Thursday, October 17, 2013

Buzz buzz, plus some

So, this may seem totally random, but I took a beekeeping class last Saturday -- and it was awesome! It all started a couple of months ago when I went on a Groupon spree and bought a few different classes to try out (pottery, sewing, etc.). After purchasing one of the classes, a recommendation came up for this beekeeping class. It wasn't very expensive and I figured, why not? In one of the silly life coincidences, I'd just watched Queen of the Sun and The Vanishing of the Bees, which had piqued my interest. Furthermore, my mom had visited shortly prior to that and talked about some grants she'd heard about for new beekeepers, so beekeeping was kind of just on my radar at that point. And then, voila! This class shows up. Almost like fate, one might say.

The class was organized by Round Rock Honey, who work with beekeepers all over to put together these classes. This particular class was held in Redwood City by Golden Harvest Bees, run by Janet and Richard Baxter. They run the apiary in their backyard suburban home, and Richard also has hives throughout the Bay Area. They sell honey, beeswax candles, and soap that Janet makes (if you're in the area, check them out -- they're both super-nice and their products are great -- and no, they didn't pay me to say that).
Richard led the class, which consisted of myself and about 7 or 8 others, some of whom were serious about becoming beekeepers, and others who were just curious about beekeeping. It began with a talk about bees in general, hive life, the life-cycle of the bee, colony collapse disorder, and the basics of beekeeping. After that, we all suited up (see below) and Richard took apart some of the hives for us the see. It was completely fascinating, and I'm totally hooked! I can't wait to live somewhere where I can set up a small hive of my own. Truly, bees are really interesting and fascinating creatures, and by some miracle of the universe, they produce so many products that are incredibly valuable to human beings. I'll try not the get too deep and philosophical here, and end this part of the post by simply saying that nature is amazing, and if we would just respect that a bit more, we'd solve so many of the environmental and health issues that we're faced with today. Okay, I'm done. After class I purchased some honey and soap, and picked up a catalog of beekeeping equipment (its been really fun to browse through).
Suited up and ready to go!

Moving on. I know I still owe you all a more thorough breakdown of Danielle's trip last month. I haven't forgotten -- its going to be a long post and I have a TON of pictures to go through. In the meantime, I've started planning...wait for it...Thanksgiving! Come on, you knew that was coming. I'm not having visitors in town this year, nor am I traveling anywhere, so I decided to host a get-together at my place. Some co-workers, plus my brother, are coming, and so far we're looking at about 8 or 9 people. All the Thanksgiving issues of my magazines have started arriving (so exciting!) so I'm starting to get really pumped. Its coming on my favorite time of year.

In the spirit of fall, last weekend Alex and I went up to the "Apple Hill" area. Basically, this is an area north of Sacramento (about a two hour drive) where a lot of California apple producers are based. They're open in the fall months for visitors and, feeling a bit homesick, I decided I wanted to check it out. Alex was hesitant, but once he heard that they're be apple cider doughnuts, he was in. We had a nice afternoon, full of said doughnuts, an apple dumpling, hot apple cider, and a caramel apple. I also found some unpasteurized cider to bring home, which was an unexpected surprise -- everyone from New England knows that the best apple cider is not pasteurized. Even Wyatt got to come along and enjoy some doughnuts. On the way home we stopped at a diner and had hot turkey sandwiches and mashed potatoes -- a win all around!

As a final note, here's a pic of a classic apple pie from Three Babe's Bakeshop, thanks to a credit on Goodeggs:

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