The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Newsletter - October 2012

Written by Stephanie on October 29th, 2012.      0 comments

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

Beehive Update - October 2012

Written by Martin on October 29th, 2012.      0 comments

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.

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Sharing the Surplus Update

Written by Stephanie on October 28th, 2012.      0 comments

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.

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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. 

Sweetree Honey in 'Catch and Cook' on Choice TV!

Written by Stephanie on October 17th, 2012.      0 comments

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.

aaron-beehive   Us-and-aaron    Aaron-&-Chelesea

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!

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Written by Stephanie on October 8th, 2012.      0 comments

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).  

TakaheThere 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.


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