Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh honey.....

As desperate as things are here with our current drought, at least our bees are able to produce something for the farm. Yesterday Keith and I harvested, extracted, filtered, bottled and labeled 51 bottles of  thick sweet honey.

I did the bottling as the sun was setting bringing the internal kitchen temp down from 103 to a brisk 99. At least the honey was easy to pour at that temp.! Not sure why our  bees are doing so well, neighbors are reporting increased hive deaths overall. I'd like to think having them located so close to my secret garden and the water supply in our bird bath might have something to do with it.

Or maybe they are just a super hardy group of worker bees.

Flowers in the fields are practically nil as plants struggle to survive but my secret garden flowers are thriving since I crammed them really close together, their foliage keeping sun rays from drying out the ground completely.  Credit is not due to me though as no planning was involved. I remember clearly being too tired to plant in neat rows so I pretty much just threw whole packages of seeds into nearby holes. Master gardener? Hardly.

The dining room table son Jason made for me...
always comes in handy for our farm projects.

Ag experts are predicting by the end of this week fully 1/3 of the crops in Central Illinois are goners. News programs are telling farmers how to apply for grants and other assistance and insurance companies are reporting a "flood" of claims.

Our veggie garden is struggling and although my nightly watering is helpful with tomatoes, cukes and zucchini it has  not been enough to save cabbages, blueberry bushes or sweet corn. At last weeks farmers market in Fairbury, our farmer members did a good amount of swapping amongst each other as rain has been so irregular.

Honey all set up for sale in our Farm Store
$7.50 for 16 oz.

One of our luckiest members got 2.5 inches one evening while just a few miles away on our farm...zero. Our animals are showing stress as temps up over 100 degrees again the last few days. Yesterday our Red Wattle Deb had a beautiful litter of 13 but she is down to 7 piglets this evening. Keith has worked hard to keep her cool enough to want to nurse her babies but he keeps finding her outside the hutch laying in the water hole she has created with the dumping of her water pan.

I delivered  a big baby girl in July 32 years ago. I can feel her pain.

Our new honey label

Supposed to get a break tomorrow evening so in the meantime we continue to work hard between 6-10 am, rest in the hottest parts of the day and then hit chores again in late evening. I volunteered to make the arduous journey to Normal today to delivery of 100 pounds of burger to Naturally Yours grocery. Someone had to do it and the fact that our truck has AC had nothing to do with my decision.

Just call me Donna Of Arc.


  1. That honey looks amazing! I didn't realize you all were hurting for rain.

  2. THAT is a lot of honey! My goodness. And the heat that is sweeping over the Midwest sure is taking a toll on the farms.

    We could use rain, too. Wildfire season is here and it is tinder-dry.

  3. Isn't HONEY the most wonderful thing; nature's most generous gift. Dry here too, and forecast to continue. I shall have to drag the sprinkler out of it's hiding place.

  4. The honey is a golden miracle and your secret garden has been miraculously saved! You have my greatest sympathy regarding the intense heat and I hope things cool down a bit soon.

  5. We are dry here, too. It rained on Sunday--real, drenching rain, but by today the ground is dust again. It didn't last and the temps are beating.

    It feels like the world is holding it's breath right now, waiting for better times.

  6. Beautiful honey! I'm so sorry for your drought, heat, and loss of your piglets. It's almost physical pain when you see it rain nearby and none falls on you.

  7. “That buzzing-noise means something. If there’s a buzzing noise, somebody’s making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee … and the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey … and the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.” ~~ Winnie the Pooh

  8. That is some beautiful honey. Our bees have nothing but my garden to eat so I've started to supplement them a little. Sh... don't tell Kirk. He keeps telling me they must be pets because the countryside hasn't provided enough for them to eat for years.