Saturday, March 24, 2012

homegrown honey

close up shot of honeycomb, seen below

(or more accurately, my sweet man started keeping bees
and i cheered him on)

since we are vegans, we didn't think we'd ever use the honey. 
the bees can't exactly give their overt permission for us to take it. 

BUT - a funny set of circumstances led said sweet man
to bring in one of the frames, filled with a honeycomb. 
(read his story below)

the honeycomb is such a work of art
and evidence of the mystery and wonder of life. 

there was about a pint of honey in that one honeycomb. 

we've been reflecting on sweeteners, 
and how many of them come from far away. 
so many resources are used to transport sugar 
or agave or brown rice syrup 
from place of production to our home. 
sometimes forest land is cleared so 
sugar cane fields can be planted. 

we, especially me, need to cut down on use of sugar anyway, 
and we are considering relying more on the honey that is 
right in our own backyard. 

we haven't made a definite decision either way. 
we don't hurt our bees - and in the past year 
we've needed to add bee box real estate - 
we started with two boxes and now have four. 
they are thriving here. 
we think around 60,000. 

we love our bees! 

and here is my sweet man's story 
about how he came to bring 
the frame into the house in the first place. 

This morning I went out to my beehive and there were a few dead bee larvas at the hive entrance and no bees around. Right away I feared colony collapse right here in my own backyard. So, standing there in my bathrobe and slippers I popped the top off the hive which immediately buzzed to life with thousands of happy healthy bees inside and quickly coming out. So I dropped my phone (I had it out to take pictures) and ran inside. The bees clustered around the outside of the hive and all over my phone (which fell right on top of the open hive).

Knowing I would need my phone soon I suited up with double gloves, my hard hat, my coveralls and my bee hood. I grabbed my smoker, filled it with dry leaves, and headed to the hive. I used a small pry bar to pull out one of the 36 hive frames and it was perfect! All honey and wax - no brood (babies) or eggs. Just pure honey. I replaced the frame with an empty wood frame got my phone, added the additional story on their house (I had one more bee box and this hive needs to more space in their house) and closed up the top. 

Fresh honey for these vegans! 

I'm guessing there was probably 20 or more times the amount of honey in the hive than I took. I'm really happy about how healthy the hive is. 

The beehive had three boxes. I added a fourth. Each box has 12 wooden frames like the one below that I took today. I replaced the frame I took with an empty wood frame (no honey or hive, just the wooden rectangle with a hole in the middle).

Needless to say, Tera is pleased.

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