I can’t stop thinking about bees!

Maybe it’s because here in our town of Collingswood we are going to be hosting a screening of the gorgeous documentary Queen of the Sun on Monday 7/23 @ 7:00PM at the library. If you are a neighbor or visitor to the area I hope you will join us. We’ll be serving honey sweetened lemonade and organic popcorn–all GMO free. And one lucky attendee will receive a handmade beeswax suncatcher! This event is free of charge and open to the public–bring a friend.

We often think about honeybees in terms of the substances they produce for us to use;

  • the honey that sweetens our food and can heal our wounds
  • bee pollen as a nutritional supplement and allergy remedy
  • beeswax for our skincare and our never ending stream of craft projects

We also think about honeybees as pollinators of many of our food crops; because of this service they provide we are able to add strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelons, protein rich soybeans, peanuts, and almonds (to name a few) into our shopping carts. Much of the cotton that is spun into thread and woven into the clothes that we wear is dependent upon pollinators like honeybees. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to feel a little bit closer to the honeybee.

Honeybees transform the nectar and pollen from the plants into the energy they need to survive, but just like in human families and communities, the product of this inner transformation is so abundant that it “spills over” to nourish and protect the entire hive. As a community they work together to care for the young, to rid the hive of toxins, and to maintain a consistent temperature within the hive regardless of weather conditions outside the hive. While there is a range of temperatures needed depending upon the specific activity taking place at the time, the average hive temperature is around 97-98 degrees Fahrenheit. Sound familiar? We shiver to stay warm and sweat to cool off, we have complex organ systems to take in nutrients and to rid our bodies of toxins, we are able to reproduce, to bring new life into the world.

‘my festooning bees’ by Amy Roskilly

So, we can see the hive as a single organism with its own organ systems and metabolic functions; reaching out a hand in either direction to bridge the world of plants to the world of humans. The flowers transform sunlight, rain and the minerals of the earth into ripe nourishing fruit through the assistance of the pollinating bees, each adapting to the other and depending upon the other for the continuance of their species. The honeybee further transforms the nectar and pollen into honey which spills over in such abundance that brings to us the sweetness of the earth to nourish and heal our bodies and the honey scented beeswax to inspire our creative impulses.

thanks Kathleen McKenna

Of all the delightful crafting activities that happen in our home, nothing quite compares to those times when the beeswax melting pot comes out. Whether we’re making candles, ornaments, lip balm, luminaria, or dipping autumn leaves, that pot of slowly melting golden wax brings with it a promise of so much more than the intended finished product. While patience is a virtue, I don’t consider it one of mine, however when we are waiting for the big block of beeswax to melt and the delicate aroma is breathed into the kitchen, I close my eyes and breathe a little deeper and enjoy the wait. Okay look, I’m not a saint–I do poke it once or twice with a chopstick after a while, give it a little stir, turn it over to “help it along” and regardless of my assistance the process patiently progresses and continues to assert it’s peace into the environment of our home. By the time the beeswax is completely melted the previously mentioned dearth of patience has also melted away. The activity that best matches this veil of ethereal peace is to make hand dipped candles. Silence reigns as we take turns dipping our wicks into the rich fluent elixir, our patience deepens to a state of moving meditation, with each dip the candle grows just a little bit. When they are all just right and hanging to cure, we simply smile a smile of satisfaction and peace. If you would like to dip your own beeswax candles here is a link to get you started:
www.ehow.com/how_4719147_make-hand-dipped-beeswax-candles.html

Here is something wonderful to do a little later in the year; after the leaves have all fallen off the trees when the days are getting shorter and colder. Light your beeswax candle after the sun has set and think of a summer afternoon; honeybees humming around the flowers in your garden or the clover in your lawn, think of all that sunlight that has been collected, transmuted, and delivered through the flower, the bee, the human hands to bring warmth and light to a chilly winter night. This would be the perfect time to contemplate, in the glow of the flame, ways to give back to the honeybee. But if you don’t want to wait and would like to do something for the bees now, go to
www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/

And now, some bee-abundance. First, a favorite recipe that has honey in it. Yes, it’s true that this recipe includes an ingredient or two that are not locally grown, but this is such a yummy combination of flavors it demands to be shared.

Honey-Gingered Figs on Chèvre

6 large fresh figs–cut in half lengthwise
2 pink grapefruit, sectioned, integument removed
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T organic honey
2-3 tsp grated fresh ginger
Fresh organic chèvre

Mix lime juice, honey and ginger together, toss with the fruit, chill. Toss again and spoon over slices of chèvre.

Wouldn’t you love to see a luscious photo of this honey-gingered succulence? It seems that the appetite for fresh figs is outpacing the ripening of the fig crop! Well, instead of the finished dish, at the right is a photo taken by my sister Kate this morning (while I was out at the market prematurely searching for figs). Oh, what promise!

Here is a charming and hilarious tutorial about bees from Isabella Rossellini. This link has three little videos that Ms Rossellini made for Burt’s Bees and it is just not possible to watch them without a smile and a warm heart.
www.burtsbees.com/wildforbees.html

Watch this space for more of the good stuff. . . the buzz is that they have more to share.

See you at the movies!

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8 Responses to I can’t stop thinking about bees!

  1. Lorraine says:

    Hey Barb,
    Great job and information on this! So wish I could be there for the movie but I work late on Mondays. But I’m now a follower so best wishes on your launch!
    Love
    Lorraine

  2. As a Newbie, I am constantly searching online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you

  3. Nonie says:

    It is incredible to see how in the space of a month the hives have deloevped totally different characters, and yes as Brian says one hive is vey feisty, and the other much more gentle but now without a queen. It is a temendous learning experience for all of us adults and young people from Global Generation. Each week Brians colourful stories illuminating the science of bees become a reality as we eagerly peer inside our beautiful cedar hives to record the amount of nectar, larvae, capped brood and honey. This week there was enough honey for a mini harvest and we also discovered about six queen cells on one of the frames. So it looks like there’s a battle ahead, as they work out which one will rule the hive.

    • Krishna says:

      Hi Varsham! Any clean water source will do. Standing water is preefrred and you should give the bees something to land on, floating sticks or something similar would keep drowned bees to a minimum! 20 is not too far either, you don’t need to set anything right next to the hive, the bees will find it

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    • Maria says:

      Yeah, I have to assemble the hives now. But first I’m going to trace the picees so I can cut my own make second hive my self and save some cash. Buying all the pre-cut materials and having them sent to Newfoundland isn’t cheap. I’ll probably build the hives this weekend.

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