Honey Bee Propolis

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Bee Propolis

Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture made by honey bees by mixing saliva and beeswax with botanical sources like tree sap.


David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!




Harvesting Honey Bee Propolis

by David Proctor

 August 11, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

The propolis at one time was just considered a nuisance since it can make it laborious to get in the hive and do an inspection or to extract honey.


Hive Frames

Hive Frames


A few reasons the bees go to so much trouble to make propolis is that they use it to reduce the entrance into the hive, to make it more defensible, they use it to seal cracks or other openings, bees prefer a dark hive, and propolis is used by the bees medicinally.
Propolis is one of the most powerful antimicrobial substances found in nature.

Not only do bees use it as a building material but also use it to sterilize and disinfect the beehive.


Bee Comb

Bee Comb


It has been found that the typical composition tends to have an approximate “45-55% resins, 25-35% waxes and fatty acids, 10% essential oils and aromatic compounds (phenolics), which includes vanillin and gives the propolis the vanilla-like smell and 5% pollen.”

An additional 5% of the makeup of propolis is “bioflavonoids known as Vitamin P and citrin”.

A few other compounds have not even been able to be identified yet by researchers.

Next are some methods to collect and process propolis.

Traps can be used that are thin plastic sheets with thin slits and placed in the hive instead of the inner cover.

Bees will fill the gaps in with propolis.

This can be removed from the trap by putting it in a plastic bag and placing it in a freezer for a few hours.

When taken out, the trap can be twisted or banged on the table while in the plastic bag and most of the propolis will fall down into the bag.

You can use the propolis in this form if you would like.

It can be chewed like gum to help with sore throats.

Propolis can also be collected by catching the hive scraping when cleaning out the honey supers during the honey harvest.


Propolis In Hive

Propolis In Hive


Unlike propolis collected from a trap, hive scraping will tend to have other things in it like beeswax, wood, bee parts, etc.

One way the contaminants can be removed from the propolis is by soaking the scraping in a bucket of water.

Most of the contaminants will float and can be removed.

Another way to clean propolis hive scraping is to place the scraping in an oven-proof container and cover it with two to three inches of water.

Place in oven at 200 degrees and bake for two hours, stirring often.

The melted wax and other pieces will float and the propolis will stick to the bottom of the container.

Let cool and pour off the water with the unwanted materials in it and now you have just the propolis on the bottom.

Place the pan in the freezer and when the propolis is brittle it can be removed by chipping it out of the container.

If you want to make a tincture, use the highest quality of grain alcohol, pure alcohol or ethyl alcohol, or any food-grade alcohol that is at least 130 proof (65% alcohol).

Never use rubbing alcohol.

Grind the propolis into a powder to give it more surface area for the alcohol, and place alcohol and propolis into a water-tight container, seal, and shake briefly.

Shaking should be repeated once or twice a day for over one or two weeks.

The next step is to filter the extract through a paper filter or fine cloth.

The result will be a clear liquid, free of particles and dark brown or reddish in color. This can now be bottled.

To make a tincture without alcohol, the propolis can be soaked in water or boiling it in water.

When boiling some of the aromatics may be lost, but this still has and proves to be a powerful bactericidal and fungicidal extract.

An oil extract of propolis may be obtained by filling a pot with propolis and any food-grade oil like coconut oil or even butter.

The contents of the pan are gently heated in a water bath and continually stirred for about ten minutes.

The resulting extract can be filtered and stored in sealed containers in the dark.

Even though the alcohol process results in the most potent extract, it does not mean it will be the best for the use that you need it for.

You should never use an alcohol extract around your eyes and should not be used on individuals with sensitivity to alcohol.

As you can see, the processing of propolis is not very difficult and can be used for many treatments for various ailments.





Honey bees make amazing products besides just honey.

 Check It Out!

How to make a Propolis Tincture. 7:22
Apr 26, 2020
Innisfil Creek Honey

Quick Tip


Health Benefits



Conrad, Ross. “Processing Propolis: Part 1.” Bee Culture –, 11 Aug 2022, www.beeculture.com/processing-propolis-part-1/.

Everything You Need To Know About Bee Propolis – Comvita USA, www.comvita.com/blog-article/everything-you-need-to-know-about-propolis/W5200215. 11 Aug 2022

“Propolis.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Aug 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis.


