It's Christmas Eve! Here at the Lynch household the boys are very excited. Santa is coming tonight! The feed will be sprinkled out on the back lawn for the reindeer and a homemade shortbread and a glass of milk (or maybe beer) will be left out by the fireplace for Santa. So exciting. I love Christmas!
We wish you all a wonderful Christmas spending time with family and special friends and have a safe and fun new year!
Here a very famous poem for you to read tonight from Clement Moore and/or Henry Livingston Jr.
Twas the Night Before Christmas:
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
As 2012 is nearing an end and Christmas is around the corner we would like to thank you very much for supporting us this year. We really appreciate it. Thanks for your encouragement and great feedback, we love receiving them.
In this newsletter read a round up of what what exciting things Sweetree has been involved in this year, get an update on what Martin has been up to at the hives, read about Clyde Stratford's (beekeeper and founder of Comvita) elixir of life at a grand old age of 102! Also see the delicious Panforte recipe you can whip up for Christmas!
Read more here
We've officially hit summer and the bees are bringing in nectar into the hives. The recent period of fine weather has allowed the bees to draw out the frames and build up to good levels. Spring was very much a stop start affair which made for a slow buildup of colony strength and extended periods to get virgin queens mated. Bee pollen has also been slow coming in which has made it difficult to meet the demand from our customers - sorry! However the forecast for summer is hot and dry and this should mean a good honey harvest. Honey supers are now on hives.
Around the sites:
- a fantastic showing of Heketara this year, you can smell the fragrance of the nectar in the hives. However poor weather has limited any surplus, so Marokopa Spring may well be in short supply! Manuka expected to start in late December.
Four Brothers Reserve
- hives doing very well and large quantities of flowering plants, Kanuka is just flowering now.
Horsham Downs Country
- bee pollen is starting to pick up and hives are becoming strong. Good quantities of pasture flowers coming through now.
a - very strong and good bee numbers. Just been through a dearth of nectar but expecting flowering to take off now. Looking forward to some more award winning honey.
- a new site, huge quantities of lupin pollen coming into the hives, and good buildup. Kanuka flowering and Pohutakawa expected to flower shortly. So close to the sea, you can taste the salt!
- a new site, masses of Manuka flowering, the bees will be working hard to get a surplus of honey however.
, Chef, Author and TV personality was giving a cooking demonstration in Hamilton in September. As a thank you Kitchen 'n' Things gave her a jar of our Hakarimata honey.
I contacted her a couple of months later to see what she thought of our honey and this is what she said:
"I opened the jar and tried the honey Hakarimata is super - intense and full flavoured and quite delicious"
She has since used our honeys in charity gift boxes.
Can you believe Christmas is only eight weeks away! Where has the year gone! It is a busy time of year here at Sweetree, as you will see in Martin's beehive update below. Finally the sun has been shining here for a couple of days, so the bees are very happy. Hopefully they will collect heaps of pollen so we can have it available ongoing soon.
A couple of weeks ago we were asked to be part of a program called 'Catch and Cook' on Choice TV. In 'Catch and Cook' Adventure Aaron travels around New Zealand catching ingredients for wild food dishes cooked by celebrity chefs. In the episode we were involved in Chelsea Winter (Master Chef winner) sent Aaron to catch whitebait and collect honey for a delicious meal she cooked us at the Tuakau Hotel. We loved the experience, it was heaps of fun!
With Christmas around the corner we have a great line up of gift ideas this year. There is something for everyone, including crayons made with beeswax for the kids! We are also offering a great discount for businesses looking for that something special for customers or employees this year.
Read the rest of our newsletter
It's close to November and it's the time of year when there can be a dearth of nectar before the flow starts. The bees have built up strongly and they are using all the nectar they can get to feed themselves. Our Horsham Downs, Glen Massey and Marokopa apiaries are low on stores, so we are watching them carefully.
Tasks over the last two months have been collecting bee pollen (many different plants are now flowering), feeding hives where necessary, splitting hives, adding new queen cells and checking for disease. All hives are now at site.
Very exciting to see the Heketara (NZ's native tree daisy) flowering strongly this year and we hope to collect a spring crop from it at Marokopa. We have had only one crop of Heketara in the past 5 years and everyone loved the toffee taste. Look out for it, its a medium size tree with masses of white flowers (like a daisy) and sawtooth leaves.
We have our bees on a new coastal site at Kawhia and they are close to lupins - what an amazing orange red pollen the bees have been collecting. They are nestled in a sunny shallow valley, out of the wind(!), and the bees are going for it. We are looking forward to trying the honey from this site.
