Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bees and beer

The Worcester County Beekeepers Association held their Feb. meeting last week and decided on what they call a chefs supper. I call it a pot luck!

And while many folks felt that this was not the best pot luck, there was very little left over at the end!

The program was how to make wine and beer. I was particularly interested in learning how to make wine. The wine maker, Peter West, is also a beekeeper and farmer. Dave Richardson, pictured below, is a fairly new beekeeper and knows a tremendous amount about beer making.

Both making wine and beer are complex processes. We had the opportunity to taste the wares of both wine maker and brewer. Mr. West had a vast array of wines from his own orchard. It takes a boatload of fruit to make wine.

As always, I learn the most from talking with other beekeepers. While most everyone has been listening to their hives or cracking the top to check on their bees, I have not. There really isn't anything I am going to *do* to or for the bees right now, so opening the hive is just for me. I just cannot justify harassing the bees just to satisfy my curiosity. Nonetheless, I am going to try hard to find a way to hear my bees without bugging them. My favorite husband has a car tool that acts like stethoscope. Looks like I might be raiding the garage for a new beekeeping tool!

I cornered the man who won the most awards for honey this year, Peter Niemi. Poor man - must have thought I was stalking him! He was kind and generous with his knowledge and gave me some tips on honey exibiting next year: bottle early, store in a warm spot, and keep the honey out of the sunlight.

At the end of a lovely evening spent with wonderful folks, I took home one new piece of knowledge: I don't think wine or beer making will be in my future.

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