t feed you girls really healthy because that’s what we were about, we did it because we couldn’t afford anything else. Anyone who farmed in the 80s understands. Anyways, I see a niche with some of these old skills, canning and using florals, dandelion jelly is called poor man’s honey and certainly dandelion flowers are quite sweet. Container and yard gardening. I remember once a friend laughing, someone was selling lettuce bowls, the friend was older, approaching 80, “who would buy that?” she laughed. I was like, me. I have bought them – especially when we lived in Kitchener and Paris, we didn’t have big yards, these were great for patio gardening, which was all we truly had room for, too obsessed with perfect flower beds and lawns, I remember spending hours in my yard, removing dandelions by hand. Never would I plant vegetables in a flower garden, now tomatoes and squash are right alongside flowering shrubs and bushes. Now, I am pretty sure the neighbours will be calling on me for noxious weeds because I discovered wild strawberries on my hill and my front yard is full of dandelions. My point is, the older generations sometimes forget, we didn’t all learn this stuff. The greenhouse at my high school was never utilized, most of us didn’t do home economics past grade 8 and honestly all I learned there was how to clean my sink taps and how to make a baked Alaska. Those skills, many of them will die with their generation, meanwhile our diets of convenience are killing us. My grandparents never cooked with refined sugar, they couldn’t afford it, it was honey or maple syrup, dates or raisins and know what, no diabetes, no high blood pressure. – Hopping off soapbox, putting it away, that is not really what this blog is for. I’m also feeling very introspective because my doctor, (Naturopath) put me on a quasi vegan diet – I can have fatty fish 3 meals a week, plus a plethora of supplements to help my allergies and reduce my inflammation. So, my apologies!

Mini Horses…

Now, this, this is what we care about! With social distancing in mind, last week Katelyn, Rachel and myself groomed the minis of Valentia Equestrian. Everybody got brushed and bathed and then the two white horses, (Star and Brownie) very nicely went and rolled as soon as we let them in their field.

Midnight looked like a million bucks when we were done. Work boots and shorts are a fashion statement for every smart #farmgirl #farmgirlstrong

I did most of the showering, there is a definite trick to showering a mini, singing “Rubber Ducky”, to them definitely helps, as does commiserating with them about how cold the water is. Mostly it is holding their halter and being calm, chatting with them, letting them see what you are doing. Several of the minis at Valentia (rescues) have blind eyes, so extra care has to be taken.

Which leads me to the mini team, I am doing the first show for May, I will be doing pictures this weekend, I clipped Red and it has to grow out – LOL. In June, we will be welcoming the kids.

You will find your mini ready to go, standing in cross ties and your grooming box, freshly sanitized. You will follow myself or Jim outside, we will be leading a mini of our own, then we will work on standing square, walking the obstacle course, just taking the mini for a walk, then finish with grooming again, once you work those muscles, grooming after is like a mini massage for your mini, just like when you ride a big horse. The lessons/class will be a half hour to an hour, no rush. 🙂 We spend time on what you need us to.

Anyways, that is all, going to polish some tack today, once school is over. Working on a couple other ideas for the kiddos. Getting some info together for window visits at the retirement homes, we already have some booked!

Take care all, see you soon!

Published by shbhs

Equine wellness services located in the beautiful Kawartha Lakes and North Durham Region.

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