Happy Belated Easter to all of you. We had a low-key weekend with lots of productivity. It all started out on Good Friday with Maura's new bee hive. Here's what 10,000 bees look like:
I'll be honest, that many bees scare the heck out of me, but it didn't seem to phase Maura at all. They are all now installed into their hives on Miss Edie Farm (Leah and Scott's place), and hopefully will be providing us with delicious homemade honey in a year or two.
Maura also dried some nettles over the weekend in our dehydrator. I'm really hoping that nettle tea (along with locally-purchased honey), will help my allergies out a bit. It's been a bad year for that! Our nettles came from an agriculture share box from a farm near Leah, and with the two batches of nettles received, Maura has made a nettle tincture and so far, one batch of dried nettles. Fingers crossed on herbal cures!
On Saturday, I churned my first batch of cultured butter. Although butter can be made in a blender or using a mixer, I thought it would be way more fun to use an old-fashioned hand-cranked churn, which took about 50 minutes for 2 1/2 quarts of cream. Culturing the butter (using "friendly" bacteria to make the cream a little more sour, in our case) is supposed to give it a more old-fashioned butter taste, but it was a little chilly the night I cultured it, I'm not sure the bacteria really was warm enough. When I make yogurt, I use my husband's bread-proofing box. It's a great invention--you can set the proof temperature to a specific temp. I'm going to use the box this week to culture my cream in this hopes of a little more flavorful butter. We're super lucky to have local dairy delivery from a milkfarm that doesn't use Ultra High Temperature pasteurization (their products are also BHT free).
For more information on making cultured butter, check out this article:http://www.cheesemaking.com/Butter.html
Nonetheless, even though the butter could use improvements, it was still delicious on Mister's homemade dried cranberry/pecan scones on Saturday morning, and later, on the two round crusty loaves of bread he baked while we were babysitting Alice. I've probably mentioned it before, but Mister makes ALL of our bread products---from scones and biscuits to baguettes, bagels, sandwich loaves, crusty french breads, crusty sandwich rounds, panini, ciabatta,Thanksgiving rolls---you name it! He tries to source local (non-GMO) mills, although he depends pretty heavily on Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur Flour as well. Next month, he and I will be heading to Utah for some national park fun, and along the way we'll be stopping in beautiful Logan, Utah because they have a grainery where Mister can load up on flour.
Along with a little sewing (me) and bike-riding (Mister), we had a very satisfying weekend!
So, on to the reviews...
Scentsy PearsAfter my last post (rant?) about my disappointment with the man scents, I figured I better trot out something a little more positive. Pear scents are big this year, and Scentsy has plenty to offer. I've already praised my two faves of the pear bunch---Sparkling Citrus Pear and Simply Nashi Pear, but there are two more that deserve a sniff, although I definitely like one better than the other: Nashi Nectar and Pear Blossom.
Pear Blossom is:
Sweet nashi pear tossed with light florals and cool berries.
Personally, I think Pear Blossom is the sweetest of all of the spring pear offerings Scentsy has right now. Nonetheless, it is not toooo sweet nor heavy, and still does strike me as a pleasant scent for a spring or summer day. I don't really smell any floral in it, and perhaps it is the berry that tempers the pear sweetness, but I can't pick out the berry per se. Although I don't love it, it is a reasonable like. It places third in my pear line-up and deserves a 6 + for a rating, a 7 for throw and last.
My least favorite of the bunch is
Sparkling citrus and crisp nashi pear balanced in perfect sweetness.
Nashi Nectar sounds so good on paper. Unfortunately, this one strikes me as "perfumey" instead of citrusy or fruity. Unfortunately, that quality gave me a bit of a headache when I tried Nashi Nectar, so while the scent itself isn't wholly unpleasant, I ultimately had to toss it. I hate when that happens, and luckily, I don't find myself in that boat with many of Scentsy scents. I do wonder if I got a dud bar, so perhaps some day I'll re-order and try again, but until then, I need to give it a 5 scent rating. It was fairly strong---a 9 on the throw scale, but since I tossed it out, I'm not sure of the last.
All in all, except for the devastatingly sweet Caramel Pear Crisp, I think Scentsy does right by pear. Sparkling Citrus Pear, Simply Nashi Pear, and Pear Blossom are all ones I'd keep on hand for a sunny day. They may have even converted me to a pear fan...
Until next time....