It’s Honey Time again

I went back through some of my old photos.  We’ve evolved for sure over the last 4 years of bee keeping.

It’s time to go get the honey.  I hope we have a good harvest.

It’s amazing how honey can be so different, from the light and sweet to the dark and smokey.

Bees are pretty cool.

Honey and little Visitors

Last weekend the bees were in a great mood, even though we snagged about 4 frames of honey from them.

Last night, I mashed and smashed the comb and extracted the honey.

It’s some of the darkest and thickest honey we’ve collected yet.  We ended up with 8 pounds total. That’s not too terrible, 2 pounds per frame.  Hopefully we will have some more waiting for us in the next couple of weeks.

I set the empty honey frames outside, as they were a stick mess, along with the rest of the kitchen.

This morning, I had some little visitors cleaning up my frames.  Sorry for those of you who don’t iPhone.  I don’t know if you will be able to see it or not.

It’s our first really cool day in months.  I was a little sad not to be out at the bee yard, and seeing what my girls were up to.  These ladies are local to our neighborhood and were kind enough to come by and clean up for me.

So I got some bee time in, which made me smile.  Sweet little bees.

Today I’m grateful for mellow sunshine, cooler weather, productive bees, and a chance to get some honey.

Beautiful day in the bee yard

The sun was mellow, but the heat was inescapable. 


The girls were really busy bring in the golden rod nectar and pollen.


Then I got a special treat.

I got to see a book from 1901 on bee keeping.  It is so cool!


It is so beautifully written, and the photos and illustrations are magnificent.  

What a great treat to hold this piece of history in my hands.

Our first few frames of honey were plucked up this weekend.  So we will be getting sticky putting that goodness into jars.

Have a great week!

Have or Had

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Image credit:  Gratitudehabitat.com

 

There is something about 2 am.  I get these unusual sparks of energy.  Sometimes creativity comes to tap me on the shoulder, and my mind is off and running.

We spent a hot, muggy, Saturday in the Bee yard.  In the heat, you can feel the blood pulsing through your veins, every heart beat seems like a bass drum banging in my chest.  My ears thrum with the pressure, as the sweat pours down my face, neck, back, and chest.

I appreciate cool water, and cool breezes.

The heat doesn’t bother the bees.  They seem more active than ever.  Each hive has a flurry of activity.  A steady stream of bees landing on the front porch, and taking off.

Bright yellow and white pollen dots their back legs, and fills their pollen baskets.

Prying open the inner cover of The Hive.  (The one where we placed our big swarm captured last spring.)  I have a huge smile on my face.  I look up at my husband and say, “Can you smell the Honey?”

The whole hive is perfumed with the scent of honey.  Pulling frames, we can see how busy these girls have been, and that the recent rains have given them a mid summer opportunity to pack away some sweet nectar.

Riding home from the bee work, sweaty, dirty, and tired.  It’s a good tired.

I’m grateful for the strength and health to work the bees.

I’m grateful for the rain that has brought out natural forage for them.

I’m grateful for a little piece of property where we can get away from the hustle-bustle, and hang out with little critters who make honey.

 

Summer honey tasting 


With my favorite gal pals in tow, I foisted off some of my honey in a little luncheon party.

From left to right, our first, second, and third honey harvests this year.  Each having its own color, and special flavor.

The first, very sweet “Texas White” honey, From the earliest wild flowers harvested in Mid April.

The second, darker, smokier honey, most likely influenced by the Yaupon and Mesquite blooming, harvested in May.

The third, a light, but deeply flavored honey that when I held it to the top of my pallet and breathed, I got the fragrance of the hive.  The later wild flowers and clover probably at work here.


It gave me such a profound sense of satisfaction and pleasure to put together the nosches for this gathering.

I baked lemon scones, wrapped Prociutto around melon, added strawberries, cheeses, crackers, and (not pictured) smoked sausage and cantaloupe bites.

The second pull of honey was unanimously voted best with the strawberries and sausage.  Number three won with the blue cheese, and the scones.  Number one, didn’t win any prizes, but was considered very nice with the scones and butter.

We had a little salad to cleanse the palate.


To finish off the meal, I grilled peaches on the stovetop, and those went great with all three offerings.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of our Prosecco punch.  But I’ll give you the recipe.