Posted in Apiary, Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: , , ,

Homestead Stacked Enterprises

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 


Industrialized farming and ranching use single-purpose production models and most end up being dependent on government subsidies. Nature strives to never use single-use acreage.


David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!




Stacking Complementary Enterprises

by David Proctor

 August 4, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

I have always tried to think of how to have more than one type of animal, plant, and source of income on the land.

With the idea of using synergistic enterprises that can be stacked while utilizing the resources that you have at hand; it is possible to take a liability from one and make it an asset to another.

Case in point. When I tried my hand at aquaponics, I was able to have a fish tank that circulated water to grow herbs on the top lid of the tank.


Kitchen Table Aquaponics

Kitchen Table Aquaponics


This was taking the byproduct from the fish to fertilize the plants.

Try to imagine what you want to do as a rancher, farmer, or gardener and think of the operation in circles, so the end of one enterprise helps form another one.

As an example, the very center might be raising rabbits.

The rabbits are housed above the ground.

The rabbit droppings and urine fall to the ground where chickens can scratch through the waste and aerate the bedding.


"Raken House" (Rabbit/Chicken)

“Raken House” (Rabbit/Chicken)


The chickens ate the bugs and dropped food, which allows for a much cleaner environment and no smells from the area.

This could all take place in a hoop house where later vegetables could be grown from the rich fertilizer left by the rabbits and chickens

Try and find that in an industrial commercial rabbit or chicken operation.

This will keep disease problems away that normal commercial operations have to deal with.

Pathogens tend to thrive in monocultures but are not near the threat when multiple species are together or follow each other in land use.

Polyface farm uses this principle extensively.

They use managed intensive grazing with cattle through their fields and the cows are followed by chickens to break up the cow patties and eat the fly larva.


Managed Grazing of Cows

Managed Grazing of Cows


They are achieving income from cattle, then eggs from chickens that are in the egg-mobile, and then from chickens that are pastured for meat.


Egg Mobile

Egg Mobile


Pastured Poultry

Pastured Poultry


Sheep and goats are brought in also to complement the grazing.

Having multispecies go through a field in this manner helps break the pathogen cycle that is so prevalent when just one species stays in the same location.

Another benefit is a huge reduction in flies and ammonia smell that is so prevalent on most farms and ranches.

When we think of these synergies, this is what permaculture tries to achieve.


Permaculture Zones 0-5

Permaculture Zones 0-5


One plant is used at a certain time and place that will complement its neighboring plants or future plants to follow.

The principal ideas in permaculture can be applied to plants, animals, and a combination of them.

You can have fruit trees that provide nectar and pollen for bees.

When the fruit drops, chickens or pigs could be placed underneath the trees to eat the fruit and also fertilize the orchard.

Another example that is more modern-day is Agrivoltaics, where sheep are used to graze under solar panels.
This allows revenue from electricity, wool, and meat, and saves on using petroleum products and herbicides to maintain vegetation growth.





If you have horses in a barn, the hay and manure can be collected to compost anaerobically and produce methane as a fuel for energy.

The fertilizer can then be composted aerobically and then used for worm beds.

This in turn would make a very good fertilizer to be used for the garden or crops, plus the worms can be used as a protein feed for chickens or sold as bait for fishing.

If you stop and think about it, why would you have just one type of anything?

Having just one type of anything just attracts pests and disease.

This is a way to fully utilize every foot and acre at our disposal and achieve a greater, cleaner, and healthier harvest.

Check It Out!

What is Permaculture? By Bill Mollison, David Holmgren 4:16
Oct 18, 2017

Quick Tip


One Chicken


Salatin, Joel. You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farm Enterprise. Polyface, 1998.


Posted in Animal Husbandry, Apiary, Chickens, fish, Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Ducks vs Chickens

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Urban Ducks

Most people think of chickens for the backyard, even though our web-footed friends can produce more eggs for a longer period of time, the male duck doesn’t crow, and they love to eat slugs among other yard pests. The disadvantages of raising ducks, still trying to find one.


David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!




Raising Ducks vs Chickens

by David Proctor

 July 28, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

Raising any animal in a suburban setting can be challenging.

First, you have to see if they are even allowed and if so, do they require a permit.

The next step is to put up a fence so they do not become an easy meal for the neighbor’s dog.

But once these issues are taken care of, the rest is not hard.

Ducks do not require nesting boxes, they do not roost, and the male duck doesn’t crow.

