HUNTING WILD BEE TREES THE OLD WAY

BIG BOTTOM COUNTRY ADVENTURES IN NATURE

“Granddad, where is the honey to put on my hot cake?  I can’t find it anywhere in the cupboard”, said the small boyThe year was 1935 the place was the Cline Road in Randle.

“I’m sad to say that we are completely out of wild honey, Jack .  Today the two of us are going out and find some more honey”   Granddad promised.

“How can we find honey, Granddad?    Where do the wild bees live? Are we going to find their home?   Are we going to get stung?” Said little Jack, who was wild with excitement.

“Stop asking so many questions, Jack and just watch and pay attention to your old Granddad, and I will show you just how we do it.”  Expecting little Jack to stop asking questions was about like expecting  water to run uphill. Jack, who was a typical 4 year old, completely ignored his Granddad’s comment  and immediately asked another question.

“What are you going to do with that empty cigar box?”  Granddad replied,   “We are going to make a “Bee  Box ” out of it     “What is a bee box?”  Asked Jack.

Grandpa said, “We take a cigar box, cut a small hole in the lid, make a small sliding glass door on the hole.   Next we open the lid and put some empty bee comb into the box.  Then we will mix some sugar and water with a drop of anise oil  and put it into the empty  comb.”

“What is that for?”  Asked Jack  “Because the bees like the smell of anise oil and can smell it a long way off, they will follow the scent.  When they reach the box, they will go inside to get the sugar water.  We will leave the lid open until we get lots of bees in our box.”  Explained Granddad”

“OK, Granddad  lets get started,”  Jack piped up.
“Where do we go and what do we do?” Laughed the anxious little boy.    “Way out in the woods, in a maple forest, because bees make a lot of honey off the maple trees.    We are taking an old burlap sack, matches, and the bee smoker  to make the bees think there is a forest fire.   Because of the smoke, the bees become concerned with saving honey, rather than in stinging us.  We’ll take a container for the honey, an ax to chop the bee tree down, if necessary, and a small amount of white flour to mark the bees, making them easier for us to see.”  Explained Granddad.

‘Gee, it sure takes a lot to fool bees, doesn’t it,” Observed Jack.

Sitting down under a maple tree, and eating their sandwiches, they waited, with the bee box wide open.  Soon the bees were rushing in to join the bee party not realizing there is no such thing as a free lunch.

“Look, that one’s been here before”, said Grand Dad.

“But how can you tell, Grand Dad?   “Watch them after they load up on sugar water.  If they haven’t been here before, they go up high and circle around a number of times trying to get their bearings.   If they’ve been here before, they only make a half circle and then they go straight, making a “bee line” for their hive.    So now we want to get a bee line.   To do that, Jack, you close the bee box lid, and we’ll move in the direction that the bee was going.  Then we’ll sit and watch again after letting another bee out of the small hole.”

“We are getting close to them” said Grand Dad. “How do you know?  Said Jack.      “Because the bee doesn’t go high, but just goes straight to the bee tree.   We’ll get a “triangulation” by moving off to the side.   Then let another bee out, and watch where the two bee lines intersect.  That’s close to where the bee hive is located,usually in a hollow tree or stump. If it is too high to reach, we must fall the tree. Guard bees will be circling around, so we are safer if we stay in close to the hive. We’ll start up the smoker when we get close. “After getting out the honey, the two cleaned off the comb and placed it into the container all the time keeping the smoker activated.

On a hot summers day, when you bite into the bee comb, it is surprisingly cool, since   some bees bring water, and others fan with their wings, evaporating the water, thus cooling the honey.    What a treat for anyone, but especially a small boy.“If a bee stings you, take your jack knife blade and scrape the stinger out.   Do not rub or hit the bee or scratch the bite.  If you do, and bee stinger gets left in your skin. The little poison sack attached to the stinger will keep on pumping poison into you”, Granddad warned

“When we get home”, GrandDad explained, We will cut open the comb and place it in a pillow case or a flour sack  or better yet cheese cloth, and let it slowly drain into a catch pan.(today, an extractor is used) This leaves only the pure honey.  Sometimes we take a bit of honey comb and put it on our table.”The happy little boy, tired from the big bee-hunting adventure, and the cool wild honey in his stomach, was dropping off to sleep, dreaming sweet dreams.

He barely heard his Granddad say, “Tonight we will have baking powder biscuits with butter and wild honey with our dinner”

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ODD BUT TRUE ??

The old timers used to say,  when hatching eggs under the hen or in the incubator, and there is a lighting and thunder storm,  it is likely that a good portion of the eggs won’t hatch.   Upon opening those eggs,  it was found that the little chick was well formed but dead.   I have googled this and found that many of today’s poultry farmers say exactly the same thing.

MAY MEETING MINUTES

MINUTES OF MAY 19, 2012

Meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m. in the Mount Adams cafe, Randle.

M/C (motion carried) to approve the agenda as printed.

News since the last meeting given and discussed.

A member gave a report on the U.S bankruptcy of 1933 and the repercussions that

followed.  He stated there is a remedy for all the citizen’s property used as collateral to

finance the bankruptcy  loan from IMF via Federal Reserve.

Member gave report on how to make a still for use in the making of tinctures from herbs by  the use of an old pressure cooker

Member gave report on willow bark taken from local trees.  Spring is the time to gather  willow bark,

how to dry it and how to make tinctures or anti-inflammatory tea.  If properly prepared, it will stop pain.

Notice read from Emily Anderson, of Pacific County, telling of the forthcoming Forest Service meeting on Rules and Regulations to be held Monday, May 21 in the Longview Convention center.

Report given on the dangers of using a micro wave oven.  The ten reasons to dispose of your microwave was read to members.

Excellent wooden tomato cages, hand made by a member were displayed.  Orders taken.Discussion concerning the book Pegasus, concerning how to run a car using wood, rather than gas or diesel.

It was suggested we focus on the many problems and methods of vegetable gardening during our June meeting

M/C meeting adjourned at 4:00

MAY MEETING NOTICE

The May Meeting of the Big Bottom Self Reliant Community will be called to order Saturday,

May 19, at 2:00 in the Mt. Adams Cafe in Randle.

Please bring a list of “do it yourself” books in your library which would be available to loan to other members.

Featured this meeting will be a report on a local medicinal herb.

We will have an interesting guest telling of his recent experience installing a unique water wheel
 locally,  which took  several adjacent homes off the grid.
 Open discussion will follow.
Bring a guest who might be interested in joining our self-reliant group.
along with your stories of local happenings and  projects.
 Looking forward to seeing you all again,
  SS

ASPARAGUS PICKLES

ASPARAGUS  PICKLES    (3 or 4 pints)

May is the month to put up the first pickles of the season…… asparagus.

Expensive pickles to buy,  but so easy to do at home yourself.

Select large asparagus to pickle.

Combine:

2 cups boiling  water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups white vinegar.

Method:   Wash asparagus, remove scales, if desired,  cut into lengths

to fit standing up in the jar.   Blanch or steam for 2 to 3 minutes and

immediately remove and submerge in ice water to stop the cooking.

Do not overcook.

Heat jars, caps, and lids in boiling water.    Fill jars and adjust caps and

lids.    Tips should not touch lids.  Pour vinegar mixture over.

Place jars into large kettle of hot water and process 15 minutes, counting time from

when water returns  to boil.  Remove, tighten  lids  and cool.

Recipe from Washington Asparagus Growers  P.O.Box 757, Sunnyside, WA