Search results for: 'pet'

  • If you’ve never heard of microgreens before (or you’ve heard of them but don’t know much else), I have a major treat for you today.


    What are Microgreens?

    Microgreens come from the same seeds as regular greens, they’re just harvested much earlier. So, depending on the type of seed, you could actually do four things with them: sprout them, grow microgreens, grow baby greens, or let them grow to full-size heads of lettuce (or broccoli, or radishes, or whatever).

    Microgreens: What they are and how to use them

     

    What are the Benefits of Microgreens?

    “Cuteness” aside, microgreens have some great benefits for homesteaders, preppers, and urban gardeners:

    1)      Many microgreens may have more nutrients than their adult counterparts, according to this article from NPR.

    2)      They have a turnaround time of about 14 days from planting to harvest.

    3)      You can grow them in very little space—raise them in a windowsill, on your counter top, or in a little corner of an existing greenhouse.

    4)      They’re an easy, efficient way to get the familiar flavor, color, and texture into your food storage meals—think micro cilantro on your favorite tacos—and makes more meals possible, like a nice leafy salad (without the expense and labor of a full-grown garden).


    What Kind of Greens Can I Grow?

    If you’re worried about variety, you can put those fears to rest right now. A Google search for microgreen seeds landed me tons of sites to choose from, and from a quick glance at a few of those sites, here are some of the varieties I saw:

     

    Amarinth Arugula Basil
    Beet Broccoli Brussel Sprout
    Buckwheat Cabbage Cauliflower
    Celery Chard Chia
    Chives Cilantro Clover
    Collard Greens Curly Cress Endive
    Fennel Garlic Chives Kale
    Kohlrabi Leek Mizuna
    Mustard Parsley Pea
    Radish Sunflower Turnip

     


    How Can I Grow Microgreens at Home?

    It’s easier than you might think to grow microgreens. Follow these steps, and you’ll be in business:

    1)      Pick a fairly shallow tray (3-4 inches high). Make sure it has drainage holes. A lid is also really helpful.

    2)      Fill it with 1.5-2” of damp potting soil.

    3)      Scatter the seeds evenly across the soil. Don’t sow too many, but you can sow many more than you normally would if you were growing full-size veggies.

    4)      Use a board to gently press the seeds into the top of the soil.

    5)      The you can either:

    • Cover the seeds with a damp paper towel, which you’ll keep there until the greens need light
    • Use a fine-mesh sieve or colander to scatter a shallow layer of soil over the seeds.

    6)      Water well (but don’t overwater) to get things started, and keep the soil damp but well-drained until harvest.

    7)      Attach the lid, and put the tray in a sunny area. (If it gets too warm, these tender little greens can burn, so vent the lid if it seems like the container needs to cool down a bit).

    8)      Water regularly so the soil stays damp (but not soaked), and enjoy watching your greens grow!

    9)      Harvest at around 14 days. To harvest, simply cut the stems just above the soil line with a pair of sharp scissors.

    10)  Compost the used soil, and start again!


    How do I Use Microgreens in Recipes?

    Use your imagination to come up with great ways to use your harvest! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    1)      Make a microgreen salad—treat the greens just like you would full-size greens.

    2)      Use them in place of full-grown lettuce on sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, tostadas, or any other recipe where you’d typically use lettuce.

    3)      Add them to soups for a fresh flavor and a slight crunch.

    4)      Top off a delicious appetizer with just the right hint of flavor.

    5)      Make your food tasty and beautiful by using microgreens as a delicious garnish.

    6)      Juice them.

    7)      Add them to a smoothie.

     

    Have you ever grown or used microgreens? How do you (or would you) use them?

