Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two honey recipes, and some honey facts :)

Honey Egg Shampoo
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons liquid soap
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon witch hazel
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon wheat germ oil or almond oil
1 tablespoon rosewater or cologne

Place all the ingredients in a screw top jar, cover and shake well. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Honey-Pollen Shampoo
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup glycerin
1 tablespoon witch hazel
1/4 cup orange flower water or cologne
2 tablespoons bee pollen
1 teaspoon liquid soap
1 tablespoon alcohol

Place the ingredients in a screw top jar, cover and shake well. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Did you know…?

• Honey is antimicrobial due to its high sugar content, low pH and the presence of organic acids (Use it to treat cuts, scrapes and burns as well as to prevent scarring!

• Local honey may help treat your allergies!
• Honey is high in carbohydrates and is therefore a great energy source.
• Honey contains the vitamins B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
• Honey contains the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.
• The natural antioxidants found in honey are chrysin, pinobanskin, vitamin C, catalase and pinocembrin.
• Unprocessed honey contains enzymes that are considered essential for good health!
• Generally, darker honeys and those with higher water content have stronger antioxidant potential. The antioxidants identified thus far in honey are pinocembrin, pinobanksin, chrysin and galagin. Pinocembrin is unique to honey and found in the highest amount relative to the others. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), catalase and selenium are also present.
• Honey is used as a hair and facial treatment due to the fact that it attracts and retains moisture.
• Honey never goes "bad". It is slightly acidic and, therefore, not conducive for bacterial growth.
• Honey is the only food produced by insects that is eaten by man!
• Honey is good and it is good for you - it belongs in your medicine cabinet as well as your cupboard!

Colors of Honey

White Color is from Clovers and Alfalfas
Very Light Amber Color is from Wildflowers
Light Amber Color is from Orange Blossoms
Plain Amber Color is from Buckwheats, Tupelos and Others.
The colors of honey comes from the nectar of the plants.
The lightest colors of honey have the mildest flavors, while the darker colors have fuller flavors.

from this website.

Inspire Me Thursday Entry

Sandstone cliffs, Pescadero Beach, California
Sandstone cliffs, Pescadero Beach, California

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To the gardeners and beekeepers: Ecoregional Planting Guides

Pollinator Partnership:

Saw this site today and thought I'd pass it on. Lots of good information!
Additionally, you can get a free personalized guide to selecting the right plants for pollinators in your region.

Once, I lived in Provence.

A dear friend recently scanned in lots of pictures she had in albums, and this got me wishing I could a) find my pictures, and b) scan and clean them up for posterity. I've got several VHS tapes that need the same attention.

When cleaning out the garage a few weeks ago, I found some pictures I've been thinking about for a long time. To my delight, they were all together in one little package. I scanned them at work the other day. They still need cleaning up, but I was so happy to see them again it doesn't matter, for the moment. There are more photos, but these were in the little found bundle.

They don't do the experience any justice, mind you, they're just inexperienced shots taken in 1993. But they mean so much:

Side street, Arles - I didn't live in Arles, but went through on my 'pilgrimage' to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer (pictures that need to be scanned) and the tomb of the Maries, home of Saint Sara la Kali and pilgrimage sight of the Romani.

Arles is where Van Gogh had his famous studio, where he painted his Sunflowers. When I lived in the area, a large exhibit was being presented where hundreds of school children painted their versions of his Sunflower paintings - they were hung all over the outside of the building.


There was a lovely (and very peaceful) view from the apartment I shared in Avignon. I didn't live here very long, only two weeks, as I was waiting for my new job to start. The placement firm allowed me to live in a little apartment they had in their offices. As long as I stayed out of sight during business hours, I could stay rent-free. Not a problem. :)

A place very near and dear to my heart. I lived in Isle sur la Sorgue, a famous Provencal market and antiques town. The family I worked for (family helper, artist assistant) owned a compound. The extended family lived and worked here together. They sold trout and goat cheese to the public.

I miss them a lot sometimes.


Milou, one of the many dogs who lived on the property. These are the canals where the trout were farmed, and the tracks are for the wagons that carried the fish out into 'other places.' ;) When a canal was cleaned (both of fish and of dirt), all the kids (including me, the 25 year old kid) were told what canal number was open and we could swim in it until late afternoon (or until our lips turned blue, whichever came first). In 110 degree heat, it was HEAVEN to hear the kids run by the house screaming 'HUIT! HUIT!' or some such number.

