Giveaway Week — Homemade Living: Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More

by Katy on March 25, 2011 · 79 comments

Please note that this giveaway has ended. Congratulations to “Carissa” whose comment was randomly chosen as winner!

Today is day five of Giveaway Week, and I’m giving away a copy of Homemade Living: Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More.

I am very excited to be giving this book to one lucky blog reader, as English’s other two Homemade Living books, (Canning and Preserving and Keeping Chickens) have been so beautifully written and  photographed, they’re like works of art. Having home hives has become very popular in the last few years, with many municipalities passing legislation to support this latest tenet of the homesteading movement.

For those who may not know, Ashley English pens the blog Small Measure, as well as a weekly column for Design*Sponge. But really, her claim to fame at my house, is that she’s married to Glenn, a friend of mine from college. Which reminds me, I think it’s my turn in Scrabble.

The enter to win this book, write something in the comments section about your proudest homemade goodies.

I will randomly choose a winner next Tuesday, March 29 at 9:00 P.M., west coast time.

Click HERE to enter Monday’s giveaway of Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff.

Click HERE to enter Tuesday’s giveaway of Dave Wann’s The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living.

Click HERE to enter Wednesday’s giveaway of Natalie McNeal’s The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life.

Click HERE to enter Thursday’s giveaway of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa March 25, 2011 at 5:24 am

I make homemade granola almost every week. My husband swears it is the best he has ever had and I give it away for presents. I like that I control what goes in and I can use up things I might not otherwise know what to do with- dried blueberries, anyone?


Dianna March 25, 2011 at 5:32 am

My chickens give me fresh eggs so I can make the best tasting eggs, baked goods etc. I have Ashley’s book “Keeping Chickens” and it was a great help.


Kate in NY March 25, 2011 at 5:44 am

I love Ashley’s other books but I haven’t seen this one yet (still waiting for the library to get it, I guess). I did cave and buy (!) her book on homemade dairy – and just this week I made up my first batch of homemade yogurt according to her recipe. My kids generally roll their eyes at some of my other homemade creations (preserved lemons, canned applesauce, bean sprouts, for example) – – – but they all agreed that the yogurt was delicious!


k. March 25, 2011 at 5:53 am

hands down its all my cooking. last few years though weve spent the summer making shelves full of pickles and canning tomatoes and sauce. we even made 50 jars of pickles to give as gifts to each of our wedding guests this past sept. this year im head of our community garden and were discussing adding some hives to help things along even more.


Courtney F. March 25, 2011 at 5:59 am

I make homemade apple butter every fall. My husband and I love it, and it’s ridiculously easy to make–I throw the ingredients in my crock-pot and leave it to cook on low overnight, then I run the mixture through my food processor in the morning. It always feels like the culinary equivalent of spinning straw into gold. 🙂


m March 25, 2011 at 6:02 am

I am famous for my oatmeal cookies


Jennifer March 25, 2011 at 6:08 am

I make a lot of home cooked/baked goods, and do a lot of gardening, but I think I’m proudest of the quilts that I sew. They are sometimes challenging to make, but I love the way they turn out and I love giving them as gifts because people really appreciate them.

I’ll be setting up my first hive this year and I’d love a copy of Ashley’s book! Hope I win!


fairy dust March 25, 2011 at 6:32 am

I make soap! That’s about it, but I feel good that we’ll never need to buy soap again 🙂

My grandparents used to keep bees at their cabin on a blueberry farm — blueberry honey every year. What a marvelous thing that was!!!


psmflowerlady/Tammy March 25, 2011 at 6:33 am

Blueberry Lime Jam from the Ball Blue Book. Also Vanilla Peach Jam that is to die for in homemade yogurt!


Megg March 25, 2011 at 6:52 am

Anything yeast-related. I feel like people steer clear of yeast breads because they are time consuming and, for some reason, people seem not to like to knead! At least that’s been my experience. So anything yeast-related I am proud of, and people seem to enjoy!


Jenn H March 25, 2011 at 6:55 am

Most delicious homemade goodie has to be pear sauce. Think apple sauce for grown ups!


keri March 25, 2011 at 6:58 am

Homemade yogurt for sure! I was scared to learn but after taking the plunge, it’s easy!


Mary H March 25, 2011 at 7:04 am

Weekly yeast breads; fig preserves every summer from my Brown Turkey fig trees; beeswax candles for myself, gifts, and for sale to support my candle habit. Thanks for all the nice giveaways!


Heather March 25, 2011 at 7:06 am

I am proud that I can sew, knit, bake and preserve. However my banana bread seems to win the most accolades.


Linda March 25, 2011 at 7:17 am

For the past two years I have made homemade wild grape jam. It takes a little bit of time (especially peeling the grapes) but so worth it! I gave it away for Christmas and everyone love it. Last fall, there were so many grapes, I made even more jars.

