Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Me...the Beekeeper!

Do you remember a while back, I stopped by Uddermost Farm to buy some local honey? (Go down a couple posts.) I don't blame you if you don't remember - it's been quite some time since I wrote about it. Since then, it's been a busy few weeks. Amelia, who is an urban farmgirl, invited me back to see how they tend to their hives. Now, if you know me, you must know how excited I was to be part of checking the hives.

Amelia advised me to wear long pants and socks with my shoes. When I arrived at her little farm, I was suited up in beekeeper's gear. Her husband, Scott, also suited up and away we went. I was not afraid at all. Amelia had told me during my first visit that many of their worker bees had most likely been to our home to gather pollen and nectar, so I felt like I was meeting up with old friends. Bees travel within a five mile radius to gather and then return to their hives. Our home is well within that radius.

Worker bees not only gather, but also clean the hive and keep it cool by beating their wings. By the way, the 'buzz' of a honeybee is just it's wings beating so rapidly.

Uddermost Farmgirl and my hubby stayed a safe distance away while (we) went to work. Scott pryed the hives apart, beaking the propolis seal that had been placed by the bees. That's to keep the hive waterproof which is very important.

Me holding a honeycomb frame

Scott prying the hive apart

The light colored substance over the honey is the wax cap that the bees put over each honeycomb cell to protect the honey and their brood (eggs).
Bees are a very protective society. Scott told me that in the cold of
winter, balls of bees have been found deep within hives. The ball of bees surround
the queen bee to protect her from the cold. A queen bee would simply be a worker bee, if not for being fed and nourished with royal jelly.
Her job is to populate the hive with another queen bee and female workers.

Besides the queen and the workers, there are the drones.
Their only job is to mate with the queen bee and during that time, they die.
If, at any time, there is not enough food to support the hive,
the drones are forced out.

Scott firing up the smoker.
He then 'puffed' the smoke into the hive to calm the bees
so that he could go deeper into hives to check things out.

Something I learned is that when the smoke goes into the hives, the bees think the hive is in danger and try to save their honey by consuming all they can.

Amelia and Scott, thank you so much for being so generous in inviting me to share in this experience. It's something I've always wanted to do. You are both most kind.

I was invited back to Uddermost Farm again. This time to watch as the honey was extracted from the honeycomb. My next post will be about that.

Hope you will come back!

Do you know?
Honey is the ONLY food that includes all the substance
necessary to sustain life, including water.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Brokenhearted is how we feel tonight - this August 14, 2010 has been filled with pain. Our precious Olivia went to sleep about nine tonight.

I'm posting this repeat post about Olivia. Bless her heart - she gave us so much joy.

Olivia has been part of our family since May of 1999. She was found in a porta-jon where my husband works when she was probably around six weeks old. She was dirty and greasy - just a nasty little black ball of fur with big green eyes. My husband brought her home and we cleaned her up. She never shyed away from us. She just took over and made herself at home.

Just a week before Olivia came into our lives, my daddy had died. Olivia was the greatest comfort to me. In spite of my grief, she made me laugh with her antics.
She loved to watch television, sitting right in front of it, looking way up to see it and almost falling back. She loved to watch races on television. She followed the cars as they crossed the screen. She would talk to us by making short little chirping sounds, which she still does.

Today, Livvie is a beautiful cat with big golden eyes. My husband says she thinks I'm her mother...that's okay, she is my baby.

The photo above is Olivia in my daughter's pocket shortly after coming to live with us.

We will miss you, our little love. I'll miss you sitting beside me while I'm on the computer. I'll miss your chattering at the birds and squirrels. I'll miss your big golden eyes and your lumbering walk. My God, I would never complain about cat hair on the furniture again, if we could have you back. Bless your heart and God help our hearts to heal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Visit To An Urban Homestead

I was so delighted to see a sign along side a nearby street that read "Local Honey" and a phone number. I've been searching for REAL local honey. Could this be any more local?...just a little over a mile from my own home?! You must have heard that a teaspoon of local honey a day is good for warding off those pesky allergies that so many of us suffer with. For that very reason, I was searching for local honey.

I called the number and the next day I was greeted at the 'farmhouse' door by a most friendly lady, Amelia, and her dog Duke. She invited me right in and showed me the honey she and her husband had gathered from their hives. I picked a light colored honey and a darker one. They are just wonderful! Amelia educated me some about bees. I told her about how my name, Deborah, means bee and she already knew!
Then I mentioned my blog...she has a BLOG and WEBSITE!

A delightful aroma was wafting from her kitchen where she was canning tomatoes from her garden. I felt so at home here. The farmhouse was a home that I had passed most everyday for many years - just not where it is today. It was moved not far from a main road for the sake of progress. The home is still in the city and that limits how many animals they can have. They are hoping to find a large farm where the animals can roam.

I was so happy when she asked if I would like to see her goats. Mama is expecting soon and Amelia invited me back to see the new additions when they arrive and regretfully before they have to be sold because of city laws.

This is beautiful Bella, the baby of the family. Look at this precious face!

Bella again

These are Bella's parents - a handsome couple

Bella's family gifted Amelia and her family with goat milk from which they create soaps, body washes....I bought a delicious Almond body wash and a heavenly Lavender body wash. Amelia gave me a goat's milk wash for my husband who had terribly itchy dry skin. She said it calms the skin.

Now, this is the real reason I went to this lovely urban farmhouse - the honey!

This is the darker of the honeys and it is soooo good!

Amelia recommended this one for biscuits.

You can't tell much of a difference in the pictures, but this one is much lighter.

Amelia says I should sweeten my tea with this one and I will!

I'm looking forward to visiting Amelia at Uddermost Farm.

Now, this is not Amelia, but she is just as lovely.

I was so intrigued with Uddermost Farm that I didn't take pictures of her cinnamon colored chickens and "other sorts". You can read about the ”other sorts” on her blog. I didn't get pictures of her lovely little garden or the hives! What was I thinking?!

UPDATE: Just as I am finishing up this blog post, Amelia called me and invited me to come over and be a beekeeper this evening!! I am on top of the world with excitement!

More to come!