They still quack, and some breeds are noisier than others but are generally not that loud.

Ducks are social, so you should look at having at least two.

Some companies won’t send fewer than two or three when they ship them.

They do live for 7+ years so keep that in mind.

The laying duck needs about three square feet of floor space per duck.

To keep the ducks corralled, it is best to put up a poultry fence that is 4’ high, and depending on how many ducks, will determine the area to fence off.


Ducks Watering Shade & Poultry Netting

Ducks Watering Shade & Poultry Netting


If you have a big enough yard, you may want to confine how much room you fence off and move them regularly.

This will allow the grass to grow back and the ducks to have an area that is not barren and has a fresh supply of bugs.

Figuring out which breed of duck you get will depend on what you want from the duck.

If the need is just for eggs then the Khaki Campbell, Silver Appleyard, or Welsh Harlequin do well.

Individual females have been known to produce 360 or more eggs in a year, although flock averages are nearer to 275 to 325.

Good foragers include Ancona, Cayuga Runner, or Magpie ducks.

They are all super active and will be best for weed and bug control.

Duck eggs come in a few colors; white, cream, pale green, or black.

Not the best for Easter egg baskets.

Any breed of duck will lay delicious, rich eggs, and also provide lots of nutrient-rich fertilizer in the form of manure.

What about water, is a pond needed?


Ducks Swimming In Pond

Ducks Swimming In Pond


The answer is no.

The ducks would love to have a kiddie pool to play in but this is not required to remain healthy.

They do need about four to six inches of freshwater to dip their heads in and clean their bills and eyes.

Both the number and size of eggs will suffer if birds are frequently allowed to go thirsty.

To prevent unsanitary mud holes from developing around the watering area, it’s advantageous to place all watering receptacles on wire-covered platforms or locate them on the outside of the pen where the birds must reach through fencing to drink.
Ducks can eat the same feed as what you give chickens.

To keep ducks laying the year around, they must be supplied with an adequate amount of laying feed that provides a minimum of 15 to 16 percent crude protein.

Do not feed ducks chicken laying rations that are medicated.

To reduce waste, pellets are preferred.

Fine, powdery feeds should be avoided.

The feed can be left in front of the birds at all times in a trough or hopper feeder, or it can be given twice daily in quantities that the ducks will clean up in 10 to 15 minutes.


Ducks At Polyface Farm

Ducks At Polyface Farm


The first method ensures that the ducks are never deprived of feed, while the second system helps prevent feed loss to rodents and encourages the fowl to forage during the day.

To produce mild-flavored eggs, feed containing marine products should not be utilized.

Dr. George Arscott, formerly head of the Oregon State University Poultry Science Department, also urges that cottonseed meal not be used in breeding or laying rations since this protein supplement contains a toxin that can reduce hatchability and produce strange coloration in eggs, especially if the eggs are stored several weeks before being eaten.

You might also want to keep in mind that feedstuffs such as corn and dehydrated or fresh greens cause bright-colored yolks, and whole wheat, oats, and barley to result in pale yolks.

While producing, ducks are very sensitive to sudden changes in their diets.

To avoid throwing your birds into a premature molt and drastically reducing egg production, it’s wise to never change feeds while ducks are laying.

If the brand or type of feed you’ve been using must be altered, do so gradually, preferably over a span of at least a week or 10 days.

With their well-oiled feathers and a thick coating of down, ducks are resistant to cold and wet weather.

For ducks in general, a windbreak that is bedded on the protected side with dry litter usually provides sufficient protection in areas where temperatures drop to zero degrees.

For laying ducks, they will do better if they are housed at nighttime.

The duck house can be a simple shed-like structure, approximately three feet tall, and does not require raised nests, perches, and dropping pits.

When ducks are housed only at night, a minimum of three to five square feet of floor space per duck is recommended.

If you anticipate keeping your ducks inside continuously during severe weather, providing each bird with eight to fifteen square feet helps keep the bedding dry and sanitary.

For consistent winter egg production, ducks, like chickens, must be exposed to a minimum of thirteen to fourteen hours of light daily.

Day length is extremely important since it is the photoperiod that automatically turns the reproductive organs of poultry on and off.

One 25W clear or white bulb located five to six feet above the floor should do.

To purchase ducks, Metzer Farms sells ducklings.

They are the largest source of ducklings in North America.

