Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring EGG-quinox Retreat

EGGS-tra Credit Math EGGS-am:
EGGS-plain how 2 moms + 2 daughters = 3 EGGS-traordinary women!

Because our EGGS-cellent organizer stayed home EGGS-pectorating, it was not EGGS-actly the retreat we EGGS-pected..
but we did EGGS-perience an EGGS-tra special EGG decorating EGGS-travaganza!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bee-gining With Bees

Debra Tyler and Heidi Lindberg

Both backyard bee keepers.
They each had hive that had died over the winter and opened them up for us to see inside.
Debra's hive is hexagonal while Heidi's is the traditional rectangular shape.

They showed us how to put on a bee suit and use a hive tool. Heidi uses a full bee suit as she is allergic to bee stings. Debra uses a bee hat and gloves but not the full suit. While the adults were going through the hive the kids had the option to either participate or color at a nearby table using bees wax crayons. Because honey naturally kills bacteria nobody minded dipping their fingers in for a taste.

At one side of the room Debra and Heidi each had a table set up with their favorite bee books and tools.
Debra's table.
Heidi's table.
After we had finished going though the hive we put together a starter hive kit that Heidi had brought with her.

Debra had some frames to put together as well.

When we were done with the building projects for the day we went outside for a quick lesson on smokers.

Heidi burns dried pine needles in her smoker.

Debra burns a verity of stuff. Sage, Sumac and cardboard.
Then we went back inside and and talked about getting a package of bees and queen cages.

A potluck lunch was enjoyed by every one.

After lunch we made hand dipped beeswax candles.

For more Motherhouse events go to

Bee Sources and Resources

Better STICK with me, HONEY!!!

Sources of live bees seem few and far between this year:
Usually one can find a few ads of bees for sale in the CT Weekly Agricultural Report. This year, there's only one: Maggie and Jim Grey of Riverside Apiary in Marlborough, CT (860-295-8972). They are expecting a truckload of bee packages around April 26. They charge $86/package. The March 27 truckload has been sold out already. They may also sell nucs at $106 each, starting April 10. Debra would love to coordinate car-pooling to pick up of packages. If there are others interested in making an order, please call her SOON. 860-672-0229. Another possible source of packaged bees is Rollin Hannan of Hannan Honey, LLC at 480 Hulls Hill Road - Southbury, CT 06488. Phone: (203) 264-7005.

Packages and nucs can be ordered in January from (800-632-3379) and then picked up in Greewich, NY from the end of April through the end of May. (508-882-3336) sells nucs only from his place in Oakham, MA (about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Cornwall.) Order early in the year for pick-up in May. Chris Harp of New Paltz, NY may also sell nucs but is difficult to get in touch with. Rossman Apiaries in Georgia will send packages of bees via the mail but again, one must order very early in the year. Vera ordered hers through They are located in Millerton,PA (800-233-4273) and ship UPS. Their very busy website includes daily blog entries about their bee business and a constantly changing photo display taken from inside a living, working bee hive.

Heidi's favorite supply source Bushy Mountain Bee Farm out of NC, where one can order an 8 frame English Country Hive. She also highly recommends The CT Beekeepers Association at: They are a fine resource for hands-on classes and information. Other resources she recommends include:,,,, and what she describes as a "funky little site with interesting info on skeps:"

Debra buys bee-keeping supplies from in NY. For more "esoteric" beekeeping, she recommends classes through Chris Harp's site:
Plans for a top-bar hive body similar to the one Todd has built can be found through the Barefoot Beekeeper at

Juliette de Bairacli Levi's recipe for BEE TEA is from the 9th chapter of her Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm and Stable (link to Amazon's book description). It is to be used more as a tonic than their sole source of food.

Heat but do not boil:
***1/2 cup finely chopped sage
***1 pint water
for 20 minutes. Let cool until tepid. Strain out sage. Stir in:
***4Tbsp. honey
***1/4 tsp. salt
***1 cup apple cider (or wine) vinegar

Nancy asked for our honey bun recipe so here it is: (adapted from the Joy of Cooking's overnight roll recipe)
Combine and let stand 3 to 5 minutes:
***1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
***2 tsp. sugar
***2Tbsp. warm water (105-115degreesF)
***1 cup milk
Stir in:
***7Tbsp. lard or butter
Cool. Combine and beat well:
***7Tbsp. sugar
***3 beaten eggs
***1 tsp. salt
Stir in the milk and yeast mixtures. Add:
***4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Beat dough 5 minutes. Place in foil-covered bowl in refrigerator overnight. Take out just before baking. Roll out dough in oval shape. Brush with honey glaze. Roll up dough like a jelly roll. Slice 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Crowd slices in greased 9 1/2 X 13 inch baking pan. Let rise until double in bulk. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour on remaining honey glaze and bake 45 minutes or until done.
***1/3 cup sugar
***1/3 cup butter
Blend in:
***2 unbeaten egg whites
***2/3 cups honey
***1tsp. cinnamon
Spread on dough before rolling. Then drizzle the rest over your rolls just before baking.