Getting Busy With the Bees

I will say this for central Europe. When spring arrives—I mean really arrives—the landscape is completely transformed in the space of a two or three weeks. What was once grim and gray becomes lush and green. It’s pretty wonderful.

Time for an outing to the country! Or at least to the exurbs of Warsaw. The international women’s group sponsored a day trip to an apiary, AKA bee farm. Because who doesn’t like honey?

Being on a farm, I had flashbacks to weekends on my grandfather’s hobby farm in Tennessee. He kept bees for a while, too. I remember the jars with the comb still in them. Yum!

Zbigniew, a bee farmer and award-winning local honey manufacturer, gave us a very interesting presentation on bees and honey. (No, really, it was very interesting. Bees are cool.)
A little Polish chic.

This friendly barn cat was super excited to have so many women to coo over him.
The farm was so pretty. We had a cookout while we were there. Lovely.
Looks like home to me. I really need a yard…
Chickens were running all over the place!
Some of the beehives. With a chicken. We didn’t bother the bees, and they didn’t bother us. No one got stung on this expedition.
I don’t know why the hives are different colors, but I think they are kind of pretty.
The bees are hard at work. After learning about how a hive works, I am officially fascinated by them.
These bees were “fanning” the hive with their wings, because it was fairly hot out (for Poland–about 80 degrees F.).
In the showroom, we learned more about what makes a good jar of honey. Or a bad one. In short: buy local, and don’t buy “mixed” honey. It is cut with pasteurized honey from China and is basically flavored sugar.
Fresh honeycomb was very popular.
A honey-tasting, just like a wine tasting.
Bee pollen for sale. The Poles believe that this has a variety of health benefits. Given that I am so allergic to the pollens in this region, I’m afraid to try it. 
Beeswax candles, made from the “dirty” honeycombs that can’t be recycled. Another interesting process that I can’t really explain properly.
Local honey! I bought two different kinds. Apparently, honey that gets creamy like this is a good sign. It means that it has not been pasteurized, which destroys many of the health benefits. All I know is that raw honey tastes really good.

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