Where are all da Honey Bees at?

Zac has been telling me for a few years about this 'Honey Bee Crisis', and how he thinks we should "do our part to help."  He basically wants us to become backyard beekeepers.

What?

I do what I usually do when he tells me random, crazy ideas...  I say things like "uh huh." "oh, really?" "mmmhm, ok"  "But seriously, no. You don't need another hobby.  You're nuts, and where did you come up with this?"

However, if you know my husband, you know he loves to try new things.  And when he gets an idea in his head, he's gonna roll with it... i.e. Maple syrup harvesting. Trapping. Anything apple tree related.  The list goes on and on.

Don't get me wrong, I love that he's a "go-getter", but seriously... now he wants a backyard full of bees?  I haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet,  however I did Google "Honey Bee Crisis" and it's a real thing...

Beekeepers have been losing colonies left and right, from a variety of reasons.  But why should we care?  Well, for starters, honey bee pollination is in some ways responsible for most of the foods we eat.  And we all need to eat... so long live the bees!

But... I still don't want bee hives in my backyard.  And apparently we didn't need hives for the bees to find us... we have flowers!

Bees; sunflower; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

To be fair, I'm not sure that these are actual Honey Bees, but they are doin' their thing & helping our flowers & garden flourish!

Bees; sunflowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; zinnias; flowers; pollination | My Darling Days

Bees; sunflowers; pollination | My Darling Days





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Make: Freezer Pasta Sauce


Our garden is in full harvest mode.  Our tomatoes, specifically, are all coming ripe at the same time, so we've been busy processing.  A large batch of them went to my mother-in-law, who makes & cans the BEST roasted tomato soup.  With our second batch this year, we made freezer pasta sauce.  We always use this recipe, from a Turtle's Life for Me, with a few variations that I will share below.

We've been making this recipe since 2011 & we will never go back to store bought sauce ever again... it's that good!  Making the sauce is a bit time consuming, but very easy... and so worth it.  The flavor of this sauce is hard to beat -- it's our favorite!

Recipe:
5 diced onions (this seems like a lot, but they cook down)
8 cloves of minced garlic
*4 tbsp. olive oil
*16 c. peeled & chopped tomatoes
30 oz. tomato paste
4 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. dried basil
3 tbsp. dried parsley
1/4 c. white sugar
2 tbsp. salt
*1 tbsp. black pepper 

*In a large stockpot, saute the onions & garlic in the oil until the onion is transparent.
Then, mix in the rest of the ingredients, stirring well after each item is added to make sure everything is incorporated nicely. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer on the stovetop for about 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally.

*Our variations:
*We use extra virgin olive oil in lieu of vegetable oil.
*For the peeled & chopped tomatoes, we actually use this Sauce Master that I got for Christmas last year. IT IS AMAZING.  The "good stuff" comes out more like soup than chopped tomatoes, but that's just fine to use in this sauce.
*We add more pepper, because we like pepper.
*Natalie uses a crockpot for her sauce, but we always make a double batch, so we use our big Paula Dean stockpot.


Freezer Pasta Sauce Prep; Onions; Recipe; Tupperware Quick Chef | My Darling Days
The Tupperware Quick Chef Pro System is a LIFESAVOR when dicing onions.

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; garlic; | My Darling Days
Minced garlic

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; | My Darling Days
This is what the consistency/texture looks like after the tomatoes were added, that we ran through the Sauce Master, instead of peeling & dicing them.  It looks very runny, but the sauce will thicken!

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; tomato paste | My Darling Days
Tomate paste

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; Oregano | My Darling Days
Oregano

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; Basil  My Darling Days
Basil

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; Parsley | My Darling Days
Parsley

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; sugar  My Darling Days
Sugar

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; salt | My Darling Days
Salt

Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; Pepper | My Darling Days
Pepper
^Look at how dangerously high the sauce got -- be careful when stirring!


Freezer Pasta Sauce; recipe; | My Darling Days

Once the sauce is cooled, we store in freezer bags -- about 2 cups/bag.  This lasts us all year!

Let me know if you try this recipe & what you think!


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Summer Blooms

The blooms in our yard this year did not disappoint.

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days


Every year I document the flowers in our yard, and every year I love them more & more...

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days


If you looked at the photo archives on my computer, you'd see that they mostly contain photos of flowers, because lets face it... flowers are pretty & they make me happy.

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days


Actually, I guess you could say I have a thing for photographing nature in general.  And, I'm so thankful I live in such a beautiful place, where all I have to do is step outside my front door & am instantly inspired by each seasons blooms.  Once again, reminding myself that I am truly thankful for all seasons.

flowers; blooms | My Darling Days

 If you're interested, here's what Winter & Spring look like, according to our humble little yard.

What's your favorite summer-time bloom?

#gardenlife: round 2; an update.

It's been just over a month since I gave you glimpse of our 2016 garden.  Since then, we've been rollin' in the garden goods!

Here was our most recent harvest (we pick about every other day -- it's insane how fast everything grows!)

Harvest; Garden goods | My Darling Days

To be fair, Zac spends a good amount of time in the garden, so it's success is mainly due to him (and I think we have really good soil, too).  I mostly just take pictures of it, and clean or giveaway whatever he brings me :)

This year we planted a row of mini sunflowers, and a row of zinnias, which are two of my favorite flowers.  The sunflowers aren't quite ready yet, but the zinnias are blooming in full force!  I love that I can have fresh flowers in my house year round -- we're definitely planting them again next year.

Gardening; Zinnias | My Darling Days

Gardening; Zinnias | My Darling Days

Gardening; Zinnias | My Darling Days

Gardening; Zinnias | My Darling Days

Gardening; Zinnias | My Darling Days

It's been so fun reaping the rewards of Zac's hard work -- if anyone needs beans, zucchini, yellow squash, or cucumbers, please let us know!

Gardening; Cucumber| My Darling Days

Gardening; Tomatoes | My Darling Days

Gardening; Lettuce; Spinach| My Darling Days

Gardening; Spinach | My Darling Days

Gardening; Onions | My Darling Days

Gardening; Beans | My Darling Days

Gardening; Peas | My Darling Days

Gardening; Broccoli | My Darling Days


Gardening; Zucchini | My Darling Days

Gardening; Peppers | My Darling Days

And of course, it's still a full time job keeping this monster out of the garden -- even with the fence, I've caught her sneaking zucchini... she's lucky she's cute!

Grace monster |  My Darling Days