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Backyard Beekeeping | How to Turn Your Backyard into a Bee Haven

Home Animals Backyard Beekeeping | How to Turn Your Backyard into a Bee Haven

Have you ever considered turning your backyard into a bee haven? There are so many fantastic benefits of making your outdoor living space more bee-friendly. Check out these ideas to start your own backyard beekeeping!

Backyard Beekeeping | How to Turn Your Backyard into a Bee Haven

On October 31st, seven native Hawaiian bees were added to the endangered species list. After years of warnings from various environmental and animal groups, the alarming decline of the bee population is finally being acknowledged in a real, and terrifying way.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bees pollinate 80% of our flowering crops — which comprises a third of everything we eat. They’re responsible for the continued survival of many of our most precious native plants. Yet, despite being an absolutely vital component of our ecosystem, we still engage in a lot of the behaviors that have led to their diminishing population.

Unfortunately — as is so often the case — it’ll take time before the government catches up with the rest of us. It will be a while before they take action to protect all bees that make their home in the US. Until then, you can play a small (but very important) role in saving the bees by transforming your yard into a safe harbor. Here’s how:

Backyard Beekeeping 101

Offer Plenty of Food

Luckily for us, bee food primarily comes in the form of flowers — allowing you to help the bees and boost curb appeal at the same time. Here are some tips on planting the kind of flowers our sweet pollinating friends love best.

  • Different bees are active at various points of the year, making it important to plant a wide array of flowers that bloom from early spring through late fall.
  • Native wildflowers (either annual or perennial) are the best source pollen and nectar for bees.
  • Bees are most attracted to blue, purple, and yellow flowers with flat or shallow blossoms where pollen and nectar are easily accessible.
  • Since bees frequently return to clearly visible flower beds, plant large groups of like flowers, rather than a variety of flowers spread in a wide area.

bees-2 Backyard Beekeeping | How to Turn Your Backyard into a Bee Haven

Provide a Water Supply

All creatures need water, including bees. While native bees simply drink the water, honeybees use it to cool the hive and dilute honey. One of the best ways to attract bees to your yard is to give them a safe and accessible water supply. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • Fill a bucket or pail with water, and float a generous amount of wine corks on the surface to create landing pad so bees can drink their fill without drowning.
  • Fill a shallow bird bath with water and flat stones for perching.
  • Put a frisbee full of clean rocks underneath an outside faucet. Turn the faucet on so it drips once per minute.
  • Buy a few bags of decorative glass pebbles and put them in a large, shallow container. Fill it with fresh water daily and place it near your garden.

Bees almost never store water — they drink it or bring to the hive as needed. It’s vital you continuously provide them with fresh water, refreshing buckets and birdbaths every day, or every other day.

Give Them a Cozy Home

Most bees don’t live in hives and colonies — they’re solitary wanderers who make their own homes. You can help them out by creating a safe nesting habitat in your yard.

Wood and cavity nesting bees lay their eggs in reeds, old beetle tunnels, and similar locations. They’re opportunistic and will happily use man-made nests as well. You can purchase bee houses from your local garden supply store. Another option is to create your own at home by drilling holes into wooden blocks, logs, or by binding together hollow reeds. Place your nests where they are sheltered from the worst of the weather, and where the holes get morning sun.

bees-1 Backyard Beekeeping | How to Turn Your Backyard into a Bee Haven

Ground nesting bees need bare patches of gently compacted earth in which to excavate brood chambers. Choose a site that is well drained and receives a decent amount of sun. Level or slightly slope sites will attract different species of native bees, so it’s a good idea to create a few different spots to maximize nesting potential.

Bumblebees live in small colonies, and as such, their nesting boxes will need to be a bit larger. You can view a tutorial on how to build a bumblebee nesting box here. Place your nest in partial or full shade, on or just under the ground, where there’s no risk of flooding.

General Rule of Thumb

Finally — and most importantly — it’s absolutely imperative that you do not use pesticides in your yard. While they will certainly take care of any nasty pests you don’t want around, they will also kill the bees. Instead, take advantage of beneficial insects such as ladybugs, hoverflies, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. You can plant an insectary to attract them, or buy them from local garden supply stores for natural and safe backyard beekeeping.

While creating a habitat in our yards is just a small part in ensuring the safety of the bees and their continued survival, it’s still incredibly important. Even small steps can make a big difference!

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Want more about the buzz on bees? Check out these other fantastic bee articles here with this post: What’s The Buzz On Bees? | Beekeeping Info For Savvy Homesteaders

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NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?

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Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients



Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips



Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt



Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage



Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar



Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar



You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band



Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!

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9 SPRING VEGETABLES FOR YOUR GARDEN

Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!

Tomato

Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.

Eggplant

Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.

Beets

Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.

Spinach

Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.

Pea

Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.

Carrot

There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.

Radish

A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.

Asparagus

Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!

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