> Bloom April 06 2016
Each spring when I rediscover our "bloom calendar," it's like walking through the blossoms of the past few years.
You see, the bloom calendar is the same paper calendar book, dated 2008, where we record each spring's bloom, with each year being a different color ink. For example, 2009 was black pen, 2012 was blue marker and this year is purple Sharpie.
It's interesting to compare when things bloomed each year, and the difference is amazing. In 2012, when we had an early spring, I recorded on March 25, "black locust still in bloom," suggesting these trees had been blooming for a week or two. Last year, black locust didn't start blooming until late April, a whole month later.
Last year, on March 29, we had temps in the 20s, while this year cherry trees were in full bloom on the same date.
Other things find their way into the calendar. In 2009 on March 18 we found five bluebird eggs in a nest, the same day we sowed crimson clover, and on March 29 the eggs hatched. The same year also was a terrible tick year, with a notation at the end of April of "ticks everywhere!"
Also in 2009, a neighbor brought us a swarm of honeybees he found hanging from a fake floral arrangement at a cemetery, and we caught another swarm on our basketball hoop.
While beekeeping isn't typically thought of as farming, I love how this trade keeps us in touch with Nature. Everything about honey is dictated by the weather. Spring, especially in Middle Tennessee, is unpredictable, so each year we look forward to tasting our spring vintage.
It's the condensed essence of a volatile and unpredictable season, always different and always perfect.
> From rum, to gin, to honey September 09 2015
An oak barrel that's been around
The thing about the folks at Corsair Distillery is they're not afraid to experiment.
So, having heard of our Barrel-Aged Honey, they kindly handed us one of their used, still-wet barrels and said, "Put some honey in it and let's see what happens."
The oak barrel's first incarnation was as a vessel for Corsair's spiced rum. Then they did a barrel-aged gin the same barrel. And that's when we got the barrel. It was still dripping with moisture and gin, the wood swollen tight, so we loaded it with our 2014 Wildflower Summer vintage and let it sit.
While this is all very exciting, the truth is we forgot about it. Spring and heavy beekeeping came around, and what was happening in that Corsair barrel was the last thing on our minds.
Just imagine our delight when we remembered it a few months later and tasted it. Wow! The wheels were turning with cocktail ideas, which teas to stir it into and, well, just how much could fit on a spoon.
This limited-edition Corsair-Barrel-Aged-Honey is lighter and more spicy than our original Barrel-Aged Honey, which is aged in oak barrels from a whiskey distiller. Corsair launched the honey at September's 3st of the Month and used the honey in a Bees Knees cocktail.
You can buy this honey only at Corsair in Nashville or from us on September 12 at either the Made In Nashville festival or the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival. We only have a few cases left of this delicious collaboration, and when it's gone it's gone.
> Find us at these holiday events: October 29 2013
We carefully choose a handful of area craft and food events to attend each year.
We've already enjoyed Made In Nashville, a benefit for the TN Literacy Coalition, as well as the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival, which draws foodies from all over the Southeast, and the Edgehill Village Artisan Fair, a small neighborhood show in the hip and crafty Edgehill Village 'hood.
Now we're gearing up for holiday shoppers with four more events.
* Barn in the Bend (Madison, Tenn.) — Nov. 8 and 9 with a sneak peak the evening of Nov. 7 (Never done a barn sale, so can't wait to try a new experience!)
* Porter Flea Holiday (Nashville, Tenn.) — Dec. 6 and 7 (We were totally unprepared for this show last year — sold out before one 'o clock — so we'll be armed with lots of honey sampler crates and other gift items this year.)
* Studio Be Holiday Market (Nashville, Tenn.) — Dec. 6 and 7 (Met Shannon Wille at Edgehill Village Artisan Fair, and she handpicked us for this show; looks like a nice assortment of handmade crafts, gourmet food and art! There will be food and wine on the 6th.)