     

    --Urban Girl

     

     

     

    Sources:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/08/29/160274163/introducing-microgreens-younger-and-maybe-more-nutritious-vegetables

    http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/growing-microgreens-indoors

    Microgreens: A Guide to Growing Nutrient-Packed Greens by Eric Franks & Jasmine Richardson

    http://www.growingmicrogreens.com/microgreen-seeds?ps=60

    http://sproutpeople.org/seeds/microgreens/

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gardening

  • iStock_000011554172Small_america

    To celebrate the diversity of our amazing country, we’re highlighting some traditional recipes from each region of the United States. The best part is many of these recipes can be adapted to fit your food storage needs.

    As we “tour” the country, you’ll learn where some of America’s favorite dishes originated and why they’re special to each region. Click on the pictures below to find recipes for each dish, and then add them to your food storage recipe collection.

     

    New England

    Enriched by the influx of Native Americans, as well as Irish and Italian immigrants, the New England area has introduced America to foods like potatoes, chowder, pork, cabbage, pasta, sausage, baked beans, and flavorful sauces from Italy. Did you know? New England cuisine also gave us tasty treats like apple pie, cranberry sauce, and blueberry muffins.

     New England Corn and Potato Chowder

     New England Corn and Potato Chowder

     

    The South

    Known for its soul food, seafood, and pork dishes, the South has introduced the taste of Spain and the British isles to the US. Some southern favorites include cornbread, ham, bacon, pit-barbecued pork, deep-fried meats and vegetables, hushpuppies, collard greens, and black-eyed peas. But don’t forget about dessert: sweet potato pie, banana pudding, and red velvet cake are all southern favorites.

    So, kick back with a bowl of cracklins (deep-fried pork skins) and a tall glass of lemonade or sweet tea and check out these delicious southern treats.

     Southern food: Chicken Hushpuppies with Blackberry Mustard

    Chicken Hushpuppies with Blackberry Mustard

     

    More Southern Recipes to try:

    Easy ‘Nana’ Pudding

    Fried Green Tomatoes 

     

    Cajun and Creole-Louisiana

    Although Louisiana is technically considered “the South,” the cuisine and culture of rural southern Louisiana and the city of New Orleans are so distinct they deserve a section of their own. So, have you ever wondered what the difference between Creole and Cajun food is?

    Creole cuisine refers to a blend of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Native American, Canary Island, and African influences on food available to the early settlers in the area.

    Cajun food features what is called the “culinary holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery, included in most savory dishes. It emphasizes one-pot meals such as Jambalaya (influenced by Spanish paella), Dirty Rice, and Crawfish Etouffée.

    As they say in New Orleans, Bon appétit, e laissez les bons temps rouler!

     Beignets

     Beignets

     

    More Recipes from Louisiana to try:

    Shrimp Etouffee

    Creamy Cajun Chicken 

     

    Midwest: America’s Heartland

    The central heartland of America, also known as the Midwest or the “nation’s breadbasket,” consists of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Often, when we think of the Midwest, images of rolling hills, farms, and fruit and grain fields come to mind.

    Did you know that many of America’s favorite foods originated in the Midwest? Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn dogs, ice cream cones, pretzels, Reuben sandwiches, and our favorite dairy products (cheese!) were all first made in America’s Heartland.

    Aside from the American favorites we enjoy from this region, the Midwest also has a strong German, Polish, Hungarian, and Scandinavian influence, bringing us foods like sauerkraut, Cornish pasties, bratwurst, goulash, and rye bread.

     Cornish Pasties

     Cornish Pasties from America’s Heartland

     

    More recipes from the Heartland to try:

    Chicken Paprikash (Hungarian)

    Lefse (Norwegian Flatbread)

     

    The Southwest

    The rustic cooking of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and southern California is a combination of Mexican, American cowboy, and Native American foods combined with the domesticated beef and pork grown in Texas. Tex-Mex cuisine, a type of food combining Mexican and cowboy dishes, thrives in this area.

