Monday, July 25, 2011

Honey for the X County Fair!

Tomorrow is the day I take our Honey to the X County Fair for the Honey Judging Contest! We've won the past three years in a row, and have hopes for yet again, another Blue Ribbon. We must defend out title!

The bees this year are all new hives, as you will know if you've been following along with the Boss and the Birdchick. And it's been a kind of odd season so far. First it was a very cold spring, and things didn't start up with their pollinating quite as soon as they should have, and now the past couple of weeks have been HOT, and no one, even the bees, feels like doing all that much. Lots of days I see them just hanging out on their Bee Porches, fanning away. This means there is not a great deal of honey, so far.

Both the Boss and Birdchick being unavailable, I went, taking Kelly McCullough (who volunteered willingly, more or less) and Woodsman Hans (who had no choice, he works for us) down to the hives to see if there might be some honey we could steal.

(Longtime Gentle Readers will recall this was the reason I spent so many years opposing the hives in the first place, KNOWING Boss would be gone, and I'd be nipping out for a comb or two. I am still reluctant, but have overcome a LOT of Bee Fear thru sheer determination. Almost, I like it.)

The Hives out in the woods, pictured first, didn't have much, and I didn't want to take from them, so we closed things up, gathered our smoke and disappeared in a puff of it.. Here is the Garden Hive, which has been going at the honey thing like all tomorrows parties.

I think they Suspected Something. Angry bees, swarming around, flying, BUZZING and lots of bonking, which is Bee Talk for "Get the hell out of here now before we pull out the stingers" Yes, they knew what we were up to. We wanted their honey, and they knew this was no "Hey, here's another frame of supers" mission.

We only took the two, as you can see, they have been working overtime. I stayed calm, cool and collected and closed up the hive, (Lorraine talk for "Didn't run screaming") replacing the frames, of course, but left it to Hans to talk the bees into leaving the frames, while Kelly hooked up the Bear Proof Electric fence.

At the Fair, there are two Honey Categories: Extracted, and cut comb. Cut comb is most often in what's called a Ross Round, a handy round thingie bees can buildcomb in and pops right off, perfectly shaped, when one wants it. Sadly, none of the Ross Round Hives had anything going on in their rounds, so I had to try and cut some, and get it off the frame intact and perfect.

Pretty much worked, and I got about four little boxes of cut comb, one of which will sure to be perfect. Sticky Fingers crossed.

All honey tastes differently. I am trying to think how to describe this years. It's from the first of the Spring Flowers, so very light, tho not the pale white you sometimes get. Very golden, sweet of course, but with a hint of spice. I will solicit some opinions and let you know.

For the extracted honey, I use the high tech method pictured above. I call it the Bucket Method. Get some cheescloth to stay on top of a bucket with a rubber band (the most difficult part of the process) and scrape the comb and honey in, and Voila! (I think that's French for "there you have it") The honey drips thru, and you can then jar it up!

And then I take it to the Fair. Judging on Thursday, I believe.

One final bit, because it's a topic I love talking about, the Leopard Lounge is getting trees this Friday. We're all set with Truck, Chainsaws and Beer. (I use that word "we" rather loosely. I believe I help haul logs, and fetch beer. Quite possibly make lunch.)

To that end, I found this Tree, and am hoping it will work nicely (ie come down without smashing anything or killing anyone) as it has lots of crooks and odd branchlings and will make lovely places for the Leopards to lurk upon, basking a while in the sun, while waiting for prey, and, finally, playing Death Drops From Above.

Somehow it looks BIGGER here.

Ah well..

Love and Adventure,


At 14:13 Blogger Marjorie said...

I am experiencing a sudden craving for honey...

At 14:14 Blogger Marjorie said...

Also, congratulations on your bee-wrangling skills.

At 14:18 Blogger dabbler said...

Well done, you!

At 14:18 Anonymous Amy said...

I'm a vague-an. Meaning, I will give up meat, fish, eggs and dairy in order to diet and be healthy...but I'm not giving up honey in my tea. I am perfectly happy letting others do the gathering for me though. Good luck at the fair!

At 14:23 Blogger Jane said...

Not I want some honey, too.

Good for overcoming fears by simply DOING IT!

At 14:25 Blogger D said...

Good luck at the fair! I don't normally love honey, but I bet it tastes great when you have been a part of the process!

At 14:58 Blogger Pi R Squared said...

Lorraine, I love the bee stories. You seem to be dealing with the bees better each time. Good luck on the honey at the fair and with the tree feature for your leopards.

Has there been any other sightings of the bear from before or has the fence seemed to have done the trick?

At 15:15 Blogger Phiala said...

Good luck with the honey!

At 15:34 Blogger LincolnBlog said...

Best of luck at the fair.

At 16:41 Blogger Precision Grace said...

Is it really year four for the honey?? Have I really been following you and the boss that long? Where has the time gone!?

Also, best of luck at the fair. It's going to be interesting, what with the new bees and crazy weather, but hope you come back with the blue ribbon again.

At 16:55 Blogger vampi said...

i'm just a little black rain cloud....

i Love honey posts. makes me want to go bee-ing. i'm terrified, but i think i would put my big girl panties on and deal.

also, am i the only one who wants to play "death from above" from the tree?

At 17:50 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Heh - Vampi I had that thought too. I also thought how Magic would knock you out if he played dropcat on your head.

Tree looks purrfect for the Leopard Lounge.

So impressed with how calmly you now deal with crazy bonking bees Quiche. Good luck at The Fair.

At 19:13 Blogger Becca said...

