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Doesn’t it seem like we just got through the holiday season? The end of winter brings in a slew of great holidays. My favorite is Valentine’s Day!

The thing about Valentine’s Day is that it’s about showing love. That doesn’t have to cost you a dime, particularly if you have an entire homestead at your disposal. Use these frugal homesteading ideas to make your Valentine’s Day more romantic!

DIY bouquets

A bouquet of roses is romantic, for sure. But where’s the fun in selecting a tidy bouquet from the store? Get creative with the tradition of gifting flowers. Pick flowers from your yard, garden, or field. Look for what’s in season. Citrus buds, onion flower, bean flower, and herbs like rosemary make for a beautiful and unique centerpiece.

If you’re snowed in, consider a bouquet made from grasses and twigs. I know it doesn’t sound romantic, but it’s doable! Check out Pinterest for some cute twig, stick, and grass bouquets.

Beer or wine

Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse to pour a bottle of red wine. But if you have fruit trees or berries, you can make your own! Pour a glass of homemade cider, cherry wine, or stout. They go great with chocolate or a romantic picnic dinner.

Mason jar goodies

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to craft adorable Mason jar treats. Instead of giving store bought chocolates to your valentine, make something more exciting. Bake red velvet cake and cut it into circles with the Mason jar rings. Layer the cake with cream cheese frosting until the jar is full. Top with the lid and attach a spoon with a ribbon. Homemade cake in a jar is so much more delicious than a pack of heart candy!

Who says you need to spend hundreds of dollars for Valentine’s Day? Use materials from your homestead to make the day extra special with less fuss.

Try these scrumptious ideas from (our favorite) voice of authority for all things romantic: The Dating Divas.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas
4 Ways To Make Your Valentine’s Day Unforgettable
14 Days Of Love: Valentine Love Notes

…and more!

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The Basics Of Beekeeping (An Overview)

Today kicks off a brand new series on beekeeping, and you can think of this “quick start” guide as your overview to keeping bees, whether you have one or one hundred acres. If you’re looking for natural sweetener and beeswax, beekeeping is right for you. Keeping bees sounds intimidating, but it couldn’t be easier.

Education

We would never recommend beekeeping without doing your research first. Bees are rewarding, but you’ll need to do a lot of upfront information-gathering if you want to keep them happy and healthy.

Check out your local library or beekeeping organization for educational resources. Many beekeepers offer informational classes, but even a YouTube tutorial will take you far. Learn about bee anatomy, diseases, communication (yes, they communicate!), how honey and wax are made, and the bee life cycle.

This knowledge will take you far on your journey to keeping bees.

Materials

Once you’ve learned about bees, it’s time to get started! You’ll need a few startup materials.

Bees: We recommend finding bees locally. Connect with a local beekeeper, bee society, or even a bee removal company. Many people will happily relocate a mature hive to your property for free.
Hive: Your bees need a place to live. You can choose one of two types of hives: Langstroth or top-bar. Most beekeepers use the Langstroth hive, which is made of vertically stacked boxes. Top-bar hives, which are horizontal, are good in some situations, but most beekeepers swear by the Langstroth hive.
Proper clothing: Bees are infamous for their stingers. Protect yourself with a proper beekeeper suit. These are steep at a $150 price point, but that’s still cheaper than an ER bill!

Maintain the hive

Once your hive is set up, you’re ready to go. Check your hive daily to monitor its health. Make sure to act at the first sign of trouble; a sick hive is an unproductive hive. If you ever have questions about your bees, connect with a professional beekeeper to troubleshoot the problem.

As far as regular maintenance is concerned, you can harvest honey and beeswax in spring. Remember to prepare the hive for winter, as well!

Not for you?

If you want to reap the benefits of bees without the fuss, you can always connect with a local beekeeper. Many keepers will place their hives on your land to pollinate crops, and in exchange, you get free honey and higher crop yields. What’s not to love?


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