  1. 1 Bottle Prosecco chilled
  2. 1 cup Deep Eddy (or your favorite) lemon vodka chilled
  3. 1 cup simple syrup ( I used my number 1 honey in mine. 1/2 water, 1/2 honey stir)
  4. 2 cups watermelon juice.  Purée fresh watermelon in a blender, strain well.  Chill.

Combine all in a pitcher, give it a stir.  

If you want it a little sweeter, add more simple syrup.

The preparing a meal, and the enjoyment of company today was such a welcome diversion.

We all hung out at the sink and cleaned up after, then finished off the punch figuring out our next gathering.

Today, I’m so grateful for friends, for my bees, for being able to enjoy some of the fruits of our labors.

A Nerd is Born


Our last 3 frames of honey this season have been squeezed, and the wax has been rendered.

So what do I do with all that wax?

Lotion anyone?  Solid massage bar anyone?

I got on You Tube and Pinterest.  I watched videos, read recipes.

I had some silicon chocolate molds, and cupcake trays.

And here is batch number 2.

The heart is a skin- tightening, coffee, mocha heart.  It has Beeswax, honey, Shea butter, sweet almond oil, coffee, cocoa powder, and a splash of vitamin E.  It is designed to be used pre-shower, so you can rinse off the caffeine and cocoa powder.  You could eat it, if you didn’t mind the fresh ground coffee beans. 

The Dragon Fly is a Lemon-Rosemary lotion bar with Beeswax, Shea butter, sweet almond oil, Lemon essential oil and Rosemary leaves and flowers.  It is also designed for use pre-shower.

The wax and oils melt with the heat of the skin.  It is an indulgence for relaxation and enjoyment.

They are being testing next week by my focus group (Guinea pig, God Bless them) friends who put up with my shenanigans, and indulge me as I learn.

If someone had told me 2 years ago that I wouldn’t be traveling, employed, or in the mortgage industry anymore….I would have told them they were stupid. 

Now I’m using my good LeCruset to make lotion bars.  I’m considering an etsy shop.  I’m seriously looking to market what I have learned in the last 12 months.  If this just keeps my fingers busy and makes my friends and me happy….I think it would be good.  Who knows.

Honey, berries, fish, flowers, trees

We took our first Honey frames from our bees.

It’s a sticky process, and I haven’t figured out how to clean the wax well, but the honey is pretty good.


That’s about 8 pounds of honey. 


Dewberries.  A wild growing berry, cousin to the blackberry, purple, thorny, and fun to find.


My man was really happy to find that we still had bass in the pond.  


These beautiful white flowers kept peeking out at me.  They only lasted the day, but they were so lovely.


I found this little oak tree.  The new growth is pink, and I got such a giggle out of that.  Isn’t it pretty?

This last year of working the property, slowing my pace, taking time to appreciate the little things has taught me so much.

I wonder if I would have taken the time to notice the little flowers, the color or new growth on a seedling oak, or if I would have taken time to pick a few berries to enjoy?  Maybe?

Wherever you find yourself today, enjoy it.

Sunny Saturday in S. Texas

It’s been a while since I mentioned my bees.  They’ve been enjoying this very mild winter.  Where our Bee Mentor lost two of his hives, I’m so very grateful our have done well.

A Beekeepers guide to relaxation.  All 4 hives bustling with activity.  Honey, pollen, brood, queens located.  These are some happy, happy girls.  They are happy, I am happy. 

This beautiful day on our little acreage, the Huisache is blooming, the dewberry vines are crazy with flowers, the bees are bringing in the most outrageously bright, neon-yellow pollen.  Their wax honey comb is almost a saffron yellow color, and the honey is a pale gold.  Next month will give us Pecan, Mesquite, Blue Bonnet, and Mexican hat flowers.  

We’ll let the girls keep these goodies for the population explosion coming.  Every hive had 7 out of 10 frames full of ready- to-hatch bees.  They all had drone brood.  They were flourishing.

I can stand on any portion of our 6 acres, and be still.  After a few minutes I hear them.  A slow, soft, happy hum as one of my girls finds me.  She will hover near my face for a moment and buzz away.  Then a few more will stop by.  I think they are getting to know me better.

There is a buzz in my garden

That contents my heart.

The bees fly about

They are doing their part

To create life and abundance 

Wherever they go.

They keep oh so busy

In this honey flow.