Sunday, June 30, 2013

Abbott Vidalia Onion Honey Salad Dressing

I used Sweet Vidalia Onions and
Honey from my own Bee Hives!

  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 large Vidalia Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

This dressing brings out the flavor in this
Fresh Garden Greens Salad
 topped with Lobster and Bing Cherries 

Place a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in skillet or sauce pot and heat over medium. Add chopped onions and continue cooking, stirring frequently, over medium heat until browned and caramelized, about eight minutes or so. Pour in cider vinegar and stir well to loosen coating on bottom of pan.

  • Pour entire contents into blender or Vita Mix and add remaining oil along with all other ingredients. Blend on high for two minutes, until well blended and emulsified. Refrigerate several hours before serving over your favorite salad.
I used this on a lobster salad today but 
honestly you could use this on anything!!

Happy Honey Life, Melissa

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Charlie Catches a Swarm and gets his First Hive

2nd Swarm in  Tree
First Swarm

 I had told my husband Charlie that if we caught a swarm and he bought the the Hive he could have the swarm for his first beehive. We had a swarm about 10 days ago and we couldn't get it completely. You have to get the queen with it or the swarm will fly off. 
I got a text while I was in a meeting at work and I then came right home at lunch.
When I first got home the swarm wasn't as pronounced. At our first attempt up the ladder we knocked the swarm, tried to get it into the bucket but they sort of all just flew out in a huge ball around us.
They then settled back down into a better swarm on a lower branch. We made a plan to cut the branch with cutters and have the entire swarm fall into the bucket.

Meanwhile, We had set up an extra hive body and a bottom board I had and covered it with some alternate materials like a cover for a plastic tote and voila we had a temporary hive. 
Charlie snipping off the branch and
letting swarm fall into bucket

Charlie assembling some new frames

Charlies Hive is on the far right

The next day Charlie went to Crystal Bee in Peabody, MA and bought me replacements for the hive body and bottom board he borrowed. So congrats to Charlie, he has been watching me have all the fun and decided he wanted to get into bee keeping too. So now we have 6 hives at Abbott Honey. WOW

Happy Bee Keeping, Melissa

Monday, June 17, 2013

Announcing: Abbott Honey has an Extraordinary June Crop Honey for Sale!

I am so pleased to announce that 
I now have some Extraordinary 
Abbott Honey 

                                            Choose Amounts

Freshly Bottled 2013

White Capped Honey Super

Bottling Abbott Honey

Jars ready to be Sold!

Premium Local Artisan Batch East Gloucester Honey
from perfectly white capped Honey Supers

Abbott Honey Hives

1 Lb Jars of Abbott Honey $10

Friday, June 14, 2013

My First Swarm and other thoughts about having hives full of Honey and Bees! - The Swarm landed very High in a Tree but we couldn't get it all Down!

Hive During Swarm

Bees in the Air everywhere!
During Swarm
I don't know if you can see the ladder 
against the tree in the top picture but that is where the Swarm went after what looked like a million bees flew around the yard and then all landed on a tree. The energy was electric! I had never seen anything like it in my life. My sense is that since I was not prepared for for this event and it was probably an old queen leaving and taking some workers with her, then, it would be just as well to let them go. I went over and looked in the hive it came out of and it was still teaming with honey and bees. I had been in the hive about 10 days before and there wasn't nearly that much honey, but it must have gotten congested in the brood box. After this experience, I know what I am looking for now and I can just get new equipment and split the hives if they get too blocked up in the future.  I am ready to harvest a June crop of honey alright. Anyway, We tried to get the swarm down from the tree but it was too high. We put some of the bees we did get into a bucket and then into a NUC I had and my thinking was maybe the rest of the bees would see that was a nice little home and tell the rest of the bees to move in to the sweet little NUC condo..... but...alas, they all flew off to places unknown later in the day. 
Bees everywhere landing on that Cedar Tree

This is Charlie, my husband trying to get some of the bees in the tree

Charlie Climbing the Tree

This is Mari giving it a whirl, trying to get the swarm into a bucket

They were just too plain high!

Swarm high up in Cedar Tree

Swarm in Cedar Tree

Another Angle of the Swarm in Cedar Tree, it is really hard to see

My little Nuc (small box on green table) with some of the bees in it. There are birds living in that bird feeder. It was a "No Go" though, we didn't get the queen so they all flew off with her.  I saw on the internet that you can put old queens or queens you don't want in alcohol and then use that as a bee lure if you want to try and lure a swarm. I also saw that there are these long handled bee nets on a German keep keeping website and I think they might be a positive thing in the future. I could maybe use a fishing net instead.

