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What I Want to Do When I Grow Up

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

gardening

gardening

What do I want to do when I grow up?

My answer always was

Grow flowers and herbs,

Make wreaths and such

But bees and chickens?

Not even a thought!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

For many, many,  years, as a second grade teacher, I did a get-to-know-you activity with my students during the first week of school.  We designed All About Me T-shirts (on paper), adding different pictures and details about ourselves, to share with other classmates.  One section was to draw a picture of what they wanted to do when they grew up.  I always did a shirt design, too, and the kids thought it was funny that I drew something for “what I want to do when I grow up”.  I explained to them, that mine referred to when I retired, and could choose what I wanted to do with that part of my life.  What did I draw?  – always something to represent herbs,  flowers, and wreaths.  I saw myself growing herbs and making dried arrangements and wreaths with my herbs and everlasting flowers – something I loved doing, but just never seemed to have time for while teaching.

chickweed to harvest

chickweed to harvest

So here I am, 2 years retired, and what do I find myself doing?  I’m out in the garden, planting and weeding and harvesting herbs and flowers!  But not for making wreaths and dried arrangements.  Instead, it’s for use use in our BEEpothecary products, to compliment the amazing bee propolis!  It hit me today, as I was out harvesting lemon balm, oregano,  calendula, comfrey, lovage, thyme, mint and yarrow,  that I AM doing pretty much what I said I wanted to do when I grew up!  Pretty cool!  Of course the beekeeping and making beehive products were not even a blip on the radar when I was teaching.  The beehive products and a business to boot, not even an idea in our minds when we first got bees!  We just wanted pollination for our gardens and some honey!  Little did we know that some reading and research would lead us in this direction.  Our BEEpothecary adventure is an exciting, unanticipated addition to this next phase of life.

I’ve used herbs myself medicinally, for years, when doctors couldn’t help me or traditional medicine didn’t work.  And I’ve grown herbs and flowers for decades, but never really did much with them, because I just didn’t have time.  The harvest usually came in late August, right when I was heading back to the grind of getting ready for a new school year.  This year, with a great

Starting our herb infused oils

Starting our herb infused oils

A big batch of lemon balm in olive oil

A big batch of lemon balm in olive oil

spring and summer of warmth and rain, I ‘ve been able to harvest my herbs once already,  and today – a beautiful 75 degrees – I was able to harvest them a second time.  And Laurie has quite a garden going, from which we will get even more herbs to use.   It’s a good thing, too, since our business has grown to the point that we are now making 5 gallon pickle buckets full of herb-infused oils!  We’re going to need a lot to get us through the winter months!  It gives me great satisfaction to be able to use these natural treasures to make useful skin care and health products that others can benefit from.  Making things from something you have helped grow with your own hands and sweat and toil, is quite satisfying.  And working with God’s bountiful and beautiful creations – the plants and the bees and the animals –  always leaves me awestruck.

Now tomorrow, the plan is to clean out the chicken coop, after practicing the deep bedding method all fall and winter and spring – which means nine

chickens?

chickens?

months of layers of straw, chicken poop, wood shavings and more chicken poop.  Now this task should be interestingly awful –  but awestruck, NO!  I will be donning my muck boots and gloves and probably a mask to do this!  But I guess it is the price to pay after benefiting from God’s little chickens and their yummy eggs for all these months.  I’ll let you know if I survive!

 

 

 

Jeremiah 29

10This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.

11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

14I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

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Third Honey Harvest – Whoo-hoo!

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Family fun

Harvesting honey together.

Blessed by bees’ labor

We seek to be good stewards.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

Unbelievably, when we did an early fall inspection, we found a ton of honey again, in our hives!  Guess it is from the goldenrod nectar flow.  We were able to harvest a little more than a whole 10 frame box.  Our adult children wanted to see how the extraction was done, so this time, we did it with them, in our own kitchen.  Nate came down one evening when his new wife was at work (night shift nurse). Our youngest daughter, Bekah was home for several months raising support for her missionary work in Mexico.  She wanted to be able to share this experience with her Mexican family and church!  So we initiated them into the fun of processing honey from our hives.

Nate tries out the uncapping knife
Nate tries out the uncapping knife
Bekah uncapping
Bekah uncapping
Nate taking a turn at cranking.
Nate taking a turn at cranking.

Nate tried out the uncapping knife first and managed to burn himself!  I told him to put honey on it, and he said it was hot honey that burned him in the first place – why would he want to put honey on it!  Bekah put 2 uncapped frames into the extractor and started cranking.  We all took turns cranking, uncapping, wiping up drippy messes, and of course, tasting!  We ended up with about 2/3 of a pickle bucket of honey, plus what would drain from the cappings.   Some people have told us they don’t like goldenrod honey, but we found it just as good as the earlier summer honey.  It does have a funny smell, but tastes yummy!

Harvest #3,Sept. 2013
Harvest #3,Sept. 2013

The Dotsons went out to check their hives after our luck, and they were able to harvest almost a full frame of honey as well.  They, too, initiated their adult children into the harvesting process!

Sweet delicious raw honey
Sweet delicious raw honey

We bottled about 30 pounds of honey from this harvest, and still left honey for the bees for winter.  These amazing creatures had provided us with three harvests of honey in our second year totaling about 115 pounds!  Now if we can just get them through the winter!

Psalm 78

23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above
    and opened the doors of the heavens;
e rained down manna for the people to eat,
    he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Human beings ate the bread of angels;
    he sent them all the food they could eat.