They will ship as few as two or three ducklings almost year-round.

You can even find them on Craig’s list.

The nice them about baby ducks or ducklings, is they aren’t susceptible to Coccidiosis like baby chicks are, so they don’t need medicated feed.

Ducklings do need a bit more niacin than chicks do.

Add a sprinkle of Brewer’s yeast over their feed and also add some raw rolled oats to cut the protein levels so the ducks don’t grow too fast and have leg problems.

Ducklings will need to be kept in the house or shed under a heat lamp for the first 6-8 weeks before they can go outside, so be sure you have a brooder set up that is safe for ducklings before they can arrive home.

Even if you get an older duck or rescue duck, they will often lay well for 5-6 years, often several years past your average chicken.

Just remember they are social and it is best to get two and preferably three, as a starter flock.


Ducks Are Social

Ducks Are Social


As you can see, I had trouble finding the downside of having ducks. Ducks produce eggs, keep the bugs down in the yard, are fun to watch, and live for a long time with few requirements and sometimes less than most other critters on your urban farm.

Check It Out!

“No Messy Ducks!” – How to Raise CLEAN Ducks 8:24

The Fit Farmer – Mike Dickson

Quick Tip


Ducks vs Chickens

Ducks vs Chickens


Holderread, Dave. “How to Raise Ducks in Your Backyard | Backyard Poultry.” Countryside Network, Backyard Poultry, 28 July. 2022, countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/poultry-poultry/how-to-raise-ducks-in-your-backyard/.

Steele, Lisa. “A Quick Guide to Buying Ducks.” Countryside Network, 28 July. 2022, countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/poultry-poultry/a-quick-guide-to-buying-ducks/.

Fontanes, Lori. “A Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Ducks in Suburbia.” Countryside Network, 28 July. 2022 countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/poultry-poultry/a_beginners_guide_keeping-ducks_in_suburbia/.

Steele, Lisa. “Common Duck Diseases – Countryside Network .” Countryside Network, 28 July. 2022, countrysidenetwork.com/daily/poultry/feed-health/common-duck-diseases/

Posted in Animal Husbandry, Chickens, Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues Tagged with: ,

Poison Ivy Pills

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Poison Ivy Prevention & Treatment

Going camping and or hiking? This article will help you with the prevention and treatment of poison ivy.


David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!




Homeopathic Treatment – Poison Ivy

by David Proctor

 July 21, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

Poison Ivy as defined by WikieToxicodendron radicans, commonly known as eastern poison ivy or poison ivy, is a poisonous Asian and North American flowering plant that is well known for causing an itching, irritating, and sometimes painful rash in most people who touch it, caused by urushiol, a clear liquid compound in the plant’s sap.


Poison Plants

Poison Plants


I have always loved being outdoors, except when I come across poison ivy. 

When Molly and I would go camping or canoeing it would seem like I had a poison ivy magnet attached to me. 


Hiking Trail Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Trail Shenandoah National Park


Molly was unaffected by poison ivy, but that was not the case with me. 

Once I got the itch, it was with me for a long time. 

I can remember when I was young and my grandma would try Ivy Dry and Calamine Lotion. 

All they would do is color my skin but little else. 

I suppose you can go to a doctor and get a shot, they have shots for everything, but I didn’t grow up going to a doctor unless I was about on my death bed sick. 

So long story short, I get poison ivy rash when I come into contact with the plant.

One of the guys I worked with told me about a homeopathic treatment he bought from a downtown drug store called Rhus Tox Poison Ivy Pills


Rhus Tox


I had never heard of taking a pill to help cure my symptoms, but in my case, they even help prevent getting poison ivy rash.

I take them when I know I may be out in an area that has poison ivy. 

This works for me but this is not meant to serve as medical advice for anyone. 

There are various ways to treat poison ivy and I would recommend going to a doctor and getting a professional opinion and treatment.

The best medicine is to know what it looks like and avoid the plant altogether.  I seem to get the worst cases when I have been out mowing or weed-eating. 

Let’s start by knowing what the plant looks like.  

Taken from http://www.poison-ivy.org/  the pictures and text will tell you better than myself what to look for:

“This is about Eastern Poison ivy, which is the big bad guy. It grows on the ground, climbs, and sometimes as a shrub”.

“This is the plant that causes most of the misery since it grows on nearly every roadside, path, pond, stream, and beach from the Midwest through to the east coast.”


