Monday, June 28, 2010

Honey Lemonade and the Apiary

Honey Lemonade
My bee-friend Sarah introduced me to honey lemonade. Yum. So of course I've been experimenting. Here are a few versions I love:

Honey Mint Lemonade: 1 Cup honey mixed with 1 cup HOT water from the faucet, Juice of 3-4 lemons, 4 Cups cold water, 2 large sprigs mint, ICE. (Crush the mint and strain for a mintier flavor)

Honey Lavender Lemonade: 1 Cup honey mixed with 1 Cup water -- heat over the stove until hot, then throw in a large handful of lavender flowers into the pot. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Juice of 3 lemons mixed with 4 Cups water. Pour steeped lavender/honey mixture through a strainer into the lemon/water mixture. Add ICE. Enjoy!!

Meanwhile, speaking of HONEY, there has been a lot of activity in what I might officially call my apiary. As I'd mentioned previously, my sister-in-law Tanya was interested in becoming a beekeeper herself. My hives seemed strong enough to split, so we did. I took 3 frames from one of my hives, and 2 from the other and created for Tanya a "nuc". Through this process, the bees will notice they are living without a queen and go about raising their own from fresh eggs on the frames in the nuc. (See previous entry for a lengthy description.) 

A week later, my bee mentor Diane came over to inspect my hives with me to see how they were doing. I wanted some more experienced eyes to take a look. "WOW!" she said "There are a LOT of bees in here! These are two very strong hives. You need to split again or you will get a swarm." Alrighty. I didn't have supplies for THAT!! Diane really thought I needed to take more than just 5 total frames out of both hives to have any impact. I needed to create either two nucs, or one SUPER nuc. So that's what we did. 

The next day Tanya was good enough to loan me her hive-in-waiting (while the nuc we'd just made the week before was incubating) to use for the super nuc, AND to help me dig into my poor hives AGAIN to create another nuc. 

It was a bee-bonanza. The bees weren't thrilled with being bothered yet again, but a beekeeper's gotta do what a beekeeper's gotta do. We took both of those hives all apart looking for all of the essential ingredients that go into a nuc -- then of course, ya gotta put everything back together with bees flying everywhere. Just stay focused on the task at hand and ignore the beezillion bees zipping around you and bouncing off your veil. 

We did it.
(This photo was taken just under a month ago after successfully creating our two nucs.)

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