In the next month we will complete more hive splits and start adding supers (honey boxes) to the hives for honey collection.
You may recall in a previous blog post
that we are donating our old honey jars to Rural Women of NZ
to make jam, which is distributed to those in need in our area.
We have had a couple of jam making sessions since then, the last one was last week. Five of us, from the Horotiu Honeys branch, got together to make marmalade and plum jam. We sterilised, cut, weighed, measured, stirred and poured. It was lots of fun. Here's a couple of photos.
Most of the the jars will be going to Ngaruawahia Community Care Centre
to be included in their food bank parcels. We will be selling the rest at markets such as Gordonton Market
with proceeds being given back to the community, after sugar costs are paid.
We are meeting once a month to make more jam for the community, so if you have or know of any surplus fruit or would like to help please contact us
. And remember to give us back your used jars, especially the small ones, so the jam can then be distributed to more people.
A couple of weeks ago we were approached by Waikato Tourism, inquiring if we would be interested in taking part in a program called 'Catch and Cook' on Choice TV. We jumped at the chance!
Not being TV watchers we didn't even know about Catch and Cook or Adventure Aaron (the presenter). We had to do a bit of googling to find out more information. Aaron Carotta (aka Adventure Aaron) has been traveling the world for the last four years knocking off a few bucket list adventures while overcoming cancer. He is now known as an adventurer, traveler, blogger, foodie and television personality. He runs and hosts the TV programs - 'Catch and Cook', which I will explain soon, 'Alive! With Adventure Aaron' and 'Bucket Wish'. Bucket Wish is where he pays it forward and help teens with cancer carry out adventures on their bucket lists! Now that is awesome! We are going to have to get Freeview (with Choice TV), so we can see some of the adventures!
Check out Aaron's website and blog
and follow him on Facebook
In 'Catch and Cook' Aaron travels around New Zealand catching ingredients for wild food dishes cooked by celebrity chefs. In the episode we were involved in Chelsea Winter (Master Chef winner) sent Aaron to catch whitebait and collect honey for a delicious meal she cooked us at the Tuakau Hotel.
Aaron came to our new apiary site in Glen Massey and was very brave in finding some honey in our beehive frames, which is very hard to do at this time of year! He sliced the capping off, scrapped out the honey, sieved it and poured it into a jar to take back to the kitchen for Chelsea to use. Martin had a ball with Aaron at the hives! Here are some photos.
This episode of Catch and Cook will be on Choice TV sometime in March 2013. Like us on Facebook
and we will let you know the date it will be airing.
We loved the experience, it was heaps of fun! Both Aaron and Chelsea are really lovely and we enjoyed their company. We also enjoyed meeting the other operators and fantastic film crew, they did a fabulous job (especially around the bees - so brave)!
Thanks Aaron! We look forward to seeing more of you on TV soon!
We have recently spent a few days at one of our favourite spots in New Zealand. Tiritiri Matangi Island, an open bird sanctury (30km north east from Auckland).
There are no predators, so some of our rare native birds can florish. The bird life is amazing - Stitchbirds, Saddlebacks, Takahe (as shown in the photo, please excuse the quality), Riffleman, Brown Teal, Fernbird, Kereru, Bellbirds, Tuis, Kiwi, etc. There are also Tuatara.
We walked around the island during the day looking at the amazing views and bird life. At times just sat in the bush taking in the wonderful bird sounds and watching their antics. By night we would be back out there in the dark walking the tracks looking out for Kiwis. Unfortunately we didn't see any kiwi this year, last year we saw two, one on the path in front of us and the other fossicking around in the undergrowth. It was amazing to see them in their natural habitat.
This year however we walked down to the beach in the dark and sat down to watch the gorgeous little blue penguins come into shore to nest for the night. They are so cute! One walked right up to one of our boys, looked up and carried on. Such a special moment.
One thing I noticed was no bees. I must ask them if there are any hives on the island, we never saw any.
If you are interested in going over yourself to check it out you can go over for a day trip or stay overnight in the bunk house. Check out their website here
Gordonton held its inaugural Country Market on the 8th September, "the sun shone, the forecast rain didn’t arrive and everyone had an utterly splendid time,” reported community news site Number 8 Network.
Gordonton Country Market is like the Tamahere Market but on the north side of Hamilton. It is fantastic to have such a market on our side of town. There is a great variety of stalls including woodwork, needlework, baking, bread, honey, jewelery, sweets, garden ornaments, lucky dips for the kids and much more!
