Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's the honeybees knees...

I've always loved bees.  One summer when I was growing up I had to feed some of our horses in a pasture a ways from the house.  I enjoyed this chore even though I had quite a walk to get to them.  I didn't mind, as I had to walk through "a bee loud glade."  It took me forever to feed those horses, because as I was infatuated with the bees on the wildflowers.  Dad also allowed a beekeeper to set some hives on our property and nothing beat that giant pickle jar of honey we would get every year from the Parson's hives.

View from the dining room.  Notice the observation stump.
One cannot imagine the hope I had when my good friend, Heather,  told me her father was a beekeeper.  I called and asked if he needed anywhere to keep his hives.  He told me yes and that he would bring a couple out.  The happy dance I did after we hung up was unbeatable.  A few months later he and his son in law, Rob, brought up the hives.  I had a perfect spot planned far from the house.  He informed me a better spot was right off our yard.  What! Really?  I was skeptical as the roar from inside the hives bespoke of some very angry bees.  Gerald, the beekeeper assured me that they were not aggressive and the spot would work fine.  It turns out it is the perfect spot as we can see the hives right out our dining room windows.
Neon pollen?

I was tentative at first, but that soon dissipated.  It wasn't long before I rolled a good sitting stump next to the hives.  It is the perfect place to sit, enjoy a cup of morning coffee, and watch the bees go about their business.  Ella does not agree.  After a curious dog incident, she keeps her distance.  It is interesting what you can observe from two little hives.  Late this fall, when nothing I could see was blooming, one of the hives found some crazy neon pollen.  Their little legs glowed.  It only lasted a week.  It was obvious they didn't share their secret spot with the other hive.

The bees have been an excellent addition to our gardens.  (Ella may dispute that claim).  Especially in the fall when we get to enjoy the spoils.  I did learn there is also no stickier situation than extracting that honey.  Gerald gave us a honeycomb to play with.   It proved to be an interesting experience. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to have the hives and to be able to observe them.  There is nothing better than honey from your own hives, except maybe sharing honey from my hives with family and friends.

Old-Fashioned Honey Bread

1 1/2 c. Water                                       2T. Sugar
8 oz. cottage cheese                              2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1/2 c. honey                                          5 c. flour
1/4 c. butter                                          3 t. salt
2 c. whole-wheat flour                          1 egg

Heat water, cottage cheese, honey and 1/4 c. butter until warm.  Combine warm liquid, whole-wheat flour, sugar, yeast, 2 c. flour, salt, and egg in a large bowl.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  By hand stir in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough.  Knead dough on a well floured surface until smooth.  Place in greased bowl, turn to coat.  Cover, let rise in a warm place until double in size (45-60 minutes).  Punch down and divide into two loaves.  Let rise again for 45-60 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove from pans and brush with honey butter.  

1 comment:

  1. Your experiences sound fun! I am very excited to be able to watch our bees this year!


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