It's pretty High Up there!!

Bees started calming down a bit after the swarm but still many outside

So, I had a swarm, yes, and it sort of caught me by surprise! It seemed like an energetic day as it was just after the Tropical Storm Andrea and it had rained a lot. The sun had come out and the air had an energized quality to it. I think I should have removed some honey before the Hurricane but I just wasn't sure it was ready. After looking it the hive after the swarm, I saw a lot of capped honey ready to go. I tried installing some Palmer Bee Escapes but they didn't work but it is hard to tell because it has done nothing but rain since the Swarm. I want to get into those hive and smoke them really well and get some of the honey frames out. I decided to order a triangular bee escape from Brushy Mountain Farm and I am waiting for it to arrive. So there will be more news on how I do with the honey I am going to harvest one day real soon. We didn't catch the swarm but it was an amazing experience just being around it and witnessing it. Thanks to Mari and Charlie for trying to help out. I am really ok with the natural course of how bees move out into the wild. It seems natural. Everyone is always saying there needs to be more bees so yeah, guess, there are a lot more bees on Cape Ann. I wonder where they are and if they found a nice hollow tree. When looking around the neighborhood there are so many hollow trees and trees with holes in the trunks that I am pretty sure they located a place like that and have a new home. My husband asked me if I thought they were going to come back. He was really worried that all my bees had flown away. I assured him that they didn't all fly away. I can't believe how many bees I have in those two established hives. I read some Michael Bush Natural Beekeeping and he says that if you aren't making mistakes, you aren't learning. I have to agree with that because I sure did learn alot about bees in an experience way. I feel a little more attuned to the crowded hive. Michael Bush also says that all we need to do is just help the bees and not hurt them and I can see that in this instance, this is really true. I may move some frames of brood (after I make sure the queen isn't on the frame) into my new starting out hives. I learned this is supposed to give the colony a nice kick. Another trick is to switch the hives but I don't think I am going to do that, at least not yet. In the future, if I want additional hives, I am just going to order more equipment and split the hives.

Happy Bee Keeping, 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Honey Rolls from Through a Country Momma's Eyes!

A Friend Posted this recipe on Facebook and I loved it and can't wait to try it!

Honey Rolls
Adapted from A Cookie A Day

Yields 12 rolls

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup barely warm water
1/4 cup honey + 1 tablespoon, divided
1 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if necessary
1 tablespoon butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the honey, salt and egg. Stir until blended. Add 3 cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together. If using a standing mixer, knead the dough with the dough attachment for 5-7 minutes, or until elastic. If not, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until soft and elastic (about 8 minutes), adding more flour to keep the dough from sticking if necessary. Do not add too much flour! The dough will become more workable the longer you knead.

Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.

Punch dough down, divide into 12 equal portions, and shape each portion into a round ball. Place in a pan (or on baking sheets) coated lightly with cooking spray. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and 1 tablespoon honey. Brush over the rolls. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Through A Country Momma's Eyes

VIDEOS: Traditional Skep Bee Keeping in Germany! Fascinating!!

Video 1

Video 2

Video 8

Saturday, June 8, 2013

People Ask me About Stings and How I got Started in Bee Keeping

Italian Honey Bee is my Backyard
There are different types of Bees. Honey Bees are known for being really easy going and only become aggressive if you threaten them in some way. They don't just randomly buzz after you and sting you.
Most people get stung by wild bumblebees which have nests in the ground. Then there are wasps and yellowjackets which people confuse with honey bees. 

Honeybees are extemely gentle and will only sting if you give them a good reason like banging into thier hive. I wear protective gear if I am going in the hive but if I am just around them or just peaking in the hive they do not bother me. 
After you are around them you less and less fear. I have been stung a few times and usually I did something I shouldn't have done to warrant the stings. I dropped a hive body and I didn't have protective gear on my ankles and I got stung there. I learned from this so I always wear boots now if I am going into the hive and removing things. I also learned to take the honey by tricking the bees out of the supers.

 Stings are actually good for you. My husband tries to get stung because of his arthritis in his hand and after a sting it is better. The stings set of antibodies in your body which can be very healing for you. The pollen from bees and the honey is extremely healthy and better than a medicine cabinet. I had a lot of fear of the hives when I was younger and I wanted to get bees for years and was afraid. As I got older I got less and less afraid of things and more settled and meditative. I wish I had started sooner because it is such a sweet thing to do. 

