I’m feeling a bit like Charlie with his golden ticket. An email floated in this morning from Neighbourly.com. A guy said he had just harvested honey from his hives and for a gold coin donation (either $1 or $2 for my U.S. friends ;-), bring a jar and he’d gladly give you some.
I messaged him immediately, thinking people would be all over this and I didn’t want to miss out. He lives in Waipawa, an easy 7 minute drive away. I found a couple of good sized glass jars with air tight lids, a smaller used-to-be-honey jar and then a really-pushing-my-luck-plastic container that would hold WAY too much honey. I said we’d be right over.
He greeted us in his driveway and led us into the garage. I’m sure there was a reason to have a huge black zip up net over the area where the honey containers were waiting to be emptied. For some reason, I didn’t ask.
I took out most of my jars and sat them on the table. He had explained that he didn’t even like honey and wasn’t looking to make any money off of it (like most people do). He used the bees for pollination around his home.
He unscrewed the wingnuts holding the plastic door in place and slowly lifted it, letting the thick, gold ribbons of honey free. Notice I started out with a small jar….heh heh.
He said I could cream it just by using a potato masher. I thought they used something like a cake mixer but he said that’d put too much air in it. My eyes and brain were glazing over as he kept filling the jars on the table. Boy, I wanted a taste of this stuff!
That was one of the two air tight lid jars, which he gladly filled. I took note that there were at least two other huge vats of honey in the background, so I figured he didn’t care who got it, as long as it was gone! I hesitated on the final large container but he gladly took that and filled it to the top.
I got a $10 bill out and handed it to him and then he did something amazing. He filled one of his OWN jars and gave it to me! Wow. I have far too much now but I’m really not complaining. I’d share some with friends. I swear.
He asked if we’d like to see the hives (of course we would). I usually see these out in paddocks, away from everything. He led us on a brick path into his garden. I passed by a tree with a lot of small, very red apples on them and figured his bees helped get them there.
And before I knew it, we had stopped and he pointed to the hives right in the corner of the garden! He said there was a manuka tree nearby so there was some of that in there, but mainly a mix of a lot of flowers, trees and bushes.
How “sweet” is that!? He explained he had his own number because you had to register your hives. In case there was ever any problem with the honey, that’s the number you’d use in the complaint. He explained that if you didn’t have it registered, you could be forced to burn the entire hive! He said though, that down south, some guys have had bees for so long, it apparently didn’t apply to them.
I told him about the bees I had tried to save the other day when the cold snap hit. Found them first thing in the morning in weird places, not moving. I warmed them up with my lovely morning breath (no, they didn’t die) and they came back to life. He said that in the winter, they kick out the drones and they aren’t allowed back in the hive.
Imagine being a bee bouncer!? How do they know they’re not allowed back in?? Amazing. So he said they probably wouldn’t have survived much longer. His daughter apparently feels the same and he said she goes around collecting them, too.
Having come down with some allergies, for possibly the first time since I’ve been in New Zealand, I recall reading if you eat local honey, it could help you become somewhat immune to the pollen that takes you down. I looked it up when I got home, as he couldn’t comment on whether or not it helped. This one article basically said it was inconclusive. The multiple studies done couldn’t tell if it was a placebo effect or not and said, “If you think it works, and it helps you…then it does.”
Well, I’ll take any excuse I can to eat honey. I tried some on bread after lunch and oddly enough, it reminded me of a smokey BBQ joint in Texas. I’ll have to try some more on a spoon and see what I come up with.
I had to start a new shelf because the existing one with all of the honey on it in the pantry was full. I really have way more than I need…but not as much as I WANT!
Here was the bounty from today…
As I told my friend Camille, the author of Honey Sandwiches, my favorite part of honey with bread was how it got sort of crunchy if you let it sit on there long enough.
What would YOU have done with all of this honey? Feel free to comment!