Buzzing by with Crystal’s Miss Bee-Haven Updates

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We have incredible news; one of our hives survived the winter!!! We were so excited to see bees buzzing around when we took off the protection we had around the hive during the winter. Talk about a happy surprise. Crystal’s miss bee haven is slowly taking off; we have about a quarter acre filled with flowers this year. As we are finding out, sometimes things take smaller steps to be successful. With the help of the flowers we have been able to actually get a small amount of honey from our hive this year. We are always hoping for more, but a good bee keeper knows that smaller amounts are better than no honey at all. Plus, we are of the belief that the more honey we leave behind for winter, the better off our bees are. We would rather find something else to eat then make our bees suffer by feeding them in the spring.

Earlier this month I was interviewed by the incredible Chef Stevie, of A Fresh Take!! She is a Registered Nutritionist, Healthy Chef, and Holistic Health Coach. She is all about healthy cooking, as well as education. On her show we talked about the bees, bee products, and what can be done with honey. As I tell everyone; I am still learning about bees and love sharing what I am learning with everyone. My favorite part was how to cook with honey and my favorite honey recipes! Here is the podcast: http://www.chefstevie.com/podcast.html. Just click on the link and then scroll down to The Buzz about Honey.

We are also very happy to say that we got a new extractor to get honey out of the frames!! This is very exciting for us because it gives us practice extracting honey and it now takes less time! We are hopeful that we will be able to get honey next year for The Honey Cottage. We are very pleased to say that it works well and has given us the opportunity to extract honey from the frames without destroying the beeswax completely. This saves our bees energy and helps them to put away honey faster instead of having to make more beeswax! We are hoping that the color changes here within the next couple of weeks so that we can show the differences between honey harvested at the beginning of summer and later in the summer.

We are in the process of revamping our website; to make it easier for customers to navigate! There have been a lot of struggles with it, so please bee patient as we repair our hive. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn to get the best updates and information as to what is happening in our hive. Lots of surprises are still on the way!!!

Here are a couple of bee-autiful pictures of the honey we have so far!!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

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Not just a Beekeeper

The last several years have taught us a very big lesson… A Beekeeper is not just a Beekeeper.  To some it may seem like a beekeeper just takes honey puts it into a bottle and that is it.

This is not true, most, beekeepers study, apprentice with another beekeeper or go to school, and work hard to keep their bees happy. Beekeeping is full time work! Beekeepers spend a lot of time educating themselves so they have the latest information.  They also spend a lot of time with the bees making sure they stay healthy and are well maintained from any harm.

Beekeepers are:

Consumers themselves- We are the ultimate consumers of what comes from our hives!!  This is why so much time and care goes into the bee hive. The better the bees are taken care of the better honey will be produced and the better life a bee will have.

Educators- We pride ourselves, like other beekeepers, to be able to answer questions that customers have. We want customers to ask questions because we believe better decisions are made when all information is given.

Activists- Bees are important to our eco system, as well as, our food supply! We want and need them to survive. So we are constantly sharing the importance of saving the bees and how important it is to not use pesticides. We also talk about plants that are bee friendly and other ways to help the bees survive and come back.

Some beekeepers are family oriented! We personally believe what goes into our mouth also goes into our children’s mouth. So we are extra vigilant on what we feed our bees and how we care for them. We believe that how our honey turns out is a direct reflection of how we take care of our bees. We want our children to learn the many different ways to take care of bees, nature, and ultimately themselves.

For us beekeeping is a way of life and a way to keep in touch with nature.

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee11116408_829030313841101_2393526374321456919_o

The Honey Cottage – Beekeeping Adventures continued

Welcome back to The Honey Cottage!

This month was super exciting; we got some amazing pictures of the hive, and our bee suits are almost complete. Lily has been bugging us for weeks asking where her bee suit is and when will she be able to look in the hive.

I used to be afraid that something would happen with my little one if she got near the hive. However, the more education and experience I get with the bees makes me realize how safe she really is. So my gold nugget that I would like to share is; when we give ourselves and children more knowledge, the less fear there will be. Knowledge = power.

As you can see from the picture Lily only has a hood on and is looking into the hive. She was not afraid of the bees at all and I relaxed a lot! I just remembered to keep talking to her and that kept us both calm.

One of the best ways to save our bees is to stop fearing them. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Bees are looking for food and have no intention on attacking unless they feel threatened. It has been an pleasure learning about these ladies and how they work. So proud of Lily for wanting to be the next generation of beekeepers. Stay tuned and learn what we are up to!

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The Honey Cottage Beekeeping Adventures

This month has been super special for me; I put on the bee suit for the first time and was able to look in the hive. It was a neat opportunity to see what the bees do in the hive. Normally, I would get really excited and bounce off the walls. However, I have had to train myself not to be overly excited. One of the most important things that I have learned about being a beekeeper is that bees can sense fear, excitement and when someone is nervous. So putting on the bee suit was the best way to put everything I learned into practice; especially learning how to stay calm.

