Things I Learned Alone On The Farm

Brandon-Blankenship Things I Learned Alone On the Farm

There is always something to do on a farm. Even when you fix everything that is broken, there is preventative maintenance to do: greasing equipment, treating wood handles, sharpening…. If you get all of the preventative maintenance done, there is always something that could be improved. Better soil, better fences, better drainage, better water, all of this makes a better farm. Often, my mind joins my hands and is consumed in the work. Other times, the work itself (like driving a tractor) lends itself to watching things, to learning. Here are…

Blankenship Farms Pottery

About the Artist, Donnalee Blankenship I grew up with creative parents, and admired my art teacher aunt, but had very few artistic opportunities in school. In fact, my small town high school had no art classes at all. I always loved photography, painting, drama, ventriloquism, and creativity in all forms. In 2010, I signed up for a pottery wheel class at the Shelby County Arts Council in Columbiana, Alabama, and I was hooked. I took class after class as long as my schedule allowed. Then, I started taking classes at Tena…

Blankenship Farms Honey

Three Bottles Blankenship Farms Honey

Blankenship Farms Honey is made by honeybees in Shelby County, Alabama under the management of apiarist Brandon Blankenship. Blankenship Farms Honey starts flowing early here. We start each day with a tablespoon of pure raw honey that has been dissolved in a glass of water with a squirt of lemon juice. We are convinced that it is the best way to satisfy an early morning thirst. Blankenship  Farms honey is pure and raw – it is not filtered or heated above 105 degrees. Our honey bee hives are free of…

Our Bees are Busy Carrying Pollen Baskets!

Pollen Baskets? We caught this photo of one of our honeybees resting on a tree close to the hive as she was headed back loaded down with pollen. You can see that pollen in her pollen baskets. The pollen basket (technically called the corbicula) is part of the tibia on the hind legs of the honeybee. They use the structure in harvesting pollen and returning it to the hive. Season for Pollen? This was right after the January “snowpocalypse” during the thaw, and we were so surprised to see that there was…

Groundhog Day aka Candlemas

Groundhog

February 2, Groundhog day, originated as a cross-quarter day which is the midpoint between a solstice and equinox. For the ancient Celts, cross-quarter days marked the beginning of each season, with the major two divisions being winter (Samhain), starting the dark half of the year, and summer (Beltane), starting the light half of the year. Groundhog day acquired its English name, Candlemas,  from the candles lit that day in churches to celebrate the presentation of the Christ Child in the temple of Jerusalem. It was not held as a good omen…

19th Annual Beekeeper Symposium

Dr. Jeff Harris (c)2014 Brandon Blankenship Alabama Birmingham Hoover Pelham

Our First Beekeeper Symposium Anna and I attended the Alabama’s 19th Annual Beekeeper Symposium which was hosted by Auburn University.  Shelby County was well represented with two club members (George Baldwin and Jimmy Carmack) as presenters.  Also, the Shelby County club had a significant number of members as attendees.  We are blessed to have so much talent in our local club. Our objective was to learn more about queen rearing and pure honey production.  We were able to attend presentations on The Small Hive Beetle, Colony Management, Methods to Insure…

Lemon Honey Jelly – Spring In A Jar

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want  —  oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! -Mark Twain By mid to late January, I am tired of cold and wet (and sometimes dark) days.  In a break from our goal to make products in season, I make lemon honey jelly.  Honey is the only sweetener and no sugar is added. Uses Best on buttered…

October Farm Schedule

The work schedule in cooler months makes Spring and Summer work pleasurable. For me, this schedule starts when the night temperatures drop into the 50s. In most of Alabama, Ryegrass (Lolium) will germinate once night temperatures are consistently in the 50s. If you are not in Alabama, wait for a 20 degree temperature spread from day to night. Over seeding with Ryegrass keeps our grass green through the cooler months and the deer keep it mowed for us. This also starts the most successful time of year for transplanting trees…

Pauper Pear Jelly 2013

Each year our compost gets better and better because as we do more canning, the fruit and vegetable scraps are dumped in the compost. These scraps break down into dark rich soil. While Mom was visiting recently, she offhandedly mentioned that when she was growing up they would cook the peels down to get the juice out of them. I grew up around canning, but apparently missed a lot. In part, I took Mom to mean that we were not well off enough to throw out perfectly good food. So,…