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August 19, 2017

Sweetness: Honey Bees and Maple Sugar

Today is a "sweet day" - read on about honey bees and maple sugar!

National Honey Bee Day

I'm fortunate to live in a rural area, and to not have any restrictions on keeping bees on our property. Many who live in towns and housing developments with homeowners' associations aren't as blessed. Even if they wish to have a hive or two, there are often restrictions on doing so.

National Honey Bee Day was developed in 2009 to educate the public, promote beekeeping and promote laws that allow citizens to keep bees if they wish. Honey bees and other pollinators are crucial to agriculture and our food supply. And they make honey, which is why I began keeping bees this spring.

I'm sure you've seen that photograph of a grocery store produce department that predicts a future without bees. The store displays are nearly empty, showing how a world without bees might look.

While I don't know how accurate that photograph might be, we did live in Iceland where there are NO BEES. None. No flies and no mosquitoes either. They don't even have screens on their windows because it isn't necessary. Unless you want to keep your indoor cat inside, that is.

Iceland also has no flowers. Interesting, isn't it? Most of those vegetables in the grocery store are flowers first, and the rest must flower to produce seeds. No bees equals no flowers which equals no vegetables and fruits.

I hope you'll visit the National Honey Bee Day website and learn more about the importance of bees and beekeeping. Be sure to read the bee trivia page for some fun facts and lots of fascinating information. (Did you know that a single honey bee collects about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime?)

(By the way, did you notice my new "Shop" link under the header? You'll find links to some of the products I use with my bees.)

More Sweetness: Maple Sugar

My friend Michelle of SoulyRested has maple trees on her homestead. She and her family tap the trees and produce their own maple syrup, maple sugar and other maple goodies. Michelle is writing a book about tree tapping and turning sap into maple syrup, and she'd love to offer one of the chapters to you for free.

Maple trees aren't the only trees that can be tapped; birch and walnut trees also produce sap that can be turned into delicious syrup. Wild Foodism lists at least 22 varieties of trees that will yield sweet sap, so don't think you have to live in New England to take advantage of Michelle's offer.

This free preview of Michelle's book outlines the eight steps she takes when turning sap into syrup. It's fascinating and I know you'll love reading it. But this free offer is only good through August 31st, so head on over there and subscribe to her email list for free, then download your own free copy of Maple Deliciousness in Eight Worthwhile Steps.

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  1. Wow Kathi! I didn't know you used to live in Iceland! I truly can't imagine life without flowers--especially the ones in my garden, like bean flowers, tomato flowers, squash flowers... you get the idea... I'm excited about your new shop. It's filled with wonderful items. I'm even more excited to offer Maple Deliciousness to your readers. I truly hope my free e-booklet will help many of your readers start a new journey toward healthier, more natural eating, via all-natural sweeteners like honey and maple products. Thanks for asking if I'd provide this to your readers; I'm so happy to do so! Have a "sweet" day!

    1. Exactly, Michelle! All those garden flowers that produce fruit and vegetables are dependent on bees and other pollinators. Interesting, isn't it?

      I know my readers will enjoy your e-booklet! Refined sugar is empty calories; honey and maple products are healthy. I can't wait until your book is ready so I can sample those recipes you're including - the photos you are posting on Facebook look so yummy!

  2. Interesting about Iceland...the lack of mosquitoes sounds good, but no bees or flowers? Very sad!

    1. I didn't miss the flies and mosquitoes, but you're right, the lack of flowers and bees (and trees too) was really sad. It's a strangely beautiful place though and living there was one of the highlights of my life.


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