It was so incredible to be able to put into practice all that I have learned. To be able to be open up the hive by myself (with Frank’s direction of course) and look into the hive was beyond words. To see the frames of honey and brood was very educational because it increased my thirst for knowledge. Seeing pictures has been very helpful for me, but being able to actually have the hands-on experience was even better.

My head keeps saying I want to get closer without the suit; I want to take chances, and see what it is like having bees all around me. Thankfully, I have a fantastic teacher like Frank who finally sat me down and explained why it is so important not to take chances. I am excitable person and if I got stung I would not stay calm, this in turn would cause the other bees to attack because they now would feel threatened.

So I am very happy to say that I am thrilled to be a beekeeper. I always thought that it was too much and that I would not ever be able to be up close to the hive. I can’t believe that I ever feared bees. This in turn tells me what we need to do with our little one. I don’t want her to fear bees and want her to learn how important bees are for our future. Needless to say, beekeeping is so cool and I am so excited to be able to share my experiences as a new beekeeper.

I am very happy to say that we have been getting some great pictures of the bees and flowers that are bee friendly. A lot of our flowers are blooming!!! We have also been getting some AMAZING pictures of the inside of the bee hive as well as the outside. Stay up with us to see what we are doing here at The Honey Cottage!!!

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

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The Honey Cottage updates

We have big news!  Crystal’s Miss Bee Haven has broken ground, we officially have the land ready for plants!!  Our plants are pre-planted in smaller containers.  Our new hives are going and the ladies are hard at work!!  We have seeds ready at The Honey Cottage for you to help us to SAVE THE BEES with us!!  A bee suit is in Crystal’s and Lily’s future, so stay tuned to all the new and exciting things we are doing at The Honey Cottage and at Crystal’s Miss Bee Haven to help the bee population.  Please remember: plant wild flowers, don’t use pesticides, and INFORM OTHERS HOW THEY CAN HELP SAVE THE BEES!!!  We need everyone to help save our beeautiful pollinators!!!

Crystal’s Miss Bee Haven- the beeginnings!

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From our bee hive to yours,

Frank

Fun Facts about Bees and the Hive

Education about bees, the bee hive, honey, and bee hive products are so important to us here at The Honey Cottage. So in honor of National Honey Month we thought we would share some fun facts about the bees and the hive.

  1. There are three types of bees: the queen bee, the worker bee, and the drone bee. The queen’s only job is to produce babies and is the only one that eats royal jelly. The worker bees are all female, and the drone bees are all male. Worker bees do everything from taking care of gathering nectar to guarding the hive. The drones are only there to mate with the queen and then die once mating has taken place. Whatever drones are left are kicked out of the hive once winter hits.
  2. Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which is why honey never goes bad.
  3. Honey bees are the only insects that produce food for human consumption.
  4. Like humans, bees need to have a diverse diet of pollen and nectar to be healthy. Trees, flowers, shrubs, fruits, herbs, and vegetables (like squash blossoms) are all important for bees. This is why planting is so important not only to humans, but bees too.
  5. Bees dance to communicate!! They can also use their pheromones to communicate too!
  6. Bees can visit anywhere from 50-100 different types of flowers when they are collecting nectar.
  7. Beeswax can be used for candles, or to harden soaps and lip balms, or for simply waxing shoes, needles, or stuck zippers.
  8. Honey and bee pollen cannot be duplicated by man.
  9. Bees can sense fear, so do the best that can be done and stay calm when a bee is around. They only sting when they feel threatened.

Feel free to share with friends and family. The more everyone knows the better care we can take care of these amazing ladies.

From our bee hive to yours,

Queen Bee

Introduction

Experiences are crucial for us to learn what to do and what not to do. You may know about us from the about page on how we have used honey for asthma, allergies, and skincare. However, there is now another piece that we would like to share with you. My name is Crystal as you already have learned so far. What I would like to share with you is very personal, but may help others learn from my experiences with raw honey. I was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), when I was eleven I was on the highest dose of Ritalin legally allowed to give a child. I decided for myself that I did not want to be on medication any more so I quit them.
Many years later, in 2008, I started playing with my diet learning what I could have and could not have. I started researching things that had bad reactions on my body that I did not like. During this research I learned that part of my ADHD was a reaction to the MSG that I was eating through my diet. Sugar has also been a big issue for me. What is really important is what I started to discover at the end of 2012 into 2013; I had no reactions with raw honey. What does this mean? When I eat sugar I have depression, my mind starts racing, and I can’t focus or sit still. With raw honey I don’t have any of these issues. I eat honey and I can actually focus on the task at hand. Yes, I have had to retrain myself on some levels of learning how to focus, however, when I eat sugar I notice I can’t do this even through all the retraining.
Raw honey is very natural; when it is ingested it does not have the same reactions as processed white sugar will. What is even more delightful is I have had customers come in and say they have noticed that they have a better day with raw honey then if they were to eat sugar. Frank and I work really hard to share our experiences and be educated so that people know about honey and what it can do for them. This is why we are so passionate, excited, and proud to talk about honey.
So learn from my experiences and play with your diet. Make it a challenge if you must and switch out your sugar intake with honey for a week and see what happens; you might be surprised at what you learn.

