honey man

This summer has been one intense adventure after another, from camping by a glacial stream under Mt. Hood with amazing people and music to an epic trip around the country via Phoenix, Austin, Atlanta, Chesapeake City (the apex of the trip--my beautiful sister's wedding), Carlisle, Erie, the St. Croix River, Minneapolis, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil's Tower, Montana, Spokane, and then home again; but only briefly, because then we were off to the coast for four days of sunshine, spectacular views, pelicans, cormorants, sea gulls, starfish, sand, surfing, friends, and sunsets (more on this adventure to come), and then a weekend on our friend's boat on the great Columbia River, camping on Government Island--a state park that is only accessible via boat--and soaking in the rare Oregon sun (soaking in a bit too much in my case on Sunday) and again enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Hood.

It's been a summer of travel, of reconnecting with old friends and family, of renewed love, of falling in love with the mountains and the water, of building dreams and setting solid goals--and of course, a summer filled with my garden and reading.

When I got home from the trip, my garden seemed brilliant to my eyes. My friends who watched over it for me had tied up my tomatoes and everything looked lush and spectacular. Still no ripe tomatoes, but I heard yesterday that we have not yet had one day over 90 degrees yet this summer and only seven days in the 80s. Still, my garden grows: for lunch we had a salad of greens, beets, carrots, berries, and cucumber all from the garden, with a tarragon dressing. My herb spiral is lush with mint, oregano, sage, thyme, calendula, and Chinese hyssop. My peppers have many little buds and flowers on them. My tomatoes are green and growing. My artichoke is tall and ripening its 3rd artichoke heart; the sunflowers started blooming today.

The chickens are healthy, although baby has a bald spot from being pecked by the older witches. Poor baby. Still, they get by and we continue to eat eggs from our own backyard. The bees seem healthy and they certainly seem happy in my backyard with the lavender, vegetable and herb blossoms, and blackberry bramble that my neighbor lets grow wild in his untended backyard. However, there is an ant colony that wants to live with the bees, and we are working to fight that off.

The honey man, Allen, came by yesterday. He comes by door-to-door in the summer, carrying plastic bags filled with a delicious amber honey that he sells for about $12. We bought honey from him the first time we met him (before we had our own), and since then, we've often talked to him about beekeeping. He's an odd fellow, always overdressed and looking over heated. He seems far more at ease discussing bees when Brian is around; perhaps Brian is better at putting him at ease. The honey man understands and keeps Langstroth hives, so he's always curious about our top-bar hive. Yesterday, we showed him the hive, and this is when we discovered the ant issue. We wiped away the ants and promised to look inside of the hive today. Then, we gave the honey man a spoonful of our bees' honey, and he thought it was "really, really good." So good that we traded with him for a jar of his. This was high praise coming from the honey man.

Today, Brian and I opened the hive, brushing away ants and just nosing around. It looked as though the bees were doing all right and managing to keep the ants out of their beeswax. We're going to keep on peeking an try to keep that colony away from and off of the hive.

1 comment:

  1. Loved hearing your update on garden and bees. hope you will post some pics of your adventures thru the country.