Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good Earth Farm Bees

 It's getting cold here...but the girls still wanted to walk to Good Earth Farm, 20 minutes down the bike path from us, so we improvised a wagon (double stroller) to carry the box of jars, the pot of rice and our usual supplies, and we were off.  We paused on the bridge to watch a deer bound through the woods across the river, followed by another deer who was walking, and making the loudest (only?) sound I've ever heard from a deer - a sort of honking bellow.  Either it was wounded (bow hunting season is on right now) or in rut.  Very interesting...
 After getting things set up for the day - kitchen supplies carried into the house, alternate indoor activities for the sitting room, in case the morning proved too cold for much outdoors time, bins for the childrens' clothes and waterbottles from home - we walked over to the pig pen to share a bag of acorns we'd collected for them.
 The sound of pigs crunching acorns is really something!
The morning circle time around the fire was really nice.  Some of the children left last week thinking of their ancestors and a couple had brought things to share with us...a pair of pajamas sewn by a great-great-great-aunt, passed down to a boy from his dad; a tea pot from a gramma; some incense to burn at our altar.
 Then time to gather for the walk!  I heard many stories about the tree they all made from their own bodies...I may have to ask for a demonstration of that! 
 Meanwhile, those of us left behind got to work preparing lunch and cracking and cleaning walnuts and buckeyes for candle-making.
 Wicks are ready, waiting to be filled with beeswax...
 The children return, and some go with Farmer Dan to harvest turnips and search for eggs.  Others choose between lunch prep - chopping veggies, grating cheese, grinding nuts - and lunch clean up.
 After lunch, after cleanup, after fort play and some indoor track building with dominoes, we all headed to the large shed to learn about the bees that the farmers keep.
 Frames, full of honey

 Cutting off the beeswax "caps" of the cells, to expose the honey

 Hey, look! It's me! I'm at Farm School too!!

Cutting caps is harder than it looks; you want to preserve the cells so the bees can still use them.  It takes a lot of work and energy to create those hives.
 Farmer Kyle dressed up to show us what he wears to protect himself from the bees.  Below is what he used to wear - very minimal gear - before  he had to be rushed to the hospital from too many stings on his hands.
 The kids got to load the extractor with the frames and spin them to extract the honey.  It was all moving quite slowly this day; because it was so cold, the honey was really thick!
 The pouring of beeswax for the candles had to be done by an adult, unfortunately, also because it was so cold the wax was hardening between the stove and the table!
 To run off some of the honey high we had from munching on the honied waxy caps, we went to see the hives.  We wound our way down through the woods to the altar we started creating last week, and that's where we held our closing circle.
 Sharing highlights of the day - Eliza is about the 7th to admit tasting honey was the best part!

Honey to take home.

1 comment:

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

Goodness! I can hardly read your farm posts without bursting with jealousy. (to be perfectly honest!) It just sounds and looks so perfect. I am so glad your family is having this experience, and it plants a small seed within me...

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