Friday, July 10, 2009

Lavender Blooms = Luscious Honey!

Years ago, Stasia and Glenn traveled through Provence in mid-July at the height of the lavender harvest. We brought back a few seeds and started our own 'field', a few plants to remind us of that magical week in France. Since then, we've planted more and our own harvest, on an infinitely smaller scale, is under way.

Our lavender is in full bloom now, sending up tall spikes of fragrant flowering buds. The honeybees and bumble bees are hard at work moving up and down the rows lighting on a flower for a brief moment before moving to the next spike. The soft buzzing drifting through the mounds is something to behold.

We use our lavender in our infused lavender honey, combining the dried buds with our wildflower honey to make a uniquely flavored treat. This year we're also selling fresh bunches of lavender at our farm market venues. And, we make several wonderfully rich handcrafted soaps and a skin cream, each with the relaxing scent of pure lavender. Together, they spell July in Connecticut!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Finest Honey Yet

Okay, as the beekeeper we may be a bit partial but this year's honey crop is the best tasting honey our bees have ever made (well at least for the last 10 years)! Never seen our honey as 'white' (or light) as this year's crop. While we've had a pretty extensive and lengthy clover bloom it seems like a significant amount of honey came from the incredible bloom from the black locust, a tree that exploded with creamy white/yellow flowers for about 10 days in early June. Along every major road we traveled the normally low key locust flaunted its dense pea-flower clusters, and really popped out from the deciduous crowd it hangs with.

Some reports suggest up to a third of one's honey crop in Connecticut can come from the locust tree. The book, ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture, by A. I. Root, describes locust honey as "water white with a mild flavor and good body... bringing premium prices due to its high quality." This was the best bloom of locust in at least the past ten years and is dependent upon good weather; rain or cold weather can end the bloom prematurely. Amazing, that with all the rain we've experienced this spring and early summer, our window of good weather came just as the locust came into flower.

Some of the hives had frames of wild raspberry honey too! Pinkish in color and tasting like raspberry syrup its taste can still be detected when blended with the other frames of white honey collected thus far. We look forward to bringing in more tasty honey in the weeks ahead as the bees finish the ripening of this year's honey.

Dogs Gone!

What a fun litter this one was! With only four puppies we saw a very different dynamic: less sibling rivalry and more 'brotherly love'. Usually in the last weeks we have them the noise level from the whelping box grows as the puppies begin to explore the social framework of being canines. There's a lot of ear biting, tug-o-war, and chase play as puppies learn to live and play with others. In this smaller litter, there was less competition and a calmer atmosphere.

Our last two pups to go, Mo and Eenie, both males, found themselves going home with loving families. Eenie moved west... to Glenmont, NY (near Albany) and Mo went East... all 15 miles to Waterford, CT. Alas, shortly after they left we had several calls from others looking to take Mo or Eenie home. As usual, we plan to have a late Fall litter and the story will go on...