Tuesday, September 22, 2009

because Amanda said she missed my updates. ;)

We're in a bit of a holding pattern.  Wine is aging, the garden is having a short rest before the winter planting, and the bees are abuzz.  Last Saturday a group of us went up to hike Sibley Park to celebrate the last weekend of Summer.  It was amazing to see the views - last trip it was so fogged in! 

Last Friday I took a case of honey to work.  Fridays are the quietest day on the campus.   I sent out an email to all users and said "$10 per jar, stop by" and went about my work, no where near the computer.  Within a few minutes I had my first customer (that wasn't in my department!) asking for three jars.  I was floored.  I wasn't sure I'd sell any in my remote and locked room, and suddenly I wondered if I had enough! 

In under two hours, all jars were sold!  The final one was spoken for - one of my instructors wanted it, but was in class.  I teased him later "could have sold your jar for $50!"  I had a stream of emails from folks asking me to save a jar for them, send one to our sister campus, sell on Thursdays when they are on campus, etc.  Wow!  I created a honey list of folks to contact first next time I have some honey to sell.

It was a great experience overall.  I put a picture of the girls up on my computer screen so folks could "meet" the bees that brought them honey.  People were interested in knowing more about the bees and the honey.   I was surprised to see one person coming in that has always called honey "bee vomit".  I laughed as he walked in and asked for a jar.  He was buying for a friend, but still insists it's bee vomit.  Being on a college campus, there's frequently a divide between administration, faculty, and staff.  It was nice to see how the honey literally sweetened things.  Some folks brought the honey as gifts, which flatters and amazes me.  Yes, I think it's the best honey ever, but I'm pretty biased! 

A few days later and I'm still getting emails from "can I buy some" to "I'll pay you now for honey later!" and "can I come pick my honey up now?"  We've got interest for another case, easily.  I had one person write to tell me she and her husband loved the honey, and she'd like to get a jar for her son.  I'm all smiles. 

Barbara asked a question about my neighbors on a recent post.  A picture is worth a thousand words in answering... 

I live in an urban environment, and my hive is steps from my front door.  That said - I'm in an in-law type house, which helps give me a lot of privacy.  The bee hive is where the bright blue square is located. 

My neighbors on the NE side have a shed right there, and a dog run along our common fence.  The neighbor that is in my "front yard" does not use his back yard - he's actually offered to let us use it for a second garden.  My neighbors on the SW are also my landlords.  ;)  They do know completely, I went to them for their blessing before we set up the hive.  (we had bought it - we had a back up set up plan!)  I remember asking - the first question I got was "do we get any honey?"  They called a few days later to say, yes, hive ok!  Their cautious yes turned into overall enthusiasm after harvesting.  Turns out their daughter adores honey.  They are calling her a honey bear.  :) 

The big safety concern now is after the kids next door saw us in our jackets they want to see more!  Our first harvest, they ran back a few times, with us gently shooing them away.  They are usually totally respectful of the different spaces, but I think the appeal of weird looking clothes was too much!  For the second harvest we latched the fence between us to keep them away.  I'm happy to share the honey, but the last thing I want is an unsuspecting person being stung. 

On the horizon - we're melting wax slowly and surely.  One more harvest is planned before the end of the season.  We need to clean some bottles and rack wine.  The fall garden needs planting.  The heel of the sock I'm working on is almost turned.  And I need to find a cycling jacket!  Things are good. 

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