Every couple weeks or so, the Urban Farmer comes home smelling like a campfire in the best possible way. Occasionally, this aroma is coupled with a swollen eye or red marks on his arm because the campfire scent means he has checked on his bees (using a smoker to enter the hive).
Every month or so, Julep and I have “girl time.” While I soak up the extra puppy cuddles and we watch our guiltiest of guilty Netflix pleasures, the Urban Farmer meets with other passionate beekeepers from the board of Burgh Bees. From actual beekeeping, to education and outreach, he’s doing everything in his power to be part of the honey bee solution, and I admire him for it. I have much to learn, but hopefully, I’ll be donning my own mesh “accessories” in the not-too-distant future.
The Urban Farmer’s zeal for bees led us and several other beekeepers to a pristine farm setting for the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association Summer Picnic.
The first time we ventured to Dundee Farms, most of the scenic views were covered in a blanket of darkness. From where I sat in the old barn, I marveled at the details I could take in – garlands of drying flowers and aged beams. This time, however, the sun was shining on all the beautiful corners of the farm, rendering my eyes wide and inspired!
Dundee Farm and Fields is a Pennsylvania USDA recognized farm with a Yarn and Wool Shop, Cut Flower Gardens, Meadowsweet Apiary, Weekly CSA/Farmstand, Agricultural Education Classes/Canning and an Adaptive Farming Program. This elevator pitch, however, fails to describe the beauty encompassing all of these elements. It was the perfect place to gather and appreciate nature and pollinators at work.
It was also the perfect occasion to enjoy a slowly and methodically roasted pig – with honey bbq sauce of course!
… and waiting ever so diligently, lest any scrap of meat hit the ground, was this beautiful border collie. I nearly smuggled her home to add to my ladies’ night puppy cuddle.
For the sweet teeth in attendance, Whole Foods donated these delicious lavender honey bee cupcakes for the occasion. I’ve tucked away this cupcake inspiration for later!
Part of the program was a Queen Swap. As an explanation of this, I offer the beekeepers’ words,
“We would like to cordially invite everyone interested in participating to bring some of your best mated queens to exchange with other members from across the state. This is a great opportunity to diversify the genetics in your apiary. Most people will be bringing mated queens, but feel free to bring emerged virgins or queen cells if that is all you have by picnic-time.”
While we were busy enjoying the pork, the collie’s impressive frisbee snags and those adorable cupcakes, Lou Blouin was busy interviewing many of the lead beekeepers and researches in attendance. You can listen to this short piece and gain a bit of insight into the importance of the Queen Swap. I have more exciting honey related posts coming up, so stay tuned, and if you’re interested in learning more about becoming a beekeeper, check out Burgh Bees! As the pictures may have indicated, beekeeping could use some fresh blood to keep the work going strong.