Post #5 from our mini-vacation to my aunt’s farm in New Hampshire.

Beekeeping is not as totally terrifying as I thought it would be! I’m not afraid of bees, nor am I allergic to them, but I’m a total wuss when it comes to pain, and so the idea of keeping hives of insects with nasty little stingers did not sound terribly appealing to me before now. But I did it! I suited up and stood in the bee house while my aunt pulled out frames and checked for brood, and showed me the different parts of the hive.

I have recently been trying to pare down what I eat normally to things I (or animals I own) could conceivably produce. Some things are easy: we already grow veggies and mushrooms, for example, so I incorporate them readily into my cooking. Sweeteners, though, are tricky.

I don’t use a lot of sugar in my cooking. In fact, I’d say I really only use it when I bake, so I don’t really need to keep white sugar around. I love the idea of making foods entirely from my own homestead, and I do love honey. And if I imagine substituting honey for all the places I’d normally use white sugar… Yum. So, I’m definitely intrigued.

Plus, bees do more than just make honey. Her bee house is right in her garden, so there’s no shortage of pollinating insects throughout the growing season. Even now in October, they’re still hard at work, though there’s little left for them to gather. We already plant flowers to encourage pollinators to show up in our garden. I’d love to give them a warm and safe year-round accommodation, too!

The winters in New Hampshire are cold, and the bees need plenty of their own honey to get through it. My aunt’s hives have a special “overflow” section so that, if the bees fill up the frames that they’ll need for the winter, she may be able to gather the extra they produce. This year, there was no extra, but I’m glad she’d rather the hive survive rather than take all their stores and leave them to starve.

So, I’m sold. We can’t get bees yet since we’re renting a place in the city, but as soon as we’ve got some land, we’re going to get some hives of our own!

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