A Taste of Cuban Honey
Knowing RHH’s fondness for all things melliferous, we have been fortunate to sneak a taste of some wonderful dark and delicious Cuban honey, from an apiary called Apisun. The honey has a deep bronze hue, with those wonderful whiskey fragrances promising buckwheat. However, the liquid is less viscous than most buckwheat honeys, and less overpowering. Hints of thyme and even mint are present along with the usual fresh hay and slight barnyard aroma that buckwheat brings with it–but more refreshing. Like all dark honeys, this one is sure to be full of healing goodness–topically and internally.
Watch this space for more honey reviews. We hope to bring you taste testings of European and other honeys obtained for us by our voyaging friends.
Meanwhile, RHH is waiting impatiently for the day when our own honeybees once again turn out their first litres of fresh wildflower honey for 2014.
Ah, spring. RHH is well into rebuilding its little honey producers. After the hive death in March. More bees will soon be arriving, and feasting upon dandelions, apple and dogwood blossoms. Migratory birds are already arriving from southern climes, some merely stopping over on their way to the far north, others intent on setting up housekeeping here on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.
Thanks to the superior hive-building skills of Enos Schwartzentruber of Rensselaer Falls, New York, we have all-new equipment to work with this year. Mr. Schwartzentruber is an extremely affable young Amish man who lives with his wife and children on a small farm.
The woodworking is done with powerless hand-tools in his little shop which is located directly behind his house. He is warmed through the winter by his merrily-blazing wood stove, surrounded by his little children. When need arises, Mr. Schwartzentruber drives his buggy into town or to his brother’s place to pick up supplies. Brother Rudy is also in the bee hive-making business and lives not far away. The brothers’ businesses are booming, not least because they are famous for their competitive prices and meticulous craftsmanship.
Amish Farmhouse, New York State. Winter
RHH is sure the new bee nuclei will love their sweet little homes built with so much care and concern.
As soon as the weather is warm enough, the bees will arrive and will be unpacked and placed into the deep super hive bodies. They will be anxious to get about their warm-weather business — collecting pollen and nectar, raising brood, making honey and pollinating plants. The whole world is about to burst into blossom. C’mon sun!
Winter Hive Mortality
Red House Honey has been humbled, and is a little bumbled, if truth be told.
RHH suffered a setback in March when a very strong hive succumbed to the vagaries of winter. The never-ending snow, sleet, driving wind, rain, freezing rain and generally hideous weather finally had its effect. Despite being pampered in a specially-constructed bee barn, wrapped and fed fondant, bee vitamins and special patties containing everything delicious to bees, the hive collapsed. The actual cause of the hive collapse is unknown but moisture, which can build up inside due to the constant activity of the bees – who beat their wings to warm the air — can cause the bees to get wet. In this case, they can drown, if they are at the bottom of the hive where the condensation would inevitably wind up, or they can freeze, because they become cold. Or, if the queen dies, the bees become somewhat directionless, having lost their leader. Finally, if the bees’ numbers fall below a critical mass, there just aren’t enough of them to keep the hive warm. One or all of these scenarios seem likely, since there was plenty of honey inside the frames of the hive.
It is now early April, and there are only the slightest signs of spring.
It has been a hard winter for everyone, particularly the bees. But in the spirit of our winged friends, Red House Honey will regroup, revamp and rebuild. Like our bees, we look forward to the sun, the flowers and the warm weather to make us happy, healthy and active. Here’s to spring!