Una vita dolce is Italian for "a sweet life". I took three semesters of Italian when I returned to school a few years ago, and I'm going to use it!
Of course now that I've used up one of the four phrases I remember, I'll have to pace myself, but the sweet life reference has never been more prevalent here than it was a few days ago.
Our two older GK's Allana (14) and Wesley (10) helped us harvest this years honey and at the end of the day we had 160 pounds of the golden post-nectar liquid. Most of it ended up in bottles and pails but a fair amount is still stuck to parts of the floor, and as my daughter-in-law Tab discovered yesterday, on the seat of one of our kitchen chairs.
What a sticky mess.
We have to harvest it inside where the bees won't follow us. They are a bit possessive of their hard work. It makes our work area, the 21 foot diameter Looney Bin, a bit crowded but workable.
We were thrilled that our hives did so well since many of our neighboring bee keepers in the county have lost some or all of their hives due to pesticide spraying by conventional farmers, hive mites, malnutrition or queen bee failure. (Sure, blame it on the mama bee, how typical)
Fortunately, our bees thrived this year. We attribute it to the fact we did not harvest honey last year leaving the bees with plenty of food for winter. Plus I planted tons of bee-loving annuals for the bees to party in and I kept birdbaths, bowls filled with water. We made it easy for our bees to stay home instead of having to fly all over the county to get the nutrition they needed.
We also keep our hives on the center of our property in an area of high weeds and tall trees, all of which act as filters should one of the neighbor farmers get a bit heavy handed with their chemical spraying. This combo of food , water and shelter paid off well in that we'll have plenty of honey for our own needs and extra to sell, which always helps with The Poor Farm's budget.
The other huge benefit of this years harvest was working side by side with our GK's and later, with our middle son Jason who dropped by and was recruited to help. (You would think people would learn not to "drop by" as it often ends in extra work for them.) Allana is our true bee whisperer and started working side by side with Keith back when she was 6.
Now, three bee suits later, she is just enamored with the bees as she was that first summer. Her favorite thing to do is crouch down next to the buzzing hive and lay her head against it. "I love to hear them talking" she says. Her ten year old brother Wesley just expressed an interest this year so he is a new apprentice for us.
Both kids stuck with us the entire four hours it took to move the honey laden frames from hive supers to the back of pickup, from pickup into house and into the honey spinner, from spinner into buckets and from buckets into bottles. Truly, we had honey spattered over most of the kitchen surfaces and we did more finger licking than Colonel Sanders himself.
Una giornata fantastica!