Of Honey Bees And Red Clover

I loathe bees myself, one single sting sufficing to send me to bed, quite seriously ill, for nearly a week.  Yet I must admit to a romantic feeling for this self-contained world of little creatures, with their extraordinary arrangement of a life entirely their own, but at the same time, dependent upon what we elect to grow for them.  We cannot all grow wide acres of clover, nor can we compete with honey from Mount Hymettus in Greece, which is the best in the world…

 

-Vita Sackville-West
A Joy of Gardening; 1958

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(Pictured Above: Our hive this spring.)

When I was a little girl, my friends and I used to pick red clover during recess.  We’d pluck the little petals one by one an suck the sweet sugared ends dry.   We would giggle and show others what to do, and when the bell rang we’d toss the spent flowers on the earth to seed for future generations.

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Both the white clover (see in my post yesterday in An Ode To The Innocent Ones ) and the red taste sweet, but it is the red clover that we coveted most, and it is the red clover that is pollinated exclusively by honey bees.

When my husband and I harvest our honey in the summer we are collecting clover honey.  Clover honey not only tastes better than Fall’s harvest, which is primarily from the goldenrod flower, but it also will never crystalize with age.  Instead, its color will remain bright and shine like gold like it did the day you poured it.

SONY DSCAbove: Freshly harvested Clover Honey (Left), Freshly harvested Goldenrod Honey (Right)

Yes, it can be dangerous.  My husband has gotten stung a couple times in the two years we’ve had bees, but for the most part, they are a gentle group.  If you do some reading and research and know your place, you’ll be alright.  Beekeeping is truly an equally fascinating and rewarding hobby.  It takes but a little amount of money to start a hive.  About $400 or so will get you all the supplies you’ll need and the bees, but you will be richly rewarded in forwarding years never having to invest another dime.

SONY DSCAbove: Candles we’ve made.  My hero General Chamberlain looks on, acting his regal self.

Do consider starting a hive.  We need more bee keepers! We need more bees in order to live.  For instance, without honey bees we wouldn’t have clover at all, and I wouldn’t be here telling you how when I was a little girl, when I feared neither danger nor death, I pranced about in a field of clover delightfully sucking the sweetness out of life.

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6 thoughts on “Of Honey Bees And Red Clover

      1. My friend’s mom was a huge gardener/plant lover and she was the one who passed it to her daughter who passed it to me! I love how that works. Glad you’re keeping the tradition going. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Growing up my younger sister and I would frolic in the alfalfa fields when they were in full bloom – the purple clovers were/are the sweetest – we would wrestle with the bees to suck out some of that wonderful juice. We have an agreement with a bee business. We are an easy access, drop off/pick up, and unload spot. So, every spring a semi load of bees comes up from AZ. for 3 days they are sitting on our property resting while they get sorted out onto smaller trucks. Those trucks then distribute them out to about 5-6 counties during the night. For those 3 days, we have about 600 colonies hanging here. The bummer is the hay makers here usually cut it before the flowers are up (boo hoo hoo). Well, I saw a beautiful surprise coming home the other day – clovers in the hay fields – WOO HOO (celebration dance required here!! hee hee). The farmers are getting smarter out here and trying to work with/for the bees – yea!! Then in late fall they bring all the bees back here, rest, reload and go back to AZ. For our kindness we get several bee boxes all summer long. A case of homemade honey (this is a smaller bee keeper), and this year we even received a 25lb bag of his orchard fresh oranges – had to make some marmalade (1st time and it worked!). Love bees and love bartering. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing! Yeah the clover was brought over and planted originally with hay I believe because their roots have nitrogen enriching properties so it’s often used as a rotation crop. ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for the story!

      Liked by 1 person

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