Also, I made homemade soap for the past two years. The first year my sisters thought I was crazy for giving them a bar of soap. We normally don’t exchange gifts but I thought they may like it. This past year before Christmas my sister mentioned how much she loved the soap and hoped that I was making it again. Well, I did make more of them and when I handed them out, all my nieces wanted their own bars of soap! I guess once they tried it, they appreciated it!

I really would love to keep bees. I have been noticing alot of people around town with bee hives. My neighbor has them and said she loves them! She is afraid of bees but puts her gear on and goes out to the hive. After the winter we had, I hope the hive survived.


Sweta March 25, 2011 at 7:27 am

I made oreo truffles this past Christmas that tasted amazing!


DebrafromMD March 25, 2011 at 7:53 am

My proudest creations, after my children, are the quilts I make. I also love to cook and knit. Bee keeping is something that really intrigues me too.


Emily March 25, 2011 at 7:56 am

I’ve made fabulous spicy caramel corn the last two Christmases, but took a break this year because the 10 year old can’t eat it (braces). The other thing I make is tote bags out of remnants/vintage fabrics. Do those count as “goodies”?


Marisa H March 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

Being gluten free, I make all my own food from scratch. Last summer I turned my charcoal grill into a smoker (also a homemade contraption) and used it to make the Bacon Explosion, as well as some French toast cupcakes with maple-bacon frosting (gluten free, of course) for my bacon-themed party.


Jennifer March 25, 2011 at 10:07 am

I’m most proud of my pumpkin banana oat bran muffins – they are super healthy, and my husband loves them! I hardly ever find those two combinations coming out of one recipe 🙂


Tami March 25, 2011 at 10:17 am

We bought a house with 3 fruit trees and every year I make pear chutney, pear ginger jam, apple chutney and dried apples and pears. I picked up canning supplies at a garage sale for $10, and I’m still giving gifts using those jars and rings. I bought a tour of a home hive, and I’m really thinking about trying it myself.

Marisa, do you have the recipe for the french toast cupcakes and maple bacon frosting? I had a child who would go wild for those.


Tami March 25, 2011 at 10:18 am

Have, have a child who will love those cupcakes.


Miss Roman Apartment March 25, 2011 at 11:24 am

I’m so jealous of Ashley English.

There. I said it.


lacy cooper March 25, 2011 at 11:35 am

I think anything I preserve is awesome! It might not be the “hippest” recipes or even the best tasting ever but I love the feeling of being able to give it away and share my bounty with my loved ones! We are getting bees this week (ekk!!) so this book would be Godsend!


A. Marie March 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

Dried herbs. I grow and dry all the basic culinary herbs (except for parsley and cilantro, which, alas, do not dry well for me). Not only am I self-sufficient in these, but I give many sets as wedding and Winter Solstice presents. And the bonus is having an attic that smells like an herb shop in Colonial Williamsburg. (In fact, I just went up there and breathed deeply a couple of times!) So bring on that book; I need all the pollinators I can get!


Stephanie March 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

The proudest I have been of one of my home made goodies was a baked Alaska flambe completely from scratch! I made sponge cake, buttered pecan ice cream and meringue with a brandy flambe last year for my boyfriend’s birthday. It turned out really well, too! 🙂


Abby B March 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

I like making vanilla extract by steeping vanilla beans in vodka. Comes out great!


Bonnie March 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I make homemade pickles which I have sold at festivals until recently. It is my grandmother’s recipe and we call them “Whit and Schmidt” pickles.


Hannah March 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

My proudest homemade goodies have to be my Chocolate biscotti. Dipped in dark chocolate with white chocolate swirls, not only are they delicious, they look spectacular.


Susan March 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

My proudest homemade goodies at the moment are my whole-wheat, low fat, low sugar, banana-oatmeal muffins that my 16 year old daughter bolts down as an acceptable substitute for the sweet, starchy (not to mention expensive) snacks she craves.


Mandy March 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

My proudest goody was making greek yogurt. Topped with raw honey, it’s absolutely heavenly. My kids adore my homemade bread and tell me all the time they want to eat the whole loaf in one sitting. I’m proud of anything I make with my hands. It is an intensely rewarding feeling to create something.


Paula M March 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I made yogourt and panneer several times and, of course, I make my own all natural body products. There is nothing like knowing what your are putting in your body and skin.


Claire R. March 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

My Mom had a beehive box once, but the man who gave it to her took too much honey out before winter, and she thinks they died. It’s sad. I’d love to read this book, and share it with my Mother.

I unfortunately do not think much of my homemade things. I am really only proud that I make my own home cleaners (think baking soda, boiling water, and vinegar.)

I keep fire ants out of the yard by putting out orange peels every once-in-a-while, so it’s sort of a safe-for-the-environment, homemade pesticide.