    “Fresh-Mex” cuisine, Chimichangas, Nachos, Fajijitas, and Chili Con Queso and several variations of Chili were also developed in this region. In fact, the spicy meat and/or bean stew we call Chili originated in Texas. Other variations include casseroles like Chicken-Green Chili Enchilada casserole and Tamale pie. Tortilla soup, which originated in the Southwest, has also become a popular favorite in restaurants and homes across the country.

    Todos son deliciosos!

     Tamale Pie

    Tamale Pie

     

     

    More Southwestern Recipes to try:

    Horchata (Spiced Milk)

    Authentic San Antonio Tex-Mex Chili

    Mexican Rice (with tomatoes)

     

    The Northwest

    For our purposes, the Northwestern United States includes northern California (San Francisco and farther north), Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, and parts of Montana. As with all regions, the origin of those who settled there, combined with the cooking of the Native Americans and the available natural foods all contributed to the cuisine.

    The northern forests abound with game and the waters teem with fish and seafood. This region brings us meals like elk steak, venison sloppy joes, and lamb stew. In the waters, Salmon is king among the fish of the Northwest. Scallops, mussels, shrimp, and clams are popular favorites, as well. In addition to the meat and game, apples, peaches, berries, apricots, cherries, and sweet onions grow in abundance in this region.

    Mixed Berry Pie

     Mixed Berry Pie 

     

     

    The California Coast 

    California—especially Southern California—has developed a cuisine so unique that it qualifies for a discussion of its own in American cookery. Blessed with a climate that produces nuts, fruits, vegetables, and a coastline full of fresh seafood, California cooks emphasize using local produce and seafood in season. They prefer to keep it light and healthy, quickly cooked, and combined in unusual ways. However, the food in this area also has influences from Mexican and Southwestern cooking.

    “Fusion cooking” originates here, combining flavors and foods from different ethnic traditions in new ways. An example would be a combination of Chinese or Thai ingredients topping a pizza. Check out our recipes from the California Coast.

    Cherry Walnut Salad

    Cherry Walnut Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

     

     

    What’s your favorite state or regional recipe?

    -Angela and Sharon

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • Veggies on the Fire Escape: Starting your Small-Space Garden

    As I sat down to write this post, my four-year-old expressed some interest in what I was doing. I explained that some people don’t have grandmas with lots and lots of land where they can plant gardens (like my four-year-old does). Some people don’t even have backyards. So where, I asked him, do you think those people could plant gardens?

    “They could build a planter box. And put it in their bedroom.”

    Um, sure.

    But assuming your bedroom doesn’t get a full six hours of sunlight (or that you don’t want your tomato pots draining onto your carpet) is there a solution for yard-less would-be gardeners? You bet, says BuzzFeed’s Rachel Sanders, in her aptly named article, “How to Grow Herbs and Veggies on Your Fire Escape.”

    Sanders’ article takes small-space gardening to the next level, telling us where to put and how to arrange those containers, as well as what and when to plant for maximum yield. Divided into 17 handy tips, her list includes considerations that commonly get overlooked—everything from “does my landlord allow plants on the balcony?” to keeping mint from staging a hostile takeover of your property. (Heads-up: she also talks about squirrel-proofing your garden, which accounts for the naughty word in the article.)

    Not yet convinced that there’s such thing as an urban green thumb? We’ve written here before about container gardening and ideas for re-purposing junk as garden real estate.

    And here are a few more resources that will have you fairly running to your nearest home and garden store.

    Before you start your fire escape garden, make sure that it is legal to do so in your city. Several cities have fire codes and laws prohibiting fire escape gardening.

    Whether your backyard looks more like Green Acres or Eva Gabor’s beloved penthouse view, you can grow a lovely and tasty garden this season!

    -Stacey

    Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: gardening, gardening tips

  • Pet Prep in the News Again

    Most of us know that more than 1,800 people died in Hurricane Katrina almost nine years ago. What we may not know are the circumstances surrounding each individual casualty. For example, Fox News reports that more than sixty of those 1,800 people perished because they wouldn’t leave their pets behind.

