Honey do list

Honey-dripping time

It’s been a busy day. I came home from church this morning and ran an errand, then spent the afternoon painting the hall while Ron watched football and waited for sunset so we could go out and harvest honey from our beehive.

Our neighbor to the south and his little boy saw us in our bee suits and stood at the back edge of their property, watching us swap out a half-dozen frames. While we had the hive open, we laid a mesh bag of menthol pellets on top of the frames on the uppermost super to repel varroa mites. The bees were not terribly happy with us, but our suits protected us — and them — from stings.

Scraping honey into sieves

We brought the frames inside, scraped the honey — comb and all — out of them, and put it in sieves over big mixing bowls on my desk next to the woodstove. The idea is for the warmth of the stove to make the honey thin so it will drain into the bowls, leaving the wax behind in the sieves. We’ve filled 18 half-pint Mason jars so far, and I think we’ve got about that much more in the bowls, waiting for me to get offline and put it up. It’s the best honey we’ve ever harvested. No wonder the girls were so aggressive about protecting it all summer….


I’m trying to work up the nerve to process the beeswax, which appears to be a simple process but apparently involves a fairly high risk of fire — which only makes my borderline pyro self that much more interested in trying it. I’ll let you know how it goes, assuming I manage to pull it off without burning the house down. 😉

Hope your weekend was as productive and enjoyable as mine.


P.S.: Ron shot the photos in today’s post. And no, I’m not filling honey jars with my eyes shut in that first picture, although that would be a pretty impressive trick if I could pull it off. Ron says I was looking down at the jar, but I think he just caught me mid-blink. Either way, I look like a dork, but the honey was so gorgeous I had to post the picture anyway….

Compost fodder

Never let it be said that I’m hard to please.

One of our neighbors hadn’t mowed his lawn all summer. This was mildly annoying, but not generally a matter of great concern to me. If I’d had time, I would have gone over there with a sling blade and knocked it down, but I was busy and didn’t have time to fool with it, so the grass just got taller and taller.

While I was at a meeting today, someone went over there and mowed the grass, bagged it all up, and put it on the curb for the city to haul away. By the time I got home, Ron had helped himself to the bags — all seven of them — so I could use them as compost starter.

I couldn’t have been happier if I’d come home to find a dozen roses waiting for me. In fact, a dozen roses probably wouldn’t have thrilled me as much — their stems are too woody to be much good in a compost pile.

This is not the first time Ron has delighted me with the gift of compost fodder. My best Valentine’s Day ever was in 2006, when he bought me 10 feed sacks full of bunny poo and chicken litter.

I’m not sure what that says about us. I like to think of it as proof positive that my mama raised me right. 🙂



My friend Laurel just returned from a trip to New England, where she had occasion to visit a cranberry farm. She brought me a big Ziploc bag full of gorgeous fresh berries, and — upon learning that I’d never made my own cranberry sauce before — e-mailed me a basic recipe. She told me the recipe lends itself well to improvisation, so of course I had to riff on it a little bit with homegrown blackberries, honey from our hive, and a couple of small organic apples left from a salad project last week. I think it turned out really well. Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry-blackberry sauce

1 c. turbinado sugar
1 c. water
About 4 c. cranberries
Two small apples
About 2 c. blackberries
3/4 c. honey

Stir sugar into water and bring to a boil, stirring frequently as sugar dissolves. Add fruit and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in honey. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

On an unrelated note, I built my first fire of the season tonight. It wasn’t terribly cold, but I’d had kind of an annoying day at work, so I decided to vent my frustrations on a couple of hapless hardwood logs. It was nice. It made the air smell warm, if that makes any sense.

I’d had an idea I might make myself a cup of Red Zinger tea on the stove, but when I took the lid off the teakettle to rinse it out, I found a dead moth and a ridiculous amount of sediment inside. It was truly disgusting. I scrubbed it out with Comet and put it in the dishwasher. Hopefully it will emerge in a usable condition.

In the meantime, I had a pretty productive evening: In addition to making cranberry sauce and building a fire, I cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, read the Monitor, and am now getting ready to run the sweeper, dust the living room, and throw together a couple of fliers for the solar open house before I go to bed.

Hope your Friday evening was good.