Sandy in Fort Worth March 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Hi Katy,

I would love to read the bee book : ) My sister and I are talking more and more about sustainability and how we can apply it to our lives. Currently we are planting some vegetables and I am creating a long-term layout of how I want my yard to be, i.e. planters, fruit trees, etc.

I love your blog and keep getting distracted by going to the links you provide, but I really enjoy reading them. The thing I must do now is to Do Something!!



Darla Jackson March 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

The most exciting homemade items in my house are my super easy fridge pickles. Cut up a cucumber, throw it in a jar with brine and fresh herbs and spices and wait as long as you can stand for them to become pickley…mmmm


Rebecca Ross March 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm

This isn’t food, but I am very proud of the beaded jewelry I make. I’ve actually have sold things, and do special orders, especially for mother’s bracelets and couples bracelets.


Lee Ann L. March 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

My proudest accomplishment is making everyday bread and succeeding. Most of my homemade goodies tend to be either okay or flops. But, this was great!

And seriously? Bees? How awesome is that? It’s always been a dream of mine to have/raise bees and make honey since I was a little kid and my Dad had several beehives.

Thanks for a chance to win!


Rory March 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I’ve made homemade yogurt and am very interested in keeping bees so that I have homemade honey to go along with the yogurt.


Stephanie C March 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

We consistently make homemade bread, from the bread book Kneadlessly Simple. It’s such a comfort to smell fresh baking bread and this book makes it really easy! My husband just took over our neighbors beehives, so it would be awesome to win this book!


rosa rugosa March 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Can’t cook or sew, but I sure can “make” flowers. And flowers love bees, and bees love flowers. And we do love our bees 🙂


Kt March 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm

My best homemade goodies are my granola and yogurt.

My nine year old is taking two beekeeping classes this summer and this book would be great to have in our house!


Donna March 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

My proudest cooking moment happened recently when my family declared my homemade pizza to be better than the pizza we had been eating from the local gourmet pizza shop. And tonight they gave me 5 stars for my homemade from scratch chicken pot pie.

I love Ashley’s canning and preserving book. Her book is the reason I started canning produce last summer.


Lynda March 25, 2011 at 8:21 pm

My PROUDEST homemade goodies are my five children: Oldest D: 40, Middle D 37, Oldest S 35, Youngest D 33 and Youngest S 29. And why would I want a Bee Book: because last year I started raising Bees and they are the most fun I’ve had since the above kiddies were little!


Sandi March 25, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I’m really proud of the yogurt I make as well as homemade bread. I’ve been making almost everything we eat from scratch these days – it’s very satisfying and delicious!

Bee keeping is on my wish list so this book would really help move that dream along!


Martha March 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I make excellent biscuits, lemon bars, brownies and a very good chili. I can also make a good granola, though I haven’t done it lately.
We are big honey eaters in this family and would love to keep bees….


Practical Parsimony March 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm

My homemade goodies of which I am the proudest are my three children. Goodies that they loved were my pumpkin bread and chocolate pound cake. My pride and joy of things I made are thousands of sewing projects for my family and original designs over the years.


Carissa March 26, 2011 at 6:39 am

I am proudest lately of the adorable baby sweaters I’ve been making for my new niece. 🙂


Dmarie March 26, 2011 at 8:43 am

maybe I should be proudest of the things that are hard to make but actually I am proudest when I find an incredibly easy recipe that I’ll love to make over and over even when I don’t feel like doing a blessed thing! For supper tonight, we’ll have a Four Bean Salad that is one of those kinds of recipes that makes my chest swell. –yeah, guess I’m easily pleased with myself 😉


Annie March 26, 2011 at 9:17 am

Homegrown veggies! I can’t wait for the spring to turn the soil and get the seeds into the ground and then when everything is ripe and I get to make meals out of food I grew myself. So satisfying!


Scott March 26, 2011 at 9:39 am

I started grinding my own wheat and making all my bread this year. Mmm delicious.


Duhlina March 26, 2011 at 10:49 am

I grow blueberries and grapes and my mom makes THE best jam EVER from them. Ironically, I JUST ordered bees and a hive this week and will be making my maiden voyage into beekeeping this year so this book would sure come in handy!


Heidi Moretz March 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I bake all the time and I must say it does make me proud when my boys come home from school and tell me their home made desserts are the envy of their friends!


ayesha March 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I have finally mastered making my own pizza base. I mix it up on the weekend and then leave it in the fridge for a week or two (until we are ready to bake it). It is fabulous! And cheap!


Karen March 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I made practically everyone on my Christmas list this year an explosion scrapbook – they are so cute! When you open them up, they literally explode with pictures in front of you! I’ve made baby scrapbooks as gifts this way, as well. Everyone loves a homemade gift!