From our bee hive to yours,
Queen Bee

The Mayan’s were Bee Keepers

Mayan history originates in the Yucatan around 2600 B.C. where the Mayan culture grew to bee quite advanced. Along with all their skills in astronomy, architecture, cylindrical systems, and hieroglyphic writing they were also farmers and yes even Bee Keepers. They thought of their bees as pets and as part of nature. Bees were treated as gods with all the powers of Mother Earth. The word for bees is “CAB” which means land, bee-hive, or bee honey. The Mayan deity, Muzen Cab, was The Great Guardian of Honey or the great Lord of Bees. There was also a Bee God, Mok Chi, who could transformed into Bees. The Mayan apiculture is very spiritual and complex and was strongly related to the days of the calendar, as explained in the Madrid Codex.

The beehives in Mayan culture were positioned towards the four cardinal points that hold the universe. Each cardinal point or “Bacab” had its importance. For example the eastern Bacab was in the direction they believed was where honey was produced. The Mayan apiculturists were experts in bee husbandry and collected honey from many of the 500 species of stingless bees. They favored the Melipona Beechei Bonnet, a bee they knew as Xunan Kab. translated as Royal Lady.

The Royal Lady is a stingless bee, whose honey is known for its high nutritional and medicinal values. This honey was used as a sweetener, an antibiotic, and to make the fermented honey drink called ‘balche’ an alcoholic drink used in ritual practices. Today their descendants keep their stingless bees in hollow logs just as their ancestors did before them.

According to ancient Mayan myths, the first inhabitants; called Zayawinicoub, ate up all the royal honey they were harvesting. To avoid facing death as punishment from their gods, Hobin (god of the beehive) turned them into stingless bees so they could restock the honey.
So, you see beekeeping has a long history in many cultures across the world and throughout time. Many people today think of bees as a small group of honey producers that came from Europe. The scientists of today seem to only be concerned with these few bees. I think these are the same scientists, who in the 70’s, said they could prove that a bumble can’t fly. Talk about reveling in one’s ignorance…WOW!!

White Man’s Flies, Mayans, and Beekeeping: Part one

Honey Kissed Skincare uses Raw Honey in all of our products. Raw Honey is the key ingredient, well one of them anyway. So you might be wondering, where does honey come from? A better question might bee where does the honey bee come from?

First, let’s talk about the BEE; there are about 20,000 species of bees in the world. The bee has been around for some 130 million years when Pangaea was breaking up into the land masses we know today. Now, some historian’s claim that the European honey bee was brought to the new world and that was how the native people got a taste of honey and the new crops could be pollinated.
 
Now isn’t that sweet!?

Umm…there is something missing here.

Let’s not forget that much of the food that we eat came from the Americas. Tomato in your spaghetti sauce, they were imported to Italy. The Irish love of the potato which was also imported. There is also corn, pineapple, sweet potato, pumpkin, squashes, green beans, lima beans, pinto beans (most beans we know), bell pepper, avocado, Brazil nuts, cashews, hickory nuts, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and the cocoa bean. These and many more all came from the new world. Take a look at: http://topics.info.com/_2531 for more on foods of the new world.

As you can see, a large percentage of the food crops we enjoy today came from the America’s and were first farmed, not by savages, head hunters, or soulless heathens, but by a spiritual native population. With much history dating back thousands of years. It is clear to see that their crops were pollinated by bee’s whose history goes back millions of years. So by that logic Columbus did not discover America, nor did the native peoples. The Bees did!

For me beeing part Cherokee and Apache, I don’t always believe what is in the history books.

When the settlers first arrived, it was the native people who showed them how to grow crops and to survive. How can I say this you might ask? In a word….Thanksgiving! Native American’s raised crops and they enjoyed honey when they found a wild hive. There were wild bees, some 2,000 different species and yes, some of these bees stored extra honey in combs. It was all part of nature’s plan. I think the biggest difference between European honey culture and the new world was that the native people lived as part of nature and did not try to profit from nature.

The Native American’s referred to the European honey bee, as WHITE MANS FLIES and I wonder if it is not because this was their first experience with bees, but perhaps it was their first experience with beekeepers.

Let me share with you a Cherokee story about how the bees got their stingers.
Please Take a moment and try the link below:
http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/HowTheHoneyBeeGotTheirStinger-Cherokee.html

Next Post: Part II with Mayan Beekeeping!