Poison Ivy Traits

Poison Ivy Traits


“Here is your basic chart of things you CAN count on with poison ivy.

If you know that nothing with thorns or 5 leaves in a group can be poison ivy, you’re getting there.” 

“If you live where this grows, and you plan to do more with your life than hiding under the covers, you should learn to recognize this plant, in all seasons and growth forms.”
I have personally had very good results with Rhus Tox.

However, in my research, I found a video which is about a gentleman that found a very commonsense way of not getting the rash from poison ivy even if your skin has been exposed to the toxin. 

If you already have poison ivy or you will be around the plant, you are now armed (hopefully without a rash) with the knowledge of prevention and treatment.

Check It Out!

How to never have a serious poison ivy rash again 5:13
Extreme Deer Habitat

Quick Tip


If you have any of the following, go to the emergency room right away:

  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • The rash covers most of your body.
  • You have many rashes or blisters.
  • You experience swelling, especially if an eyelid swells shut.
  • The rash develops anywhere on your face or genitals.
  • Much of your skin itches or nothing seems to ease the itch.


“The Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac Site.” The Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2022.

“Toxicodendron Radicans.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 July 2022.

“Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac.” American Academy of Dermatology. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2022.


Posted in Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: ,

Homemade Salsa

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Some Like It Hot

We are into July and now is a good time to make salsa.

Even if you don’t have a garden you can get ingredients at your local Farmers Market.

Some like it hot and some not, salsa that is.



David Proctor


From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!




Making Homemade Salsa

by David Proctor

 July 14, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

With the available fresh herbs and vegetables, it is time to bring out some recipes to put them to work. 

While at our local farmer’s market, at one of my stops, a savvy young man from Blenheim Organic Gardens, was selling vegetables selected to make fresh salsa all in one container. 

I thought why not, even though I have never made salsa before, I wanted to give it a try. 

A recipe was placed in the container along with the vegetable that read:

Fresh Salsa
 Make fresh salsa by:

  • Dicing various colored tomatoes
  • Add chopped onion, garlic & hot pepper
  • Season with sea salt, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a touch of sugar
  • Optional ingredients: cilantro & or fresh lime juice

Sounds easy enough except I do not have a food processor so the blender will have to do.

I asked Laurie Calloway, what I should do since she helps provide recipe articles for the magazine, her experience is way beyond mine. 

Laurie suggested “spread the vegetables out on a tray like in this picture.

I didn’t put oil on them, although I sprayed the sheet with PAM first.


Salsa Spread


I roasted them at 425 degrees until the skins crack and slightly char.

Then, I let them cool, then blend together in a blender.”

Now that doesn’t sound too bad.  

I decided to give it a try.


Box of Ingredients











This is what I had to start with. 


Before the Dicing


I spread the vegetables out on the table to see just what I had.  

I thought about adding to them, then decided it would be best to just use what was in the container so I could evaluate what I had purchased.


A Quick Rinse


A quick rinse before the cutting board.




I did remove the seeds and core of the jalapeno pepper. 

I am not able to eat very spicy food even though Molly did her best to change that over the years, I still can’t eat as spicy as some. 

Some like it hot and some not

I was worried that just the one might make it too hot, but that was not the case.


Cookie Sheet OF Veggies


I quartered the larger tomatoes and diced the jalapeno, onion, and garlic. 

Then sprayed the foil-lined cookie sheet with a no-stick cooking spray and spread the vegetables out on the sheet. 

I had the oven preheated to 425F.


Slightly Charred


For the skins to start to wrinkle took about 10 minutes at 425F.


Garlic, Jalapeno, Onion


I started blending with the garlic, jalapeno, and green onion. 




Tomatoes and more tomatoes.




Almost done and the blender is working fine.


Finished Product


I didn’t add any other ingredients such as sea salt, vinegar, or other things you might ordinarily add. 

I just wanted to see how the salsa tasted on its own. 

If I do say so myself, not bad for the first time.

Check It Out!

AUTHENTIC MEXICAN SALSA recipe | THE BEST SALSA EVER | RED salsa recipe | AMAZING salsa recipe

Quick Tip


Step-by-step water process canning tips for beginners.:

If you would like to read more on this topic, click the link to Urban Farm Lifestyle  Volume 1 Issue 12 Preserving The Summer




Posted in Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants, Recipes Tagged with: , ,

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