Julie March 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I would love this! We live on a peach orchard and want to get bees for honey. I love to can my peaches and lots of other goodies from our area!


Jenny March 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I make all our yogurt, granola, bread, and I home pasteurize our milk. We also raise our own chickens for eggs and have a massive garden! Hope to win – we’d love to add in bees.


Pam G March 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm

My husband’s dad always had bees, and he would love to try his hand at beekeeping too.


lucy March 27, 2011 at 7:32 am

We inherited a bee box at our new house … it would be great to have this book as a resource to help us!!!


fae March 27, 2011 at 8:17 am

Proudest? I’m not sure. At the moment, I’m ridiculously proud of my new raised garden beds, because I honestly didn’t think I would be physically capable of getting them put up and filled in a day, even with help.

I’m also pretty proud of that kiwi-lime jam recipe I figured out, and my whole cabinet of preserves and pickles.


Issa March 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

I inherited a bee hive with my house, and I’d love some more guidance on becoming a beekeeper. I’m working on baby #1 right now, so I think that’s going to be my homemade favorite! 🙂


Jenn March 27, 2011 at 11:20 am

While I don’t have room for a hive quite yet, one of my goals is to move to a place where I can have one very soon. I’d love to make some of my own honey, but more importantly, I’ve become concerned about the declining bee population, and would love to get started on some of my own hives as something that would hopefully do a small bit to improve the situation


Jessica M March 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I’m ridiculously proud of my indoor vermicomposting system. I’ve been composting all of my food waste and making compost in my Brooklyn apartment since 2002 and I am still way too happy every time I feed the worms and harvest the compost.


Laura March 28, 2011 at 1:26 am

Simple, but my homemade pop-tarts. They are crazy delicious, a quick breakfast, and keep in the freezer so I can bake a ton and keep them forever :]


Pam K March 28, 2011 at 3:27 am

I have moved in my 60s from the suburbs to the country hoping to go from a hobby of gardening and a commitment to shopping locally to raising most of my own food and participating in a true local economy. Bee! I do love honey and the sound of bees humming. I live in the land of maple syrup but sometimes only honey will do!


Jessica Wolk-Stanley March 28, 2011 at 8:33 am

I am very interested in keeping bees! Choose me!


Kristin B March 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

Ashley English is my hero! Is there anything she can’t do well?? I’d love to read her book on bees!


Gregg Everhart March 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I make lavendar wands each spring. I grow several varieties with nice long stems and find counting out groups of 16, stripping the leaves off and then weaving them together with ribbon to be a relaxing task that can be done during family gatherings, listening to news, etc. They are great gifts to friends and family. Since I always make more than needed, I donate the excess to organizations that have gift shops so they raise some extra money.


Betty March 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

After being “stuck” with loads of green tomatoes last summer (remember how not sunny it was!), I decided to make green tomato salsa. It was delish! This year, I might not let lots of my tomatoes get ripe.


Katie March 29, 2011 at 6:16 am

I started keeping chickens last year and I’ve just started planting my first backyard garden. I’d love to try my hand at bees!


Michelle aka The Urban Hausfrau March 29, 2011 at 7:45 am

Keeping chickens was HUGE for us. I learned a lot about pets vs. backyard egg production.

Canning jam and sharing with friends has also been gratifying. My favorite to make and give is strawberry rhubarb. Just like pie on toast!


Christine C. March 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Slipping in right before the deadline! I love Ashley’s website and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her beekeeping book! As far as homemade goodies: I am proud of the eggs my chickens lay, and the quilts I sew for our beds, to keep us toasty warm during the hostile New England winters!


Stephanie S March 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Last year I tried jelly making for the first time. My friend Tara and I made Fireweed Jelly. Honestly, I think I was more amazed and infatuated with the color of it. (The blooms on fireweed are this beautiful, surreal purplish pink color, and the plant covers huge meadows in Juneau.) The final product looked more like something that would blow up buildings than something edible….like edible Sterno, maybe. But it tasted great and was super pretty in the little jars! Can’t wait to try it again this year.


AMY March 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Very excited about the first time I canned 3 cases of peaches and made 20 quarts of applesauce BY MYSELF:)


Doug March 29, 2011 at 6:06 pm

My new bee nucs will be arriving mid-April. I am so excited and this book would be the perfect compliment to all the reading I have been doing in preparation for my bees.


camille t March 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Ahhhhh, bees. Would love to learn these skills. Ashley is a great teacher.


Nicholas March 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I am always so proud of the jams and jellies I make throughout the summer and give out at the holidays.


Yazira March 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Bees and honey have been on my list for a while! Thanks!


Bethany Nash March 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

My apple crisp is lovely! 🙂 We always freeze plenty of homemade apple pie filling, so we can have apple crisp year round… never quite as good as when the apples come fresh from the tree, but still good. 🙂


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