Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to care for kitchen knives

I have been itching to cut this video for some time now.

A tutorial of my recommendations on daily and routine knife maintenance.

Links to products I recommend:

Knife Oil: For you high-carbon-knife operators.

Ceramic Hone: In the vid you’ll see the way I recommend you use a hone in the kitchen. Once you nail that, you should treat yourself to a better hone than that cheesy steel that came in your set.

Without further ado:


The Greatest Gift?

Time, is probably the greatest gift we can give one another.

A fruit bearing tree, however, is a solid contender for second place.

Mindfulness and meditation teaches us to recognize the wonderful things in our life every day, and to be grateful for them. I am aware of being particularly fortunate as the recipient of generosity lately.

Oh, and the gift of planting a tree with a child! Both literally and figuratively, there are probably fewer things more noble for us adults to do.

Someone I look up to in many ways thought of me when the cherry tree he and his wife purchased proved to be a poor fit for the location they had in mind. The string attached was that he had to help plant it.

What a guy.

This sort of thing has me, quite literally, seeking ways to be kind and generous to other people.

It works. It’s contagious.

Catch that bug.

The American Edge on a Chainsaw

Here’s one I’d prefer you to do on you own.

The chainsaw.

To be safe, you should touch up your chain every time you go out. To do it that often, you need to be good at doing it yourself.

I use the Granberg G-106B, it used to be $30, looks like it climbed a little bit, still worth it.

I think any bad reviews are by people who aren’t using it correctly. It’s not rocket science, but the included directions are rather sparse.

Here you go:

Redefining a sharp hatchet

This hatchet sharpened on the Edge Pro Apex.

The edge was restored using a 120 grit stone, and finished with a 2k grit polish.

The handle was treated with boiled linseed oil.

I charge $15 dollars, which is comparable to a new hatchet, but a new hatchet won’t come out of the box this sharp, or with an edge this durable.

Camping this summer?

Do yourself a favor:

Feeding Bees

One week in the hive and they have gone through the first batch of food, just shy of a gallon.

This is the phase where the workers are building out all the comb. In the years to come, I can retain frames with comb and ease the burden upon introduction to a new hive, but this year the workers are building on fresh foundation.

All this work requires a lot of food. Could they get it from nature? Probably. I keep thinking of what Michael Jordan of A Bee Friendly Company says, like any livestock, you have to feed them to be healthy.

Once the bees start storing honey, the feeding stops.

I’m feeding a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar. Nothing fancy. Straight up granulated white sugar.

When dissolving the sugar in the water, it’s appropriate to only heat the water hot enough to dissolve the sugar. Overheating (like boiling) is not recommended.

It was premature of me to let the queen out of her cage after only a day. I hear that 3 to 7 days is more appropriate. Let’s hope the workers took to her and didn’t kill her. I’ll be doing an inspection soon and should know then.

The Bees Are In!

May 1st, 2017: The Bees are in!

I must confess, I’m a little nervous.

Did I do it right? What about the queen? Are they getting enough food?

The six week class was so great. I have a solid foundation (pun pun). But man! There is nothing that compares to actually doing it. Tapping and then pouring thousands of bees just seems like a bad idea.

But it’s not.

In fact, I’m now convinced that we (the royal we) have built up too great of a fear of bees. They are actually quite docile.

Upon hearing that I’m buying bees, my dad chose to get back into it, and the main reason we’re doing it now, is because my daughter asked us to. So here we are, three generations of beekeepers.

My daughter was a total champ. Stuck with us the whole time, and didn’t freak when the bees came out of the package.

Feel free to ask any questions. Consider this the Planet Fitness of beekeeping. No judging. Dumb questions allowed.

I went back in today (one day later) and released the queen. I’m not sure that was the right thing to do.  I’ll only find out if it was detrimentally wrong.

I’m using a top hive feeder with about 6 cups of sugar water mixed 1:1. Michael Jordan of a bee friendly company compares raising bees to any animal, if  you want them healthy, you have to feed them.

When it warmed up this afternoon there was plenty of activity abound. It saddened me to see the dead bees that the workers brought out and left on the landing board of the hive.

Right now the workers should be building out comb on the foundations I put in there so that the queen can start laying eggs.

For what it’s worth, I purchased almost all my supplies from BetterBee. I shot them a question about the screened bottom board and they got back to me in a day, which, in this day and age, is, unfortunately, great.

The bees knees.


Do I give enough?

Just the other day I asked my wonderful wife if we give enough.

Meaning, are we charitable enough?

It’s more of a reflective question than a cut and dry, yes or no.

We could give more. And that probably applies to everyone who has the resources to read this blog post.

My daughter recently turned four, and it brought me joy to see her obtaining joy from giving things to other people; bubble wands, cupcakes. I spoke to her later about the joy we feel from giving things to other people, and how we balance that with the joy we feel when we receive gifts from others.

It was with great surprise and joy for me to receive this generous gift, the KD-8000 kitchen scale I commented on desiring in my recent fermentation blog post.

The sender of this gift is unknown to me at this time, so, in the event you read this, I want you to know a few things:

First, thank you!

Second, your gift serves as motivation for me to continue this pursuit of documenting my path toward home-based sustainability.

Third, this generosity inspires me to be more gratuitous.

Fourth, if I find you, there is some sauerkraut with your name on it, and if I don’t, take comfort in knowing that I’ll pay the generosity forward.