Wow, great photography skills, I tell you. :P
Anyway, this is where I get a little misty, as I have two pictures of the house where I lived. Here is the entrance way, and it is in every way perfect to the memory I hold of it. Whenever I walked up that staircase, I felt taller, sager.

Anyway, underneath these steps, and under part of the house, ran a lovely creek. It provided not only fresh water but a very cool and very accommodating cellar for the incredible goat cheeses made there.

Wish it were clearer, but maybe when I work on all of these I can clean and enlarge them as well. I loved working with these goats. They made the most wonderful goat cheese, flavored with the blackberries they ate all day.


OH this picture brings back so many good memories. I smile as I look at it. My room was the top right hand window.

I must get this one framed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.

Hive Urania, Hive Terpsichore’s sister hive, was ready for harvest last weekend (Sunday, July 12 was the big day). It really was unbelievable, but not because we doubted the bees, but because we were told (by various Guild members, library books, blogs, etc.) not to expect much (if at all) of a honey harvest the first year.

It’s hard for me to think of words to describe the experience, so I’d like to share pictures, a little video, and words as they ‘transpire’.

Cliché it may be, but ‘words fail’.

The adventure

New equipment: Extractor, capping tub, extra frames, sieve.

The hose was set to ‘mist’, the smoker was set, and armed with bunches of rosemary, oregano, and/or lavender (to brush bees, it’s best to use plants instead of brushes and/or leather), we all had our stations.

Jennifer and Mark lifted the heavy, honey –laden supers (one at a time) and placed them on the table. (keep in mind, there are four honey supers here, and we only harvested two of them)

The best tool, the one that lifts heavy, honey filled frames from the super.

a frame completely full of the most gorgeously golden honey!!

Brushing the bees gently from the frame with branches.

And then...

Each frame was brought to the capping tub. Another ingenious tool awaited us there, a simple screw on a piece of wood, allowing the frame to balance over the tub without crushing any of the honey and allowing a smooth capping ‘experience’. And experience it was!! This video is only about 16 seconds long, but it captures much of the beauty of the moment:

The extractor we have only takes three frames at a time, so after they are loaded in:

The crank is turned rapidly, much like a giant salad spinner. :)

Frames emerge free of most of the honey! The almost-empty frames are left out for the bees to clean.

The honey pours out from a spout into a sieved bucket.

In all, a bit over five gallons of honey was collected, and a large amount of gorgeous beeswax.
Five gallons=about 60 pounds of honey!

To be continued…but until then, Viva Hive Urania!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SO much to share, and it must wait until after work tonight! But honey was harvested on Sunday, and it was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. Many pictures and words forthcoming.

Happy Day!

(closeup of a bee from Terpsichore hive)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Am taking it a bit slowly tonight, just staying quiet. Today was a work day with lots of ups and downs so slow and peaceful is the goal tonight. :)

But what a joy to see this beauty this morning, the first of my beloved Dahlias this year!

These have been growing for 4 years now, with only one experiment of taking them out of the ground in the winter. Their gorgeous coloring and elegant leaves never cease to amaze me.

I'd like to experiment with pruning, so as to enlarge the blooms, but that takes much more time than I have to devote, so I do the best I can. Now, if someone could only show me how to keep Begonias in my area, I'd be very, very grateful! Enjoy your evening. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm due to post some pictures and updates. Hopefully in the next day or two (need to get the camera out too - forgot it today). I've been enjoying watching members of Terpsichore hive sitting and 'sipping' from the lion fountain. It's really sweet!

Went up to San Francisco with Seeds in the City yesterday, and visited a brand new beekeeping/honey store, Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper. What an absolutely beautiful place! I really wish her all the best, and look forward to future visits there. Have a look at her blog - she's just started it, but there are pictures of her beautiful store.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I've just moved here...

Hello all,

It's hard to be inside at my desk when the light over the fields is so incredibly luminous. I want to be out there with my camera! The fields leading up to campus are turning that soft golden yellow and there are whisps of fog straying through an almost-blue sky. The effect of the bright sun shining through this is incandescant.

Anyway, just a quick note to say that I've just moved to Blogspot from Wordpress. I've migrated a few posts over here, but if you'd like to see the past posts, please feel free to visit:

Happy Wednesday!