Monday, May 11, 2009

A Few More Weeks and Honeybee Update

Time easily gets away from me when it comes to this blog. My intentions are the only thing that's good in terms of my posting regularity. That said, here is our update from the last few weeks.

We're still eating well, although now we are starting to use up particular items but we still have plenty of other things. There is absolutely no doubt that we will not still have food remaining after the year is up. But, as my friend (and garden mentor) Tim pointed out, not only should we get through our year, but we should have enough food put up to last until that item is again available locally. With some things, this will not be a problem. Kevin, on the other hand, thinks that as long as we have successfully made it to the next growing season (which we have) when fresh foods are again available (which they are) then it doesn't matter if we've used all of something before it's around again because why would we want to be eating frozen or dried veggies in the spring when we could be enjoying the seasonal bounty. I think he's right (but that's not to discredit Tim's theory).

And the bounty is beginning again! I'm sure you know that many of the local farmers' markets have started up again (yay!). I wasn't able to get to my favorite market (Edgebrook) this week but I did stop at the Roscoe market on Thursday morning. McEachran Homestead was there this year (they only did Edgebrook and Woodstock last year). They had a great selection of jams, jellies, and concentrated juices. Unfortunately for us, we couldn't buy any yet because they all have sugar or lemon juices as preservatives but someone not being so strict should definitely try them out! I did buy jam and juice from them last year before our year began and everything was great. The juice is concentrated so you can add water to suite your taste. We liked to add seltzer water to make it fizzy (and you could even add cream to make a rich, French soda!).

I'm hoping that Liz Springler will be there again this year. She had a booth last year selling honey (Ed's Honeybees) and beeswax items produced by her husband, Ed (with help from his bees, of course). They had different types of honey, including a deep dark, flavorful wildflower honey. If you don't already know, honey color and flavor are directly related to "bee forage," or what types of blossoms the bees have access to and collect from. Anyway, the dark honey was unique and interesting. She also had wonderful beeswax candles and blocks of beeswax (rub some on a sticking drawer and solve the problem!). I was very happy much of the summer to not only serve my guest local food but also to burn local beeswax candles! I've now used the last of their candles and just about all the wildflower honey and hope to see them again at the Roscoe market.

By the way, our own honeybees did not fare well. I mentioned in a previous post that one hive died out over winter. The other seemed to be docile and slow but was active in the spring. Sadly, the queen must already have been dead because within a week or so the entire hive was dead. With the queen gone the bees can't reproduce. Were we more experienced, we might have looked for the queen and re-queened the hive in time but, alas, experience is not on our side. I fear it's too late to get more bees so we'll have to wait until next spring and try once again.

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