    But casualty counts like the one above only tally up human victims. According to one estimate made by Marty Pagliughi, Director of Emergency Management for Cape May County, New Jersey, something like 100,000 household pets were lost in the flooding and destruction of Katrina.

    The Fox News article, “Beachside County Builds Hurricane Shelter to Save Pets, Encourage Evacuations,” is the second pet-related story I’ve come across in the last month or so (read the first, “Is Your Pet Safe?” an inspiring story of a former firefighter turned emergency pet rescuer).

    This recent Fox News article involves a county office in New Jersey that saw a problem to be solved in the numbers reported above. As the report puts it, “officials realized the absence of pet-friendly shelters was putting their residents in potentially life-threatening situations.”

    Cape May County’s solution? Dedicated mobile shelters equipped with power, water, heat, air conditioning, and space for 120 animals. The county currently has two of these facilities available and operating, and stations them near existing emergency shelters so owners can be near their pets.

    Other cities are recognizing the same need and putting facilities and programs in place. And in case you missed the previous pet post, here are a handful of helpful resources for your own emergency pet prep:

     

     

    Do you know what your city or county has available for its four-legged residents? What steps have you taken to ensure your pets’ safety in an emergency?

     

    -Stacey

    Editors note: Error in the statement in the first paragraph. More than 18,000 people did not die in Hurricane Katrina. The statement has been corrected to say "more than 1,800 people died in Hurricane Katrina."

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: pet preparedness

  • Could you Survive an EMP?

    Are you ready for a blackout triggered by an electromagnetic pulse? Experts such as Peter Vincent Pry, the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, warn that the civilian world isn’t as prepared as they should be.

    An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a burst of electromagnetic energy that can come from nuclear missiles detonating in Earth’s atmosphere or from super solar flares (explosions on the surface of the sun) that reach our atmosphere. This burst of energy is capable of disabling or even destroying electronic devices connected to the grid (cellphones, computers, television, toaster, etc.) whether or not they are plugged in.

    According to Watchdog.org, “Electricity is the lifeblood of the modern world. Food, transportation, medical facilities, and communication systems all need it to function.” In our daily lives, we use electricity for even the simplest of tasks: cooking our food, washing our clothes, lighting the dark, charging all our technological devices, and more.

    Not only would an EMP interrupt daily tasks, it would prove detrimental to many people’s way of life. The kicker is… we could prevent it, but we don’t.

    To read more, check out Watchdog.org’s article “Experts: Civilians not ready for EMP-caused blackout

    If the electric grid went down in your area, would you be able to survive? Think about the following questions:

    • How will you keep your perishable foods safe to eat?
    • How will you light your home?
    • How will you provide warmth?
    • How will you communicate with loved ones?

    If you can answer these questions, then you are on your way to preparing for a blackout. Make sure you add the appropriate gear to your emergency supplies. Consider adding some of the following:

    Also check out these other categories for more gear that could help you survive a blackout:

     

    Adding the right gear into your emergency supplies will make a huge difference if you find yourself without power for days on end. Learn more about what you can do to stay safe and prepare for an EMP-caused blackout with some of our Insight Articles:

    What preparations have you made for a blackout?

    --Kim

    Sources:

    http://watchdog.org/138940/solar-flare-emp/

     

    Photo Courtesy of WatchDog.org

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power, communication, power, Blackout

  • Is your Pet Safe?

    Is your Pet Safe?

    I must be on a happy endings kick, ‘cause here’s another one that had me crying great big, sloppy, happy tears. When Jen Leary suffered an injury that prevented her from doing her job as a firefighter in south Philadelphia, she made a minor change to her career path. Instead of rescuing humans, now she rescues animals. (You can watch the video that made me tear up here.)

    Her organization, Red Paw, does for pets what the Red Cross does for people affected by disasters. It rescues pets from emergency sites; offers food, shelter, and medical care; and works with volunteers to provide foster care and adoption services.

