> TruBee in ... Antarctica? February 28 2014
It's not often we get a letter like this.
For years, a customer in North Carolina has been buying our Beeswax Rub for her son, a global explorer. We first heard about Kevin when he was working on a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. His mother thought he could use something for his chapped hands and face.
Well, Kevin seems to have a thing for cold, harsh conditions. Now he's in Antarctica, and his mother continues to send him our Beeswax Rub.
We received a letter from Kevin, along with photos from "the deep field camp (Byrd) on the West Antarctic ice sheet."
Here's what he said:
"Dear Laura —
I wish had words for how thankful I am for your Beeswax Rub. It's kind of an inside joke that Antarctica is a "Harsh Continent." That's always everyone's way of explain a problem.
It is harsh and dry on your skin. Antarctic winds chap your face. And while your product is incredible for hands and faces ... the smell is what I fell in love with. There are very few smells in Antarctica. Nothing frozen smells, and everything else never thaws enough. So, your rub's smell was the highlight of two seasons in Antarctica. Thank you. Kevin."
It's hard to get a better testimonial than that!
> If you plant one thing February 07 2014
I was about to say, "If you plant one thing for your honeybees, plant crimson clover."
But I'm rethinking that already. We have a little land, and Jeff plowed about an acre of it in 2010 and sowed crimson clover seed. We have enjoyed this clover probably as much as the bees have. It's attractive, it's a great nectar source and it keeps other growth at bay.
But there are other plants just as easy that work for small patches of yard or for patios. One of my favorites is anise hyssop. A perennial herb, mine is in full sun and comes back each year. The foliage is a deep green, smelling of anise, and the flowers are a lovely lavender color that honeybees seem to fancy.
Lavender is another perennial that bees go crazy over, but it can be difficult to maintain in Tennessee's wet springs and humid summers. We have about 40 lavender plants that have thrived only because they are in full, baking sun and rocky soil. The same goes for rosemary — bees like the delicate blue-purple flowers, but rosemary likes well-drained soil and lots of sun!
If you're interested in building up the "backbone" of your landscape, and also want evergreens, hollies have almost imperceptible little white flowers in the spring that are a prolific nectar source. The same goes for privet and pittosporum.
All this to say, there's really no need to plant things for your bees. They will fly up to three miles from the hive, and they are designed to forage.
In fact, in much of the Southeast, it's quite easy to help provide for the bees — just put off mowing the lawn a few days. That's our excuse, at least. Ignoring the lawn will probably result in lots of white clover, something the bees really like.
So, I'm coming full circle here. I've gone from "if you plant one thing" to "if you ignore one thing."
See? It's that easy to make honeybees happy.
Wildseed Farms, a seed catalog that offers regional wildflower mixes. We sowed an acre with the southeast blend a few years ago, and many of the flowers, like cosmos and gallardia, have re-seeded themselves.
Feed the Bees, a Community Campaign — encourages sustainable bee populations by offering bee friendly planting ideas
The Honeybee Conservancy — lots of garden ideas, plus information about bees that burrow
> Beekeepers hate to waste stuff January 30 2012
And every time we harvest honey, we're left with buckets of beeswax "cappings," the layer of beeswax that honeybees use to seal their honeycomb.
So, our unbleached beeswax is sharing the limelight with our honey now, making its debut in our new Beeswax Rub. We started making it for dry skin, but market customers and friends have come up with all sorts of new uses for it — from conditioning leather belts and butcher blocks to using it on dreadlocks (to condition without too much "slip") and de-squeaking drawers.
We hope you (or your customers) can enjoy it too. It's made of only five all-natural ingredients, and that's including the lavender and rosemary essential oils.