Locally in the Massachusetts Area north of Boston, there are classes in Peabody at  and some people I know have taken them there and also at the Topsfield at 

I guess I am not much of a joiner because I have never taken a class. I just watched YouTube Videos and read some books. I also bought my 1st hives a couple years ago from Mann Lake in Minnesota and this year I bought cheaper ones from . I also get my bees from Walter T. Kelley in Kentucky. I tried Russian Bees but my advice is that they are slow to get going in the Spring and they are feistier. I lost my Russian Bee hive the 1st year. Then I went to Italian Bees and they are fantastic Bees. I can't say enough good things about them and the honey is amazing. I bought more honey bees after trying out my first Italian Bees. They get right to work and produce really quickly.  

One of the best books I have read is Honey Bee Democracy
I recommend it as it really explains the hive mind in 
a recently studied way.
In terms of how the bees make decisions 
and run their hive. It's not necessarily something you would intuitively understand right off the bat but makes perfect sense once things are pointed out. 

Happy Bee Keeping. Melissa 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Honey Recipes from The National Honey Board

School's Out For the Summer! 
Swarms of smiles and cheering kids could be seen all over the country the last few weeks, as summer has officially begun! Vacations are being planned, kids are sleeping in and enjoying the longer days.

As we welcome in the summer months, you may be looking for a few go-to snacks for the kids. The National Honey Board has created some great summertime recipes that are fun to make and delicious to eat!

We hope that you are enjoying the weather and have some great things planned this summer!
Peanut Butter Honey Play Dough 

(makes 1 pound)  

  • 1 cup - peanut butter
  • 3 cups - powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup - honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons - vanilla extract 
  • Food coloring, optional
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix thoroughly until "dough" begins to come together. Do not over mix. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to dough and mix. Store dough in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Fruity Frozen Yogurt Pops
(makes  8 servings)
  • 1 cup - fresh, ripe nectarines, pineapple, or strawberries, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups - plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup - honey
  • 1 teaspoon - vanilla
  • 8 - paper cups (3 oz.) and popsicle sticks or plastic spoons
In a blender, combine all ingredients; mix well. Pour into eight (3 oz.) paper cups; insert popsicle sticks or plastic spoon in center of each. Freeze 4 hours or until solidly frozen.

Peanut Butter & Honey Silly Sushi Roll-ups

(makes 2 servings)  

  • 4 slices - wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup - smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup - pure honey
  • 2 Tablespoons - nuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup - strawberries, finely diced
  • 4 - skewers
  • Additional fresh fruit, such as kiwi, strawberries, grapes or pineapple, optional
Trim crusts from bread. Gently press bread or flatten with a rolling pin. Spread each slice with 2 Tablespoons peanut butter and 2 Tablespoons honey. Sprinkle 2 bread slices with 1 Tablespoon nuts each. Sprinkle remaining slices with strawberries. Cut each slice in half. Firmly roll up each slice and serve, or thread the roll-ups and fruit onto skewers and serve as kabobs.

1-1/2 cups - fresh berries, divided *

Honey Berry Waffle Sandwich
(makes 8 servings)
  • 1 Tablespoon - butter
  • 1/3 cup - honey
  • 8 - frozen waffles, toasted
Puree 1/2 cup berries in a blender or food processor; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add honey and bring to a boil; simmer 2 to 3 minutes, then add berry puree. Continue to simmer 2 to 3 minutes more until syrup thickens slightly. Set honey syrup aside and keep warm. For each serving, place 2 waffles on plate. Top one waffle with 1/4 cup fresh berries. Drizzle with 1/4 of syrup and top sandwich with remaining waffle. *Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries work well.

Kaleidoscope Honey Pops 
(makes 12 servings)
  • 2-1/4 cups - water
  • 3/4 cup - honey
  • 3 cups - assorted fruit, cut into small pieces
  • 12 - paper cups (3-oz.) or popsicle molds
  • 12 - popsicle sticks
Whisk together water and honey in pitcher until well blended. Place 1/4 cup fruit in each mold. Divide honey-water mixture between cups. Freeze about 1 hour or until partially frozen. Insert popsicle sticks; freeze until firm and ready to serve.

Honey Turkey Rollers 
(makes 6 servings)
  • 8 oz. - cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup - honey
  • 1/4 cup - mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon - onion powder, optional
  • 6 (8-inch) - whole wheat tortillas
  • 1-1/2 cups - Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 thin slices - turkey
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add honey, mustard and onion powder; mix well. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey cream cheese mixture out to the edge of each tortilla. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/4 cup cheese, leaving about 1 inch around the edge. Place 2 slices of turkey on each tortilla. Roll up each tortilla tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 30 minutes, then slice each tortilla log into eight 1-inch rounds and serve.