I helped!...kinda. Well, I smoked the bees for Boss a couple weeks ago while he did some beekeeping and Mum and Q looked on from a safe distance.
Time for a beer/honey/Bengal party while the Boss is away!! Can't let this good weather go to waste. Or that yummy-sounding honey...
Good job and good courage, Lorraine! Here's to hoping for some good marks at the fair.

At 19:19 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Becca darling - its good to hear your voice here!

At 20:13 Blogger vampi said...

sally, you misunderstand, i want to drop out of the tree on the unsuspecting ;)

At 20:18 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Oh no Vampi - that's what I want to do too. And then run away snickering.

At 23:55 Blogger spacedlaw said...

I SO want to taste that honey now...

Well done on the honey smuggling. You're a pro!

At 00:09 Blogger DataGoddess said...

Yay honey!!

How are you going to position the tree?

At 01:47 Blogger spacedlaw said...

I can just see those leopards flopping over a branch.

At 07:58 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am always awed by the honey-collecting. I have to give major credit, because the idea of it terrifies me. Although, the honey does sound divine. *fingers crossed* for the contest!

Oh, and that tree for the Leopard Lounge? AWESOME. So exciting!! :-)

At 08:29 Blogger LihuaEmily said...

I was twelve years old last time I ate honey ... and it was cookie honey, packagey honey; it was not REAL honey. I love your bees.

At 09:22 Blogger Arwenn said...

I think I'm more of a "death from below" kinda gal...I was never good at tree climbing even as a kid.

Good luck with the honey!!

At 09:31 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Ah, Nathilie, I'll see what I can do. Always up for a little international intrigue ;)

It won't be ONE tree, it will be many branches interlaced into a wonderful climbing adventure.

The funny thing is I took pics and sent them to Slam'er (who is taking the tree DOWN) thinking oops this tree is WAY too big for taking down, and I got back a "Nah, it's med to baby Tree Beast, no worries."

Does Derby breed such strong souls or does it merely attract them? This is going to be SO fun!

At 09:39 Blogger spacedlaw said...

I can sample honey when I come and visit, surely?
No need for intrigue (unless you want to spice up your life even more - you sure seem to like it HOT).
Will the tree fit inside the bengals' lounge? THAT is the real question.

At 11:22 Blogger Cecily said...

Good for you Quiche! getting in there and just doing it is just awesome. You are a powerful strong willed woman!

At 02:27 Anonymous Pamela said...

re: the bees that were aggressively defending their hives, do you know what kind of bees you were harvesting from? my husband teaches beekeeping & was curious to know if they were from the hygienic strain? he was wondering what the temperament of the hygienic bee would be like

At 07:45 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

We have RUssian, Italian and MN Hygenic bees. I know these aren't Russian, but can't recall which of the other 2 they were.

The tree will fit, Slam'er is going to cut it up into bits, so we can form a Jungle gym sort of thing for them.

Honey judging is this afternoon!!!!!

At 10:18 Blogger Cecily said...

I need a vacation. Like a real one, away from home and without stress.

At 09:16 Blogger spacedlaw said...

And congratulation to the honey snatching team, who won awards again.

At 09:20 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

YES! Two more Blue RIbbons for US!!!!! We kept the title!! ANd the other beekeepers are going to be gunning for us at any moment!

It's the sort of day here where you wake up, need to shower, then think, why bother? Tooooo freaking hot, humid and gross.

WOrkout tonight ain't gonna be pretty.

At 10:12 Blogger Cecily said...

Congrats on the Ribbons! Does winning make the scary bees worth it?

At 11:33 Blogger Chantrelle said...

Congrats on the honey!

At 11:35 Blogger Chantrelle said...

oh, and I just worked out! Damn skating just hasn't happened so I got up and put on workout clothes instead of regular ones, grabbed a workout on Netflix streaming and frickin' did it. My back has been killing me and I know it's because it's weak and I have no abs!

At 12:02 Blogger Marjorie said...

Congratulations on the blue ribbons! Have you been to tell the bees?

At 13:31 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

I'm OK with the bees, tho I doubt I will ever be a TRUE friend to them.

Really not with Wasps. Been two days now I've been out there with Wasp-B-Gone in th eLeopard Lounge trying to kill these things off. They chase me. Hmmph.

Good on the workout, CHantrelle! EVery bit helps.

SPeaking of which, up since 5 girl is having a nap before her workout. BLISS!!!!

Until the phone rings of course...

At 13:35 Blogger Chantrelle said...

It felt good. I didn't do a huge burly workout, i kept it mellow and made sure I was holding my body right so I can get by shoulders, arms and back into the right shape, alignment and strengthened. That's my wrist problem, I have weak shoulders.

Anyway, after working out I spent an hour trying to buy Tori Amos tickets and failing. Presales suck. Now I have to do the general sale tomorrow during my rolfing appointment. I will seriously duck out for 10 minutes to buy the tickets on his reception computer. I take my tori shows seriously!

We have wasps trying to nest at under our solar panels. They seem to keep to themselves, they aren't aggressive, I hope they stay that way because I can't really get to where the nest is!

At 13:59 Blogger AletaMay said...

Other beekeepers can get blue too, right? They should just get friendly with you so that you can all be the best together!

Love the tree.

I am doing a proofreading project and it is so so hard for me to stay focused on it. Thanks for the diversion!

At 16:59 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Yah, well done Bees, Bee Keepers and Honey Extractors.

I'm so glad I'm not sharing your weather.

At 20:55 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

New post is UP!!!!! Oh yes, the Jungle Gym!

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