Yay! After an unusually cold and snowy winter, I am able to finally start gardening! Here are some of my early starts. I did have some out in the greenhouse, but then it got very cold and very snowy for a very long time. They did not survive. But the ones inside on heating mats are still doing great!

I am not sure what I love the most about my Quince tree.. that it is loaded with brilliant fruit well into Fall, or the wonderful pineapple-like smell of the fruit! This tree is nine years old and never disappoints!

Just wish I knew how to better use the fruit. I made Quince jam once but it didn't rock my world... I do have a friend who makes Quince vinegar, I think. I am sure she will love this bounty.

Meanwhile, I love them for their color and smell!

With winter coming, it's time to make bee fondant (sugar candy) for the bees to consume while over-wintering. I found a couple of recipes on the Internet and combined them to come up with this one. I poured the mixture into plastic sandwich lunch containers lined with foil. This recipe was enough to fill two such containers to the top. You will need a good candy thermometer:

8 cups sugar
16 oz water
1 tsp white vinegar

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil.

Boil uncovered for three minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be clear when done.

The Crop Circle garden is a garden set in a 28-foot circle in our driveway.

This year, I grew peppers, tomatoes, green beans, spaghetti squash, sunflowers, and tomatillos in the Crop Circle garden. Today, I tore almost everything out of the garden. I left some tomatoes and some sunflowers.

Getting ready to can the second batch of tomatoes this season, with lots more coming. Canning tomatoes is hot, tedious work, but, like I say...

The only thing I hate more than canning tomatoes is not having canned tomatoes available when I need them.... :)

So here goes.... Turn on the stove and being out the ice bucket...

Lately, we've had an overnight visitor. All the fires have driven the wildlife deeper into our neighborhoods and the animals are hungry!

I have been putting apples out on the lawn to feed the deer. This was after we noticed that they came through and totally cleaned out all our annuals and perennials! Here, two different large bucks came through on two different nights. This is eight feet outside our back door. :)

Really kicking up the dirt here! The more dirtier, the more cleanerer! Showing those two onlookers how it's DONE!

One of the 'old ladies' has made herself a deep 'bowl' to bathe in, almost level with the ground!

Here is one of our 'babies', we have 3 age groups of chickens, 'old ladies', 'tweens', and 'babies', she was very curious about my camera!

In my full hive inspection today, I found a VERY healthy and happy hive. The two deeps and top honey super were very full of calm, hard working bees. Temperature was 72 degrees and overcast but the skies were bright. The bees were calm and left me alone ... until I started shaking them off the honey frames. Then I found myself in a frightful swirl of bees but no worries - I was fully protected.

I have not noticed much of a mite problem but I know they are there, so I treated with two strips of Apivar in the brood chamber. I will come back and remove those strips in early October.

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