The Bee Dept.

They say you can never be “too…this, or too that….” but I say: you can never have too many hobbies!

I tried raising bees two summers ago and after a great start, they all suddenly died that fall. I didn’t  know what happened & I was devastated!  An experienced beekeeper was kind enough to come and look over the situation, but he couldn’t figure out what happened either. There is a bee population decline around the world as most people know by now, and I think raising bees may be a very important hobby to keep working at.

And so I am trying again….and I am excited! I love bees very much. Not just that they provide honey for us (which of course goes really well with bagels :)) but that their culture is so cohesive, and so hard-working! What an inspiration.

Here is what my new little bee colony kept busy with this month:

After their journey via USPS to my home, the bees left their crate and settled into my topbar beehive so they could be by their queen. She came in her own teeny box with a couple attendents, and I placed her in my hive which drew the surviving crated bees inside.

First, they need to check out their new digs and they like to cover the entrance to their new home with some kind of substance, as they are doing above right.

Stay Tuned!


Canadian Connections

My father was born in Consort Alberta, and raised on a homestead near Arlee, Saskatchewan.  He was the oldest boy of 11 children.

His parents had left the Caucaus region of  Russia in the early 1900’s  to find a new life in North America, and so my Russian/Canadian connection starts back there.

When he was in his early twenties, my dad’s family moved eastward.  They settled into a much easier life in Niagara Falls, Ontario, leaving behind the rugged  life of the western Canadian prairie.

I inherited many things from my father:  a love of the plains,  cowboys and horses, a passion for building things, and especially his artistic eye, and a “make-d0” frontier spirit.

Even as I make decisions about bread-making I can see this heritage manifesting itself.  There was no doubt from the get-go, that  I needed to make bread the old way. From the numerous wood-fired bread oven styles recorded, I chose to build the 700 year old French oven design, which found its New World resolution in the Quebec clay ovens of Eastern Canada.

And now, as I am deciding which of my all-white bread recipes to offer here at Piety Hill Bakery, I have chosen a recipe passed down from a Canadian woman who was born, raised, and baked bread in a Far North Canadian fishing village some  50 years ago.  She was not my grandmother, but I feel it apropos to call it:  Grandmother’s White Bread.

The recipe is almost exactly like the historic “Sally Lunn”  bread,  much loved by colonial Virginia settlers, except that it does not include eggs.  Better for us all, I figure—less cholesterol.  Old World meets New World!!

available as a pan bread or a boule

Thank you for buying our breads.  They are currently available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  If we have enough orders we bake in our brick oven, if we have just a few, we bake indoors in our traditional electric oven.  We are  always learning!  Mis-steps are the mistress of learning 🙂 

Call in your order the night before (by 8 pm) at: (618) 581-3480  Or email us at    

PS.  Thank you for carrying on the Old  World traditions. If your power (or ours) is down, or your computer or phone not working, simply drop off your order in our mailbox.  We will still be baking .

Demonstrations of our wood-fired oven are available at no charge to groups such as Girl-Scouts, Boy-Scouts, DVBS, etc.  Give us a call!



  (Hi Janet! )


2010 in review.

Thank you so much friends, for visiting our Piety Hill blog in 2010. We’re working on getting bread out this new year, 2011!  The bagels are still coming  to you warm but they are lonely for company! 😀

I am appreciative of all the visits! Here is what WordPress told me about the activity on this blog:  ————————————————————————–

“The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 9 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 14 posts. There were 9 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 9mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 31st with 269 views. The most popular post that day was Hearth Oven.”


I am currently learning how to bake in a Wood-Fired Oven.  It’s a college-education for sure!

Christmas Time is Here

It’s true.  Some bagels got burned, some orders were overlooked or I mixed them up, but you were such Awesome Customers!!!

   Thank you for your support and kindness as we have worked to build our small business.  We are working to serve you better all the the time.  Couldn’t do it without YOU~!  Blessings.  

Lydia/Piety Hill Bakery

Greenville, Illinois


I’m so excited!

My brick oven is 95% done and drying out for a few more days. This week I will build small fires in it to cure the mortar, and next week I can begin to use it to bake bread!! Did I say I was excited??

If you are in Greenville, please visit our Piety Hill Bakery oven next weekend. The trolley will be stopping by our homestead on Friday, November 26 during Greenville’s
Come Home for Christmas Celebration.

Inside of me is that 10 year old girl scout, just bursting to make fire from almost nothing. Come learn how to roast chestnuts on an open fire with us! I’ve never done that, have you? All advice welcome!!

Hometown Proud

I am very excited for the Greenville College woman’s Volleyball team! 

This past weekend they won the SLIAC college Conference meet and are now eligible to move into the 2010 NCAA Tournament field. ” The Lady Panthers qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history after winning the SLIAC tournament on Saturday.”

I would like to imagine that the Piety Hill Bagels their coach ordered for them as they headed out on numerous early morning meets contributed a wholesome energy which helped them to gain a competitive edge  😀

Bagels are in truth a very good source of energy!  They are high in carbs, high in protein, and yet very low in fats.  I recommend them highly for a heart-healthy diet too

BEST of LUCK GC GIRLS VOLLEYBALL!  We’ve got our eye on you.


All Hallow’s Eve looms so large!  We feel it in the air, right?    October is one of my favorite months of the year, and I bet it might be one of yours too. I hear people talking about it all around me.  We sense its profound significance.

In honor of this magical month of change, decline and romance,  Piety Hill Bakery now has available from October 6th – November 6th traditional “Day of the Dead” bread.  Check out our Holiday Bread History for information about the meaning of this specialty bread.

It is sweet, delicious, and uniquely shaped;  full of  rich butter, eggs,  touches of orange zest, lemon zest, cinnamon and anise. Feed it to your children, your family or friends, in honor of all that is beautiful that is passing away, and will return again.

Your DAY OF THE DEAD  bread will arrive with 3 Bone shaped loaves and one Skull shaped bun.