Bottling the last of the honey tonight. Usually, Wilson and I undertake this task together as we share the hives. It is a cold, rainy October night, the leaves are beginning their wardrobe change painting my drive to and from work is a glorious new palette twice a day.
I’m finishing it off what we had left when we ran out of jars. It is an interesting study in careful efficiency. Honey is a thick and amazingly tenacious at escaping in the process of moving from bucket to jars. Alice comes by to sniff and investigate; I am at a crucial point of shutting off the flow just in time to top off the jar while tipping the bucket precariously on the counter. She wedges between the cabinet, and my knees, blowing snot from her wet snout. With luck, it only lands on my sweater. I carefully hold a jar to her nose and she breathes in the sweetness. (No snot, I promise.) It triggers some memory and she curls contentedly at my feet. This year’s harvest is sluggish and dark,
As it glides into to clear glass, creating an amber glow and warming my hand, I think of all the sunny days, all the joys I have had in the months since the first bees began filling the comb with perfectly packed stores. It occurs to me that the healing properties of honey would probably make a great poultice for Alice’s itchy and balding hide. I could slaver her raw spots with it and wrap her in an old sweatshirt to sooth her discomfort. Probably would regret it when she got the gluey stuff all over my bed or worse yet licked it all off. Best to bottle it.
What fun it would be to secretly ship a jar to each follower of my blog who has loyally read and commented on my journey this past summer when I restarted my bees. To reward those “pen pals” of the modern era who I will most likely never greet face-to-face, with a jar of my liquid sunshine. To Gallivance who mentioned me to bee keepers in Serbia, to Nolsie in Australia who is welcoming Spring as I usher in the Fall, I would like to send you some of my summer. To Marie Keates, Tootlepeddle, and Cheryl who endured a summer in the UK that never quite brought hot, sunny days, I would love to share the last embers of my summertime.
Six more pounds, 12 squat 8 ounce jars, sealed with the sticky contents to be opened and released into someone else’s world. That is a comforting thought.
To Phiil in Houston, waiting for the chance to wear long pants and a sweater. To Susan in CA, to Joyce outside Boston and Julie in the Heartland, Shelley and Shellie, AM Simpson in Southwest Australia and Badfish out of water somewhere in Southeast Asia, I’m sending you virtual honey and sunshine.
Laura and Allen, you are close enough to meet me for your sunshine in a jar! Doppleganger expect yours in your Christmas basket.
Thank you to all who have encouraged me.