Pickles and Bees and Other Things

The first cantaloupes from the garden have been picked.  The kids bugged and bugged me some more to pick the first watermelon.  I told them it wouldn’t be ready despite that dry tendril.  It wasn’t, so we made pickles out of the rind!  About half the family loves them, me not included.  I’ve been making all sorts of pickles.  I guess that’s going to be my thing this year.  Following recipes from Canning for a New Generation I’ve made the watermelon rind pickles, honeyed bread and butter pickles, and I even have a small little crock full of pickles that I am lacto-fermenting or brining (not sure the difference-or if I am doing both–just know there is salt water and they have to sit for weeks.)  I feel like I’ve been totally living in the kitchen for the past week.  There’s just so much to do!

The checklist of what needs to happen before the baby arrives keeps changing, or more accurately, being added to.  Accepting that Silas won’t be potty trained before then, I ordered him a needed new set of diapers.  Silas was my first baby to be diapered in these workhorse diapers, and they are definitely my favorite for an all cotton fitted diaper.    While I am worrying about things like diapers and clothing and homeschooling plans, Jonny is still building things.  This week he started working on a headboard for our bed.  He bought a used door on Craig’slist and has been working to transform it.  It’s going to be so pretty!!!

We never found our swarm.  Jonny declared that we need to move somewhere without tall trees.  In all honesty I know he’s joking, because that would be awful for this tree lover.  But it is true that catching swarms on our property will probably never be all that possible if they always choose to land high in a tree.  We are having fun with the bees that remained after the swarm left, having divided them and the queen cells between the original hive and a smaller one.  It’s so late in the season, that we don’t know how much hope there is for this colony in general, but we are trying to increase our chances of ending up with at least one good queen, and decrease our chances of having the hive swarm again (because they do!  a hive that has swarmed will often send out more swarms!)  Keeping bees is our favorite thing.  Okay, one of our favorite things.

And that kitten!  She’s so weird!  She’s not allowed on the kitchen table at all of course and we are working to teach her that.  However, when I walked into the room to discover her up there eating raw corn on the cob, I had to take a picture.  Em eats anything and everything–but raw corn?   That seems especially odd!

I hope you all had a nice weekend!


  1. Funny kitten! I am going to look up those diapers (nappies we call them) – for our foster baby who may arrive next week. A property without trees – I couldn’t do it either! xx

  2. This video about ‘why bees are important’ was just posted as part of a series about various PhD projects. Thought you might enjoy!


  3. Growing up, as a teenager, I lived in Europe and we had several cats. We never fed our cats cat food, just real stuff, soups, eggs, meat, cooked vegetables, etc. My cats were particularly crazy whenever I was peeling potatoes, they’d rub against my hands until I gave them chunks of raw potatoes. Fresh corn sounds more palatable to me 🙂

  4. The door is going to make the most amazing headboard. I do hope you post about it when it is finished. We never are able to get watermelon and cantaloupe to grow here in Denver. While we do have some wonderful growing days, our season is way to short to get any decent fruit.

  5. Love your beautiful blog!
    I just signed up to the yarn along list.
    And I have to say that only Phin, one of three piddies in this house, would touch corn on the cob.

  6. Oh I can’t say how happy I am that you and I are pregnant at the same time:) I am also looking for diapers. Ours have seen better days and I am shopping for good ones! I really love the ones you linked to. Curious though what sizes you bought and how many for little babies? I am wondering if it’s worth it at all to even get the newborn size?

    • Amazingly worth it. My 3rd baby is 5 weeks and still in the newborn size of these diapers. I usually use the prefolds from GMD, but the fitted diapers are flawless. No blowouts of note while wearing these.

  7. I love the corn-eating cat photos. I once knew a tortoise shell cat who ate green peas, canteloupe, and roses.

  8. I loved the babybump/melon comparison! Hope you’re feeling good these days! Love your kitten too! 🙂

  9. I think Beatrix is so precocious… I’ve thought for years and that pictures captures it! Your kitty is adorable if naughty. We’ve been using Best Bottom diapers, and I love them. You can also knit soakers! Or even take pants and turn them into soakers. If we hadn’t moved to Hawaii, I’d have made Kanoko pants in wool as a soaker.

  10. This post was so familiar to me! I am in the final steps of making a headboard, made a batch of bread and butter pickles last week, and workhorse diapers with wool is our system. No swarming bees or beautiful watermelon belly, though. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

  11. My sister had a cat that did that. She took to putting corn in the cats bowl everytime they had it to keep her off the table. It worked.

  12. Our cats liked fresh corn and my dad always said the same of his cats. I think they like the sweet “milk” inside the kernels. We always had to shoo them away.

  13. Kristen Orr says:

    Ginny, Your pictures always bring inspiration to me. Thank you so much for truly capturing the beauty of the small things in life. I wanted to ask if you have a cover system for diapers that you prefer? We are expecting #4 this month and my diapers are wearing out, so I needed to purchase new ones and love the green mountain prefolds, but like the ease of snaps.
    Love the creativity of the watermelon, baby bump picture. Very creative! 🙂


    • Hi Kristen! I switched to using wool covers exclusively with Silas, haven’t settled on just one type/brand–but have tried lots of them. I haven’t found any that I really disliked, but I do especially like the wool soakers from Rebourne. They are bulky, but I just use them essentially as shorts in the summer. For winter time I like to use wool pants rather than a cover.

  14. Oh Beatrix you have the best facial expressions! Ginny, I love that container that you have the fermenting pickles in, is it for that sort of thing, did you buy it new? It has a vintage look, thinking it must have been found at a soecial store or handed down.

