Welcome - Explore my Blog

I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, September 19, 2022

Best in Show at MABA Annual Honey Show

 Honey shows are a challenge for me because my essential tremor makes it difficult to get a honey jar perfectly ready for presentation. So I rarely enter honey in honey shows any more, except for black jar contests. But most honey contests have other aspects - wax, crafts, baked goods, photography, etc. 

This year for my home club (Metro Atlanta Beekeepers) a friend of mine and I were in charge of the food for the potluck and honey show on Sunday the 18th. It's a busy job and requires organization, getting the plates, silverware, drinks, etc and the main dish - usually barbecue or fried chicken - for the event. With all of that, I had decided not to enter anything this year.

But then Saturday rolled around and I had nothing to do so I decided to spend the day baking. I baked honey whole wheat bread twice because I didn't like the taste of the first recipe which was a steel cut oat honey bread. I switched to a rolled oatmeal bread which I liked better from Beth Hensperger. I also baked honey wheat germ cookies (a Dorie Greenspan recipe) that are delicious. And finally I baked a David Tanis recipe for an apple honey cake

The honey oatmeal whole wheat bread won a blue ribbon (and $100). The judge suggested that it needed a stronger honey taste. I had used a mild honey and will use a stronger tasting honey the next time.

The cookies, which were competing with a gorgeous honey tart with kiwi slices decorating it that had been cut into honeycomb shapes and bees made of thinly sliced grapes - an amazing creation, didn't have a chance at a first place ribbon but came in second ($50). I was pleased because I didn't expect them to win. They are delicious as any Dorie Greenspan recipe. I'll make them again and video it for my YouTube recipe collection.

The apple honey cake wasn't gorgeous. I didn't put the apples in the center of the cake because I didn't think there was room. Then in the middle of the night on Saturday, I woke up and thought I could make a bee skep from the apples I didn't use and put them in the center of the cake. So I sliced the apples like skeps and cooked the apples in a skillet to soften them like the ones baked in the cake. Then on Sunday morning I put them in the center of the cake, arranged like three little skeps and added some cloves to look like bees. I then glazed the new apples with a honey/sugar/lemon glaze. Not a work of art, but I crossed my fingers and hoped it would taste good to offset it's clumsy appearance as Paul Hollywood might say:

This cake won first place ($100) and then Best in Show ($250)! The judge wrote "OMG! Praise only praise! Exceptional" on the comment card. I was bowled over. I've entered honey contests pretty much annually since 2007 and have never won Best in Show. The judge left before I could speak to him - Brutz English - he has judged all over, including in Ireland. I texted him to say how much it meant to me to get best in show. He called me this morning to say that of all the many cakes he has judged over the years, this one was absolutely one of the very best.

You should try the recipe. It has candied ginger as well as fresh ginger and apples in it along with the honey and the flavors permeate the cake. I baked it in a 10 inch springform pan since the baking seemed to be uneven and to take longer in the recommended 9 inch pan (from the comments). Mine was done in exactly 45 minutes.

I hadn't even tasted it, so I ate a piece for breakfast and it is DELICIOUS! If you want to truly feature honey as an ingredient, you should try baking this.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Telling the Queen's Bees

My friend, Mike, just sent me this link 

The world knows the Queen of England has died and now, in the old tradition, so do her bees.

Here is a photo of just a small part of the article - be sure to read the whole thing.

Screenshot from the DailyMail.uk

Friday, September 09, 2022

September Crossword Buzzle: Preparing for a Honey Show

 In the fall, many bee clubs and organizations hold honey and wax shows. This month I did a crossword on getting ready to enter a honey and wax show. Here it is, if you'd like to try:

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