Announcement!!!!


Breaking Urban Ground

is thrilled to announce our first issue of

Breaking Urban Ground magazine.

It is currently available on iPads everywhere in the Newsstand app. We have interviews from Paul Gautschi on his amazing Back to Eden garden. Larry Hall talks to us about the Rain Gutter Automatic Watering System he created. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds comes to you via the voice of Jere Gettle. A personality local to me, Gretchen Anderson answers some of our questions about starting backyard chickens. If chickens are not for you maybe our discussion with Vice President of Mann Lake Ltd may interest you. Jack Thomas gives us great advice on the topic of becoming a bee keeper. If you want to know anything about real world emergency preparedness then you will want to catch Steven Harris‘ interview. He tells us what every home can do to take a first (and easy) step toward counting on yourself in a power outage or if you lose a regular water supply. We even have a special article contributed to us from Pepper Miller. Her 3 part blog article “The Chicken Plan” is an example for you to see how one person put her wish to keep chickens into practice.

We are thrilled about the launch of the magazine but we are always looking forward to new issues. We are building June’s magazine right now and would love your participation. It can be as simple as a picture. You can send us pictures of your Breaking Urban Ground Projects. They can fall into these major categories.

Animals:

Show us your chickens, bees, rabbits, worms(worm compost projects) goats and others.

Alternate power:

Battery storage, home wind generator, solar projects, rain storage. Any utility you provide for yourself.

Food Production:

Canning successes, canning failures, dehydrated foods, cheese making, syrup, yogurt. What food did you make?

Gardening:

Your urban garden, community gardens you participate in, Veggies you grew or are growing, unusual crops, your first plant. If it is growing for food we want to see pictures.

Household Stuff:

Planter projects, a trellis you made, detergent, candles, beeswax lip balm, a bat house. This is the “construction zone”.

Preparedness:

This is more of an action than a “thing” so let’s see first aid kits, group pictures of your CPR certification class, your 72 hour kit. Send photos related to “being” ready for lives turbulent situations.

Storage:

How do you maximize your space. Lets see creative ways to manage what you have. Shelves you built, basement root cellars, serious spice cabinets.

Don’t forget to tell us about the picture. A picture of canned carrots is nice but information on who made them and a little background is better.

With all of this be sure to include the kids. Breaking Urban Ground includes all people learning to provide for themselves as they have interest. The entire family can be included. My kids don’t like gardening but love to make cheese. If your kids like doing something send pictures of their projects too.

We are all about learning. Learning includes mess-ups and failures. Send pictures of these and some info on what you learned from the experience and what you will do differently next time.

Sending your photos to Ideas@BreakingUrbanGround.com constitutes permission to use or not use the photos in future issue and articles and on the Breaking Urban Ground website and social media affiliations. Don’t send us pictures if they are not your own or you do not have authorization to distribute them.

Our first issue was so much fun to make. Lets make the next one better.

Joe Gore

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Total Bee Loss In My Hive


I went to check my beehive two days ago since the weather was nice and the temp was over 50 degrees. I brought 2 gallons of 1:1 sugar water to feed them to help them fuel up for spring while waiting for the dandelions and trees to flower. We had had a very cold winter with about 45 consecutive days below freezing but I was hopeful. I had observed a little feces on the front of the hive at the top entrance which I hoped was a sign that when things got warm enough a few bees were able to part from the cluster and take a potty break. When we opened the hive we were hoping to see a ball of bees still keeping warm as they slowly traveled through the hive consuming what honey they had put up for the winter.

That was not what I found.

Instead I saw no live bees, a lot of capped honey and a feeder that was still half full from last year. It looks as though they did not starve but rather froze. Bees seem to know how much food they have and how many bees get to stay in the hive for the winter to keep the Queen warm based on available food and other things bees need. It seems that maybe the bee cluster was too small and they could not generate enough heat to keep alive so as some bees died the cluster got smaller and harder still to keep warm. It is possible that since they did not have enough honey in the top section of the hive that they had to choose between staying lower where the honey was and rising up where it was probably warmer or easier to keep warm. Total bummer for me. Total bummer for the bees.

Dead Bee

So moving forward we gave the hive a good cleaning and removed a bunch of propolis and burr comb . I will resupply the hive with at least 2 swarms this spring and this should help them build more comb and honey for next winter. This is a learning experience and had it been a milder winter I would probably be learning more about spring feeding and how to clean a hive with 8,000 residents to be courteous with. It is easier to clean the hive at this time of the year because at the end of the year there can easily be 60,000 bees to work with and every one of them wishing you would leave their honey and pollen stores alone.

Either way I look at it the bees brought benefit with their presence in our garden. Their pollinating services, I’m sure, made a large contribution to my garden and the unknown numbers of gardens in the area. I believe they reduced the number of other flying stinging insects in the immediate area. They were a reason to meet and learn about bees from a number of very nice, experienced beekeepers (perhaps I should have asked more questions) and they were the source of educational entertainment for my whole family and every person that came to visit the garden where they are kept.

Bees 1

But such is the way of nature. Each new season brings it’s issues and it’s lessons and it’s opportunities to move forward. And move forward we will with new bees and a new found skill. Bee hunting.

Bee swarm1

Cold smoking cheese in the winter just makes sense


We often don’t smoke meat in the colder months because it is too hard to get some smokers up to temp but if you want to smoke cheese without melting it that is exactly what you want.  In the video below, Steve Hall (Shotgun Red) makes smoked cheese and smoked cashews and shares some lessons learned. Give it a try and remember, play with your food.