The market is held in Hukanui Park in the Gordonton village, it is a lovely country setting with beautiful big oak trees in the field and Devonshire teas available in the old school house - mmmm! Lots of space for the kids to run around, they can even spend time in the playground (like our boys did), while you sit back in the sun and have a coffee and treat or stroll around looking at the great stalls. It will be the perfect place to spend a hot summers day (when they finally come!).
It is a wonderful family and community environment. So if you haven't been yet go along next month. For more details about this market check out our market page.
To see some photos of the first Gordonton Country Market check out the slideshow at the Number 8 Network community website
Ever wanted fresh vegetables, fruit and other produce delivered to your door? Well it is now available in Hamilton and surrounding areas! Plainsview Gardens (who sell at the Hamilton Farmers Market every week) have put together a great variety of produce that can be delivered to your door at a great price.
The items available for delivery include:
See prices here
A variety of vegetables and fruit from Plainsview Gardens, Devine Fruits, Wai Shing Fresh Produce and other local growers (see the list and grower details here)
Free range eggs from Kainui
German bread and sausages from The Kurze family
Soon to come - salmon from the Salmon Man
and of course local honey from Sweetree Honey.
Plainsview Garden's water comes from near the source of the Waikamete River. They believe the quality of this water is what gives their tomatoes its great taste. Their first choice to control insects and disease is to use natural or organic sprays. If they have to use chemicals they avoid chemicals that could harm bees. That's what we love to here!
To order a fresh produce box all you need to do is email this order form
You can be sure of the freshness of this produce. We have been buying fruit and vege boxes from Plainsview Gardens for months and we love that it is so fresh and locally produced. You can't ask for better than that.
If you have any questions contact Plainsview Gardens here
Happy Fathers Day to all those wonderful Dads, Step-dads and Granddads out there!
Fathers day is all about honouring and celebrating our Dads. Making him feel special and thanking him for the special role he plays in our lives. It is not all about spending money on him but spending time with him and making him feel appreciated.
It is also a day to remember those dads that aren't with us anymore and it is at these times that we remember them and cherish special memories. One of Martin's cherished memories is beekeeping with his dad, it was a time he could spend some quality one on one time with him (hard to get when there are 7 children!). We hope that being outside helping their dad beekeeping will be great memories for our boys too.
Here are some photos of them together:
Here's a poem I found online you might like to read.
A Father's Day Poem
A Dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.
A dad can be one
of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient
and helpful and strong
In all that you do,
a dad's love plays a part.
There's always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your dad!
Thank you, Dad...
for listening and caring,
for giving and sharing,
but, especially, for just being you
Spring has finally sprung! The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, the flowers are blooming, the bees are buzzing and the lambs are frolicking. The other day I had to give way to a gorgeous family of ducks crossing the road. Don't you just love spring!
Spring means more time in the garden. Preparing garden beds, sowing seeds, planting out seedlings, fertilising and spraying! Just think about the bees before you bring out the sprays this year. Have a read of the ingredients and make sure there are none that will harm the bees. See the article below for more details.
We hope you enjoy this newsletter and would love your feedback and also let us know what sort of information you would like in future newsletters.
Read the rest of our newsletter
The first part of August was very wet - for almost two weeks - and that slowed the start of the normal spring build up. Luckily we were able to get to all our hives despite the wet weather and hives have been checked for diseases, bottom boards cleaned, fed where required, and varroa strips removed. The bees needed lots of attention to get them through this period.
Thankfully the weather has improved and the bees are now busy flying, collecting pollen and early spring sources of nectar. Pollen traps have been installed on the strong hives at Horsham Downs and we are now seeing good quantities of bee pollen coming in. Drone bees are now present in the hives and we have started raising queen cells in order to build up hive numbers and recover from losses over winter.
We have also undertaken checks of all the hives to ensure that the varroa treatments worked - essential now there is resistance to a number of varroa treatments. Our hives at Marokopa had significant levels of varroa despite being treated in late Autumn and so we applied an alternative treatment which has worked really well.
Next steps will be to continue to monitor the buildup of the hives, create more new hives by raising queen cells and shifting hives out to site.
Super boxes made Pollen traps installed
Have you noticed some new photos on our website? We finally have our new 'Sweetree' look on all our honey and bee pollen labels. We asked Claudia Aalderink, our great photographer, to update our photos. You will see some of them around the website, with some more going up soon.
I was keen to show you the behind the scenes photos of one of Claudia photo shoots. She is very creative and came up with some wonderful shots! Thanks Claudia!