    • sorry typo- i meant to say a special store

    • I am assuming it is for that sort of thing, but it is really small. I think that people typically ferment/brine in much larger crocks. The funny thing is that my local Wegman’s grocery store carries a lot of great jars and things of this sort, and that is where I bought that little crock!

  15. I love using a door for a headboard-it’s been dream of mine for years! Someday.

    I love that picture of you with the melon. I was totally thinking of you this afternoon because I observed a prenatal yoga class for my TT and thought “I bet Ginny would love this class”. Wish I could be your private yoga teacher! Haha 🙂

  16. I know what you mean! Our big kitten loves to chow down on my buttermilk biscuits. One of the kids dropped theirs on the floor and she went to town on it. It’s odd, that’s for sure!

  17. I know NOTHING about bees and have found this whole bee swarming conversation fascinating. I was wondering what the glass jar next to the middle hive box (if that is even what it is) is.

    I had a kitten that ate pretty much any and everything. She was rescued from an airport hanger where she was a mouser and eventually she stopped eating anything but cat food. She even refused tuna. But there in the begining she ate banana, applesauce, chocolate pudding and things most cats would avoid like the plague. When she realized she no longer had to fight to find enough food, she became much less discriminating. I wonder if trying all kinds of foods is something kittens tend to do.

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  18. Ginny,
    That door is going to look amazing for a headboard! What a great idea!


  19. Bummer about the bees, hopefully they are happy wherever they are. Corn on the cob is the essence of summer to me, love it! I like dill prickly stuff but not the bread and butter flavor variety. Keep working on the “things I gotta do before the baby arrives” list. That door is going to be a fantastic headboard!

  20. Wait……
    please don´t laugh about my grammar.
    I will give all to write down the right meaning.

  21. Oh what lovely pics. I love melones and realy all kinds of them. One question, how long must you go?
    I´ve round about 6 weeks, i hope so. you looks very nice on the 2nd pic.
    So, heartly greetings

  22. Noting your corn tool from Pampered Chef, it is one of the best gadgets ever. I love mine and it makes the work easier. Concerning bees, we had a swarm in our farm equipment last week and some fellow asked if he could have them. We said yes and he corralled them into a large cardboard box. Interesting.

  23. Kate Talley says:

    Your new headboard will be so pretty. Thanks for the cloth diaper info, I love cotton prefolds but right now the ease of snaps is important. If I want help with all of the diaper changes, that is! I hope you are well and happy!
    Love, Kate Talley

  24. Oh, I love seeing all your photos. They’re so tranquil….simply lovely.

  25. I want to know more about the strawberries. Are you using the gutter to prevent the plants from “running” over your garden? What do you do with the baby plants?

    • We saw something similar online and thought it would be a great way to keep the strawberries off the ground and away from slugs, and make weeding and harvesting easier. It does create a somewhat stressful growing environment though, and we have to water almost every day. I also think we will need to take them down and tuck them somewhere buried in straw for the winter. We’ll decide next year if it was worth it.

  26. I’ve been following your blog for some time now. You take such awesome photos. The pickles look great. I haven’t been able to have a garden this or last year due to my Mom’s illness last year and we moved May 1st this year. I grew pickling cukes in my last go at it and the pickling was quite fun. Made great Christmas gifts and we had enough pickles and relish to satisfy our family needs (wants) for the year – all off of 8 plants. Now that we’re settling into our new place I plan to prepare the beds this fall so I can get back to it in the spring. Thanks for sharing. Oh, yeah, I love learning about the bees, too.

  27. Probably the ideal place for a Tree-loving Bee Man would be a place similar to ours – 5 acres with house, outbuildings and lots of trees on the front 2 acres, but cleared open meadow on the rest (surrounded by more open fields belonging to neighbors). If I were to keep bees, I think I’d put them way back there. But chickens and goats are enough work, so no bees for me.

  28. Can’t wait to see the finished headboard. That’s a gorgeous door! And I love Beatrix’s cute expression! 🙂

  29. Workhorse diapers are the best! I will buying a whole new set for our #5 due in March.

  30. I was going to say corn? That is odd for a cat I think. My cat wants to try everything that the dogs get but she doesn’t like people food at all. Those pickles looks so delicious!

  31. Nahuatl Vargas says:

    Yes that sounds crazy.
    I wish you the best with the bees I have been following your story with the hearth.

  32. I am so glad I found your blog! I think that I am going to have to try the canning thing and will look into getting the book you are using.

  33. Can’t wait to see the finished headboard. I’ve been thinking of doing that for years, but just haven’t yet made the time.

  34. We have a cat that loves cantaloupe juice and will eat it little pieces of it as well. It’s funny!

  35. I love your watermelon/baby bump picture! Can’t wait to see the headboard.

  36. Gah, little Em reminds me so much of our kitten! It is hard to think she was ever that small. So much adorableness in such a small package. May I ask what that gadget is on the plate with the corn? Silly question I know 🙂 I sure hope your bees make it. Is it common for them to swarm like that? I plan on keeping bees sometime in the future and this is making me rethink the whole process!

    • That’s our stovetop coffee percolator. And yes, swarming is a normal part of the honeybee life cycle. Beekeepers often try to prevent it from happening, but it’s entirely normal and really not a big deal!

      • Oh, thanks! I saw the percolator to the side of the plate, I just thought perhaps the thing ON the plate was some fancy gadget that makes getting corn off the cob easier (whenever I use a knife, the corn seems to fly all over the place!)

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