    And while it’s strictly local at this point, the idea is beginning to catch on. In fact, according to a write-up in Philly.com, the organization has more than 17,000 followers on social media (check out Red Paw’s Facebook and Twitter pages), and the city’s Office of Emergency Management actually enlists Red Paw’s help in its emergency response efforts.

    According to Leary, Red Paw is the only organization of its kind in the country. And while Red Paw is certainly the most thorough service provider for animals, if you don’t live in the Philadelphia area, there are other organizations you could contact for help with animals in an emergency situation. Notably, PetSmart Charities has an emergency relief arm, the AKC’s Pet Disaster Relief collects resources and works with local emergency management centers, and the American Humane Association’s “Red Star” mobile animal relief service has helped on disaster sites across the US.

    In addition to accessing large-scale rescue organizations, there are steps you can take on your own to prep and protect your pets in the event of an emergency. Check out the posts and resources we’ve collected below.

     

    Don’t leave Fido and Fluffy out of your plans when preparing for an emergency—every member of your household deserves to stay safe!

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: pets, pet preparedness, pet

  • It’s that time of year again, where we start thinking about all the outdoor activities we can do as it starts getting warmer outside. Activities like hiking, biking, camping, hunting, target shooting and many other sports may take us into the desert or mountains and into contact with ticks.

    You have to worry about coming in contact with ticks just about anywhere in the contiguous United States. Some ticks carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. These illnesses can lead to hospitalization, and in worst case scenarios, can cause death. There are several different species in the US, and depending on where you live there may be one or more varieties to worry about.

    Let’s talk about 7 common tick species in the United States, how you can prevent tick bites, and how to remove ticks if you are bitten.

    7 Types of Ticks Common to the United States

    TickChart

    Prevention

    There are several things you can do to prevent tick bites, especially during the warmer months between April and September.

    • Apply repellent that contains 20% Deet to your face, neck, and ears. Avoid getting it in your eyes and mouth.
    • Wear light-colored clothes which will make it easier to see if ticks are on your clothes.
    • Stay in the middle of trails and avoid high brush and vegetation.
    • Wear long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks and tuck your shirt into your pants.
    • There are even lines of clothing that have been treated with Permethrin (a type of insect repellent) that can stay on your clothes through multiple washings.

    Once you get home or back to your camping spot, do a tick check. Strip down and use a hand held mirror to search the places ticks love: your hair, underarms, belly button, between your legs and behind your knees, for example.

    If you’re a parent carefully check for ticks on your children and pets. Perform this check before going into your home, camper or tent.

    Amazingly, ticks can live through a cycle in your washing machine, even with hot water. But they won't be as lucky when you run your clothes through a cycle in the dryer on high heat.

    Removing a Tick

    If you find that, despite all your diligence, a tick has embedded itself into your body, you need to remove it as quickly as possible. As you remove it, make sure that the tick and its mouth are fully intact and no part of the tick is left on your body.

    We’ve all probably heard about using petroleum jelly, fingernail polish, alcohol, and even using heat or cold to try and get ticks to back out, but these things usually won't work and may even cause the tick to dig in deeper and secure its hold.

    The best method of removal is to get a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick firmly as close to your skin as possible and carefully pull upwards with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze too hard because fluid from the tick can cause infection or spread disease.

    Do not twist or pull hard. By using steady, gentle pressure—even causing the skin to tent a little—the tick should pull out within a minute or two.

    If the tick does not come out intact, you should see your primary care doctor or clinic and make sure everything gets removed.

    Signs and symptoms to watch for after a Tick Bite

    If you or a family member has been bitten by a tick, you need to watch for signs of illness.  Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia are a few of the most common illnesses to worry about. Signs and symptoms include body aches, fever, fatigue, joint pain or rashes. See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten.

     

    With this in mind, go out and have a great summer. Enjoy the backcountry, but be careful and make sure you take the necessary precautions.

