There is a term in beekeeping known as honeybound. This is when bees, through all of their hard efforts, have brought in so much honey--so much sweet stuff in their lives--that it can incapacitate the hive. While I am certainly not incapacitated in the least.... like bees, this weekend was full of sweet rewards
I bring this up, of course, because I finally rewound my path back to New York City this weekend, and with it came a whole lot of beekeeping news.
Firstly, there were the stinging ladies themselves. All eight hives are doing well--TOO well. I ended up pulling four frames of very LIGHT honey--Spring honey, which I wasn’t expecting to find in the Summer. I am now flush with this beautiful liquid gold and as mentioned in my last post, there is lavender honey in the making, and now some beautiful Spring honey as well.
If you are interested in a whole array of Vagabond-ish honey (light, dark, lavender infused, and cinnamon infused!) you can find it starting TOMORROW at NOON, HERE. All of our honey is raw and raised organically (we don't use any chemicals or medicines on our bees, just like grandpa used to do).
In more honey news, I also managed to remove quite the experiment from that same honey-ridden hive.
I present to you an experiment in using no foundation…
Back in March, I used a method Mama had taught me, based on grandfather’s teachings. See, modern day keepers often use plastic, imitation frames. Some of these, indeed, are installed in some of the hives, but I’ve been slowly replacing them out--while the plastic is easy to reuse (it’s not as fragile as a wax base) it’s not natural to the bees, and it didn’t exist in grandpa’s era.
I’ve heard of wire or fishing line being used as a “guide” for bees to build their own foundation, and this is something grandfather used, but I wanted to use dowels as a guide (much easier to put in than tying fishing wire to nail pegs inside the frame).
I placed the blank frames with the dowels in....
It worked! You can see a tiny bit of the dowels at the bottom of the frames. The bees built the wax around it!
Why, might you ask, should I embark on free-form comb making by bees?
To make honey-combed honey, of course!
Finally--and ever-still speaking of apiaries--Bronx Bees, that little bee haven of mine, is chugging along, finding it’s way into all sorts of interesting places and publications.
Our latest little triumph is being amongst a bevy of beautiful and bountiful folks featured in a new book New York City Farm and Feast, by Emily Brooks .
This book includes a myriad number of farmers of all types, and geographies, across New York. From large, well known diversified Upstate farms to local city farmers, community gardeners, and more, this book is chock full of wonderful stories of New York’s diverse food-shed, and the folks who make it happen. I am deeply honored to be part of the book. Here’s a fun picture of me for our section (yes, when I say Bronx Bees is a roof-top operation, well, this is how I get up there!)
Now, a couple of things you might take notice of, should you get this book:
First, I am not sure if I like the phrase “agile as a monkey,” when describing my ascending the fire escape to show off our rooftop hives, in the book. Hmm, I’ve never been compared to a monkey…but then again, no one has really ever described me as agile, either, so I guess I’ll take it!
Second--the publication states I am the founder/creator of Bronx Bees. Not so. I am the partner and Chief Beekeeper, but the business technically belongs to my landlady, noted urban environmentalist Majora Carter. I can only guess that something was lost in translation, as book writing and editing is sometimes wont to do, but otherwise, this is a beautifully written and laid out book with plenty of gorgeous stories, pictures, and recipes! Tons of recipes! If you love to cook, love farming, or love supporting this sort of venture, I dare say you ought to grab this tome, it’s a wonderful ode to food and the folks that get it to your table!
In the meantime, the next adventure I hope to find around here involves Fourth of July. As I mentioned, it's sort of hard to know what and who to do things with, being so green to this place. Whilst I'm not complaining, it would be great to have a few friends, so perhaps I will scrounge some up this weekend!
Wherever YOU are, may you have a wonderful FOURTH OF JULY!