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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

IMG_8144Homeward bound, we decided to take a small detour. I wanted to check out Crawdad Slough, where I have spotted an egret. She is usually hidden along the reedy edges of the shore, stock still or slowly moving toward an unsuspecting target. I saw her, recently, high up in a tree and wondered if she was building a nest. The detour was my wandering hope that Tom could see it on our way home.

There we were, chatting significantly about the insignificant, just moseying along in the late afternoon, when I saw it!  Not the egret, but, instead a sign. No. Not an omen or an octagon, saying STOP. It was a big, bright, yellow sign, just out of the corner of my eye as I drove right past it.

Did you see that, Tom?”.

“What?

That sign?”

I hung a quick left into someone’s driveway and whipped my way back from whence we came.

RAW HONEY — >

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The sign pointed north. As soon as I turned, there it was. Just up a drive. A big yellow box with bold black letters.

 RAW HONEY.

We pulled into the driveway and hopped out of our mocha VW with a latte interior – such a trusty traveller she is – and looked around to see if anyone was outside. I called a cheery “Hello. Anyone here?” IMG_8759With nary a soul in sight, we walked up to the box. It had a few latches but no lock and key, and some bold honeybees painted around it.

There we were, the ever-patient Antler Man and Penelope Pitstop (she who stops at every box) and looked to see if we could open it. We fiddled a bit with the latches, then we slowly opened one door, then the next. One must be very careful when opening a newfound box – especially one with such large bumble bees depicted on it!

Inside was a sign with explanations, and an honor system for any customer wanting a jar of honey. How nice! Honor systems are not unusual down country lanes or in rural areas, but, they are not very common hereabouts, even in our semi-rural neck of the woods.

What a surprisingly delightful discovery this was; while not a white egret, a very sweet cache of local honey.

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I dutifully signed the guest sheet. We slipped our payment for our jar of Hilltop Honey in the appropriated container, closed and latched the bright yellow doors, and set back on the road-less-travelled home, where I promptly made a cup of tea with honey – and very good honey it was.

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I try to buy local honey, not only to support local businesses and beekeepers, but, also because it is said that ingesting local honey helps counteract seasonal allergies. I do not know if this is scientifically true, but, I do not that my own seasonal allergies have abated since I have been using local honey. Most of the honey I buy is from this general area, usually a farm stand, appropriately called The Farm, but, none of it is from hives only four miles from our home.

So it goes; a sweetened tale of life here on the Cutoff, where small detours sometimes lead to large, snowy white birds – or honey pots and the honor system.

(I did feel, just a wee bit, that I had just discovered the Bee Tree in the Hundred Acre Woods.)

 

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Blogospheric apiaries

I seem to be flitting about lately, like this ravenous swallowtail.

The days are shortening, faster than I would like. At the same time,  I find I am looking forward to Autumn. We’ve had a delightful spell of cooler temperatures, but, the heat and humidity are back. It won’t be long, though, before the rakes are employed in the gathering of leaves and someone will mutter  about  frost on the pumpkins.

A walk on Sunday in The Little Red Schoolhouse Woods seemed like just the thing to do. It had been quite a while since we strolled the White Oak Trail. It felt as if we were the only ones there. We weren’t, of course. Most of the woodland wanderers were off in the new nature center or on the bigger paths that surround the slough.

In a few weeks, the White Oak Trail will be covered in leaves. On this day, the trail had but a few signs of the fall weather ahead. It was quiet and green with a few red berries peaking through and felt as if this mile of forest was just sitting and waiting for the colorful gala ahead.

On the other trails, which we later wandered, were masses of children filled with all of the wonder of youth, looking for fish and turtles and frogs swimming about among the lily pads. Can you see the frog sunning here?  This pond is on one side of the trail and an apiary on the other.

We’ve watched the apiary for a few years now. The pear trees are finally bearing fruit and the bee hives fascinate me. As we read about beekeeping and how bees sometimes form their own hives in trees when the apiary boxes become full, what looked like a bunch of dried leaves slowly came alive. I wish that my camera could have gotten a closer look for me. I hope you can see on the tree what looks like a pile of leaves or a log. It  is really a massive beehive, swarming with busy workers.

Here on the Cutoff, we reside in a carved out delta of trees and wildlife that we were fortunate enough to find. A very urban area is just down the  road a ways, around the bend, with a magnificent glimpse of the far off Chicago skyline. The forests to be found are just a few turns the other way. Both seem like gifts to me.

The active hives of the apiary mean more to me than the honey they produce. They are a symbol of sorts of the lofty idea that such opposing ways of life can coexist. These sloughs and forests, carved out in a long-ago time by ice, remain places of refuge for migratory  birds and butterflies in their seasonal journeys. They rest and get nourishment just moments away from highways and byways and one of my country’s largest cities, while minutes away I reside, a simple woman who sits and taps away on keys in a dot on the speck of a spot on our earth while you sit at your computer, in an office, or library, or from a laptop in a coffeehouse, a few miles away or in another hemisphere, and we somehow connect, forming our own blogospheric apiary.

We all make pretty sweet honey, don’t you agree?

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