Adding the clearer board with 2 Porter-style bee escapes.
Brushing bees off honey frames I’m about to pilfer isn’t fun for anyone. The bees get testy, I get buzzed, and by the time I’ve cleared bees off all the frames in a box, everyone’s beyond foul in mood. Waiter, make that a double!
That’s why I simply adore the bee escape, aka “clearer board”. What is a bee escape, you ask? It’s essentially a one-way valve that allows bees to leave but doesn’t let ‘em back in. Perfect for clearing a box of honey with minimal stress to me and the bees.
[Here's a diagram of the original Porter bee escape.]
So how do you use it? Oh do allow me, darlings. Continue reading
Beekeepers on swarm duty this spring, it’s time for a drink. Vámonos!
Recipe from: http://wiki.webtender.com/wiki/Canchánchara
- 1.5 oz of raw rum
- 0.5 oz of honey
- 0.5 oz of lemon juice
- 1 oz of water
- 2 oz of cracked ice
Pour the honey and the lemon juice into the glass and stir until the honey has dissolved. Add the rum, the ice and the water and stir.
Toasted Sesame Honey Ice-Cream
Lucky beekeepers (and those we love) have more honey stashed away than the modern world knows what to do with. Personally, I keep a collection of high-honey-use recipes like this one to burn up excess honey.
Toasted Sesame & Honey Ice Cream
Inspired by the flavors of honey halva, I’ve adapted this recipe from David Lebowitz’ basic vanilla recipe. It pairs ridiculously well with these sumptuous chocolate tahini cakes. Even better, the entire combination is gluten-free.
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup honey (I like amber honey here, but if you’re omitting the sesame for some reason, use light honey instead.)
1/3 cup white sesame seeds
pinch of salt (IMHO, salt is key in this recipe as it balances the honey by adding warmth)
- Toast the sesame seeds until lightly colored. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the egg yolks and honey in a large bowl, blending until thick and pale yellow. This may take a couple of minutes.
- Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. In the dry bowl, pour the cup of heavy cream. You’ll come back to this bowl in a few minutes.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan just until it barely boils. Gradually pour some of the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
- Strain the custard into the bowl with heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add a pinch of salt, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
- Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A couple minutes before the ice-cream is complete, add the toasted sesame seeds.
This here’s a little tale about how we supered our top bar hive. Yep, I hear the purists cringing and the aesthetes too. And they’re right — we’ve got a Frankenstein on our hands.
All super-ed up and ready to grow
Why did we do it?
The Kerry hive is full beyond belief — every bar is packed with honey, pollen, and fresh worker brood. No matter how many bars I harvest, the girls are drawing more within a short week or two and showing no signs of a slow down. It’s a full house.
So, rather than fight the gift of a madly productive hive, we’re rolling with it.
How did we do it?
First, let me admit it’s all my partner’s idea.
He’s obsessed with Langstroth hives and secretly bought a couple to “experiment with.” Next thing I know, I hear myself saying it’s OK to add Langstroth honey supers to a top bar hive which, were I sober or not in love with him, I’d have thought the most perverse of sins.
So here’s what we did:
- Remove one bar from the back of the hive
- Cut spacers about 3/8 inch (enough to allow “bee space”)
- Put spacers between bars at the back of the hive
- Place an empty super on top of the spaced bars at the back of the hive
- To provide evenness for a cover, place an empty super at the front of the hive (there’s no space yet between the bars underneath this super)
- Place a cover on top of both supers
And here’s the photo essay version…
Despite quite convincing threats, the Kerry hive never swarmed. And you know what that means — HONEY.
Mighty tasty light Spring honey from my "Fringecrest" neighborhood in Albuquerque
Over the past couple days, I’ve harvested 25 pounds of fragrant Spring honey from the Kerry hive whose occupants gave up swarming in favor of foraging. Every bar but two in that hive was filled with either honey, brood, or pollen which means my kitchen has been sacrificed to the honey gods for a full-time straining operation.
I’m out of strainers, I’m out of jars. And yet the honey still flows.
To some it’s a chili-laden hot dog from The Dog House. To others, it’s anything covered in chopped green from Frontier or a bowl of posole on Christmas Eve (Ay dios mio, even Rachael Ray has a posole recipe).
To the 30,000 honeybees living in my backyard, Albuquerque quite literally tastes like flowers. Continue reading