     

     

    Sources

    cdc.gov

    about.com

    wikipedia.com

    http://www.cdc.gov/other/imagereuse.html

    http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html

    Posted In: Uncategorized

  • 3 Easy Food Storage Dinner Parties

     

    Hi, friends. Urban Girl, here.

    We’ve been experimenting with food storage more and more here in the Emergency Essentials Test Kitchen, and we hope you’ve been enjoying the recipes coming through in our emails (if you aren’t signed up for those, click on the blue button near the top of the blog to sign up!).

    I’ve been thinking about having a dinner party in the next couple of weeks, and I decided I want to kill two birds with one stone and have a food storage dinner party. So I’ve been looking through the recipes on BePrepared.com and I’ve come up with three dinner parties I could pull together. Here’s what I’m thinking (click each image to see the recipe):

     

    Mexican

    Appetizer: 7-layer Dip 

    Food storage 7 Layer Bean Dip

     

    Entrée: Beef Brisket Taco

    Mexican Food storage Dinner Party: Beef Brisket Taco

     

    Dessert: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

     Food Storage Dinner Party Dessert: Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Crisps

     

    Italian

    Appetizer: Creamy Tuscan Tomato Soup

    Creamy Tuscan Tomato Soup

     

    Entrée: Linguini Chicken with Vegetables

    Linguini Chicken and Vegetables

     

    Dessert: Peach "Shortcake" with Strawberry Basil Sauce 

    Peach Shortcake with Strawberry Basil Sauce

     

     

     

    Southern-inspired

    Appetizer: Zucchini Corn Fritters

    Zucchini Corn Fritters

     

    Entrée: Cajun Chicken and Pasta

    Cajun Chicken and Pasta

     

    Dessert: Strawberry-Banana-Peach Cobbler

    Strawberry-Banana-Peach Cobbler

     

     

    And for drinks, I’ll make one of the delicious food storage mocktails we whipped up in the Test Kitchen. Yum!

     

    I’ve tried all these recipes, and I love every single one. So now I just have to decide which menu to use. I’m leaning toward the Southern-inspired dinner, but man… I really love 7-Layer Dip.

    Which of these dinner parties would you throw? Or would you go a different route for a food storage dinner party?

     

    Bon appetit!

     

    P.S. Need to get more familiar with food storage? Try some of these recipes out, or check out our Recipes page for other options. (We’ve also got a photo contest going on with our recipes… we’ve got a lot of recipes that need photos and we’d love to see what you come up with…Winning pictures will be featured and credited on our site, and if your photo is chosen you get to pick a free MyChoice can of food storage! Click here for the contest details.)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, Urban Girl, recipes, party

  • Often times, after you’ve devoured the contents of your favorite food storage cans, all that’s left in the bottom are small pieces and powder that comes from jostling the can over time. Compound butters are an easy way to add extra flavor to your favorite dishes and use up the little bit of extra powder you have left in your mostly-eaten food storage supply. Typically, compound butter is made from a mixture of butter with additional ingredients such as oils and herbs to give it a unique, tasty flavor.

    Check out these delicious, tried-and-tested, compound butters using your extra food storage (or come up with your own combinations):

    Blackberry Butter

    Food Storage Blackberry Butter Recipe

    Using Red Feather Butter, this sweet spread combines raspberries, blackberries, and honey into a delicious blend you’ll love. This butter is great on toast, cornbread, pancakes, waffles, or other dishes that need a hint of sweetness.

    Honey Cinnamon Butter

    Food Storage Honey Cinnamon Butter

    Honey and cinnamon come together to give you a sweet, mouthwatering flavor. Honey Cinnamon Butter is delicious on muffins, toast, bagels, cornbread, French toast, and more.

