Sunday, October 30, 2011
It was time for a road trip. Now this trip just so happened to head south down to Alvinston. Our bee club was booked to have a tour of a large beekeeping plant at Munro Honey, a family based business.
Here's photos and descriptions from our tour. If you're a small time beekeeper this can certainly get your saliva running. Just think of it as something to aspire to :)
Let's start with the Mead, honey wine. Munro honey makes award winning wines that they ship all over the world. They said they can't ship to the USA but they can ship overseas.
This way each jar is filled identically.
It was interesting to note that with a plant this large they still fill their jars one at a time. But one does have to have something left for the Christmas wish list :)
Munro Honey runs about 3,000 hives. In addition to honey they sell comb honey, wax, mite resistant Buckfast queens and nucs as well as beekeeping supplies.
I couldn't resist a painted wall hanging that said:
"Buzzed on Local Honey"
Their gift shop is well stocked with tasteful items, most of them bee related.
The honey can sit to bubble out for a few days.
Then it goes into this large heated tank and from there it can be piped to any number of machines or bottlers by turning a valve.
Next we looked at a heated tank that holds a few gallons of honey ...
well maybe more than a few gallons.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
So when I get any chance to talk to families about honey bees I pretty much feel like I'm in the zone. That's when at the end of the day I may be physically tired but mentally I feel energized.
Fall of the Farm at Pioneer Village over the long weekend was just that kind of an opportunity.
Every time I see a child less afraid of bees or parents with a deeper understanding of them I feel I've done my job.
Then there's the Marketing Manager (Dad).
So all weekend he was in his niche telling people about bees and doing the honey talk. He proudly told people how he does the extraction and bottling of the honey.
Here he is so busy tabulating his sales that he didn't realize I'd been talking to him. He didn't know I took this picture either.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
If you're in or around London, Ontario this (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, 8 to 10 Oct, why not come out to Pioneer Village.
They're holding a Fall on the Farm weekend with hay rides and pioneering demonstrations such as weaving, ploughing and of course Beekeeping!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
So wearing the same socks on day two I guess you can imagine how embarrassed I was when I went to a meeting at a friend's house where we were expected to remove our shoes. Yikes! I do have painful feet and don't go without footwear so I convinced her to let me keep them on. It wouldn't be good to have people passing out all over the place.
By now you're wondering what my stinky feet have to do with bees. Well, a lot actually. Let me explain.
This summer was quite hot with many very humid days (London, Ontario is in the Great Lakes area which bring moist air). Many days were 40 degrees Celcius and our city even set up cooling shelters for citizens.
I realized I needed to ask an experienced beekeeper what AFB smelled like.
Uh oh. Could he smell my feet? I asked him to repeat what he'd said. "The bee yard smells like stinky socks this time of year," he said. "It's the Goldenrod."
I had the AHA moment then and my mind flashed back to the Introductory Beekeepers' Course. I had heard this before but had forgotten. The instructors mentioned how the fall goldenrod honey tasted fabulous but you had to suffer the smell of it.
I was relieved. I don't know what made me more happy, knowing they weren't commenting on my feet or that my yard didn't have AFB.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
My beekeeper friend Janice and I did a road trip With Carlo earlier this summer to our favourite beekeeping supply store. We helped him load up with all the first time beekeeping equipment. Hive parts, bottom boards, veils, helmets, etc. He bought one hive to start and planned to put it on his property.
On the drive home we talked about bees. We also chatted about our interest in the skills and trades of bygone days such as cheese making, sausage making, etc. Carlo told us about his family and relatives in Italy and the uncle that kept bees.
It was his uncle's influence that had captured Carlo's imagination and put him on the path to becoming a beekeeper.
And now sadly I must report that on 21 August 2011, Carlo, at age 51, died suddenly from a heart attack. I send my dearest condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed. Carlo was close with his family and spoke of them with love and admiration.
I am glad I had an opportunity to meet him. There are few people willing to talk about bees for hours but Carlo well understood how beekeepers become obsessed about bees.
Carlo's back yard will hear the buzz of bees. His oldest son has decided to follow in his father's footsteps and become a beekeeper. It would appear the apple does not fall too far from the tree. And we all know who pollinates those blossoms.
Carlo would like that.