Sweet Summer

Growing up during the ’70s was a lot different from the world that children grow up in today. I’m going to show my age a little bit, but we didn’t have all the electronic and digital devices that take up so much of the valuable extra time that children have now. Since we didn’t spend our time pushing buttons and running our fingers over glass screens, we had to make our own fun using basic devices. My older siblings may tell you that I watched too much television as a child, but I turned out ok and that’s another story.

There are still many opportunities for children in today’s world to participate in activities that may have seemed common during the last century, but are very uncommon today. An article in this issue (“Every Third Bite,” page 36) reminds me of one of those activities. The article is about a group of young people who are taking on the challenge of helping the dwindling honeybee population. They’ve installed beehives on the top of several buildings in the Rochester area, and are seeking to both increase the local honeybee population and to better understand the bees as well. By doing this, they expose their children to the wonderful world of beekeeping. The children learn the hobby while also enjoying delicious honey.

My older brothers were hobbyists in the world of beekeeping. One of my favorite days of summer was when they would harvest the honey. First, they extracted frames from the supers while wearing their bee suits in order to reduce the number of bee stings. Next they uncapped the wax from both sides of the frame. The wax held the honey in place in the honeycomb. I would take a bit of wax and chew it like gum, enjoying the honey that permeated the wax. Then, several frames were placed in a large cylinder-shaped extractor. Centrifugal force from spinning the tub on gears caused the honey to spill forth from the wax cells in the frames. This passed through a filter – usually a clean old pair of pantyhose – and spilled into jars used to store the honey.

I took those days for granted, but now I see how very special they were. Enjoy the first warm days of summer!

by Mark Stash

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