     

    Strawberry Honey Butter

    Food Storage Strawberry Honey Butter

    Using Provident Pantry Butter Powder, the flavors in this strawberry and honey butter will give you a sweet, refreshing taste of summertime and will add flair to your breakfasts, brunches, and desserts. It’s great to use on cornbread, toast, scones, biscuits, popovers, pancakes, and French toast.

     

    Basil Garlic Butter

    Food Storage Basil Garlic Butter

    Unlike the sweet butters above, this savory Basil Garlic Butter is perfect to eat for lunch or dinner. This appetizing blend of herbs and green onions helps you create a variety of unforgettable sides to go with any meal. Use it on French bread or homemade bread using Provident Pantry White Bread Roll and Scone Mix and serve with a salad or pasta.

     

    Do you use flavored butters? What other ways do you use the little bit of powder from the bottom of your food storage cans?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, food storage recipes

  • Have you ever thought about keeping bees?

    Well, if you haven’t thought about it—or you’ve considered it but haven’t taken the leap—here are four great questions to answer before you decide to become a beekeeper extraordinaire.

     

    Beekeeping for Beginners_Part One

     

    Do I have the space?

    Bee hives themselves don’t take a lot of space; they actually have quite a compact footprint (see this video for a good look at the size and setup of a beehive). But you’ll need to consider the fact that bees will be flying in and out of the hives near ground level—meaning they’ll be flying through your yard right at just the right height to disturb people and pets who may be enjoying some time outside.

    There are steps you can take to direct the bees’ flight path in and out of the hive (placing a bush or other “barricade” a little bit in front of the hive entrance to direct them upward), but space can still be an issue—so be sure to limit the number of hives to a reasonable amount for your acreage (or lack thereof).

     

    Do my family members and neighbors have objections?

    In theory, it’s easy to say that it doesn’t matter what other people think, but because your family and neighbors will likely have (hopefully harmless) encounters with your bees, getting their buy-in is a great idea—especially in suburban locations.

    In more rural locations, or if you have a lot of acreage, you can place the beehives far enough away from your family’s usual haunts that they can easily avoid too much contact if bees give them the heebie-jeebies.

    One of the most important factors when addressing concerns of family and neighbors is allergic reactions. If you’ve got a family member or close neighbor who’s deathly allergic to bee stings, reconsider keeping bees on your property. The risk simply isn’t worth it. And if you don’t know whether you’re allergic, get tested before you get started—a surprise reaction to a bee sting can turn into a scary, even deadly, situation.

     

    What are the zoning laws or other restrictions?

    While it’s kind of a bummer to think that keeping bees might actually be illegal in your area, it’s better to be aware before getting set up than to pay fines and have to call it quits after you’ve got a good colony thriving.

    If beekeeping is against zoning or other restrictions in your area, you may be able to find a local farmer who, if they aren’t already maintaining hives themselves, would welcome someone to set up hives on their land. You may even be able to work out an agreement that allows you to keep them there for free in exchange for honey, beeswax, or a combination of both. Win-win!

     

    Am I dedicated and patient?

    Keeping bees isn’t rocket science, but it does take dedication, patience, education, and planning. If your plan is to get a big, golden payday right off the bat, then you’re probably best off just buying a SuperPail of honey. It can take up to a year to get a colony established and producing enough excess honey for you to enjoy it without harvesting the honey that will sustain the bees through the winter. But if you’re willing to put in the work, the rewards are well worth it.

     

    Think you’re ready to dive in? The American Beekeeping Federation has a few Beekeeping FAQ’s that will help you get think through some of the logistics of getting started.

     

     

    Sound off:

    Do you raise bees? What other questions should beginners consider before starting a hive?

    Are you newly interested in taking up beekeeping? What questions or concerns do you have about getting started?

    We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

     

    Sources:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/lawn-garden/diy-backyard-beekeeping-47031701#slide-1

    http://youtu.be/zDZDYgBkCx0?t=11s

    http://www.abfnet.org/index.cfm

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: homesteading, raising animals, beekeeping

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