Friday, March 23, 2012

Honey Tour and a Chobani Win

Yesterday was full of a few downs and a whole lot of ups!  Since "Ups" are WAY more fun I'm going to focus on those. lol!

There was a early rise that lead to a fancy breakfast, we went to a Honey Farm, I got a box of Chobani in the the mail, I finished my book and MSU lost.  I know, it's not nice to cheer against a team.  I'm much more in favor of cheering FOR your team and not against another but I'm a Boilermaker and my cousin's a Michigan grad and I just can't get behind MSU.  In our tourney brackets I picked Ohio State to win while the Hubs picked MSU.  hehehe!  I'm now in 2nd place and he's in second to last.  Granted that could change at any moment but I've never been this close to the top before.  Who's at the top you ask...His mom!  That's right - everyone's losing right now to me and my mother-in-law.  How do you like Dem Apples?!?  :D

 I told you yesterday about how early we've been getting up.  That means our breakfasts can be a little more involved.  Not that this really takes much time but it's definitely not as quick as a bowl of cereal. 

We had....

Eggs in Toast.  I'm sure there's a real name for these but I don't know what it is.  Since we've been in an Eastery mood I used a bunny cookie cutter to remove the center of the bread and then cooked an egg in the center for each of us.

Kai's was served with a jelly topped bunny, some cereal and some fruit (she really wanted some more of the strawberry pie but when you're out, you're out).

 I topped my bunny with some blackberry whipped honey and added a side of fruit also. :)

Grammy and Grandpa joined me in picking Kai up from school and the 4 of us headed off for our Honey Farm Tour.  I bought a tour for 4 off Living Social probably a month ago and yesterday was the day we decided to use it!

First we stopped at a Travel America (ie Truck Stop) to eat.  Not the best food by a long shot but it was eatable.  I got the Salad Bar which included soup.  This was no Ruby Tuesday salad bar either.  They had your basics...lettuce, onion, tomato, egg (Kai ate all mine, lol!), and sunflower seeds.  I'm 99% sure the Tomato Soup was Cambell's too.

 I did go up for a second helping along with some pears (which Kai also helped eat).

 Then we got to Hunter's Honey Farm!

It was located among some traditional Ag Farms.  If my parents hadn't been with me I don't know that I would have found it...There were a lot of twisty roads and I probably would have turned back. lol!

Once we got there though we found a little building/warehouse.

 With a little shop up front...

 And then we started our tour.  It was actually REALLY interesting.  We didn't go near any actual bees (I'm NOT disappointed.  I get a little freaked out around stingers).  It started in their warehouse area where the keep a lot of the hive boxes.

We saw some honeycombs...

And a block of fresh bee's wax....

And we walked over to where he explained how the bee's hive functions.  This is where I learned the most.  

(all info is from my memory so some may not be entirely accurate)  For example, a healthy hive consists of about 80,000 bees but there are only about 1500 males (drones).  The Drones do NOTHING but help the queen make the babies.  They don't even feed themselves.  Then in the fall they're kicked out to die in the cold!  

The Queen can live 2-5 years, while the others live only 5-6 weeks!  

The Queen's stinger is smooth but the others are barbed, which means when they sting you they basically rip their bodies apart! YIKES!!  AND a bee's venom is more potent than a Rattle Snake's but the venom is a much lower dose and so doesn't have the same effect.  That's why African Killer Bees are so dangerous...since they swarm they distribute more venom.

Bee's communicate via Pheromones that they can smell.  That's why they use foggers when they take the Honey Combs out.  The fog disrupts the pheromones so they can't communicate with each other.  It's like having a cell phone with no reception.

Here's an example of a honey comb with the Queen's spot...

The dangley cell in the center is where she spends all her time (that she's not laying).  She only eats Royal Jelly - no nectar - which is what helps her live 2-5 years.  There are also capped cells around the top.  Those have the honey in them.  :)

Here's a comb that's fully capped.  They basically run it through a machine that cuts the caps off ....

 Then it's put in this cylinder where it's spun and the honey flies off and is drawn down into an option of vats.

 The wax is made into candles, lip balm, lotions, soups, etc...  Bee's Wax will not burn, it's consumed.  So if you ever buy a bee's wax candle that has liquid wax pooling you know you've been conned. :)

And here is a BIG barrel of  raw honey.  The "extras" float up to the top (that would be wax, bee parts, etc...)

 There are 3 stages of honey:  RAW which is what comes straight out of the barrel - it has the most nutrients but there's the chance you'll get some of those "extras".  Warmed Raw which is slightly warmed (but not cooked) and strained.  You get nearly all the same nutrients but none of the extras. (That's what I bought).  And then there's Processed Honey (which is what you normally see at a grocery store).  That's been cooked and has lost most of it's nutrients.  It's still better for you than processed white sugar but you're not getting the benefits many associate with honey.

Sadly the bee population has dropped by about a 1/3 world wide due to about 19 different diseases.  Without bees to pollinate the agriculture we're going to have a HUGE problem.  No pollination means no new food which means famine.  World Wide!  There are a lot of theories about what's happening but no one knows for sure and there's no solution yet.  It's actually really scary. :(

After the tour was the best part...Tasting!!  I favored the Wild Flower but my mom liked Barely.  Kai liked them all...saying each one was better than the last!

I left with some new honey and some more whipped honey in Apple flavor and Blueberry.  Plus a honey sucker for Kai and a few honey sticks. :D

After we got home I saw the UPS guy walk up to our door!  He had 2 boxes with him!!!

Our new printer (our's has been broken for weeks so I've been e-mailing stuff to my  mom to print for me when needed!) and this....

12 Chobani Yogurts!!!!!

That's right, I WON a box of Chobani from Lindsay's give away on her blog.  I was so excited when I saw I actually won something that I screamed.  Probably not the best move after all the excitement at the door a couple weeks ago.  The Hubs came running in and I was scolded about not screaming if it's not an emergency. lol!  But seriously, I never win anything! 

I unpacked them and one Apple flavor was lost to shipping but the rest were A-OK.  Being a good daughter I gave 1 flavor of each to my parents since they paid for lunch and spent the whole day with us.  Plus I don't know that we can eat ALL of this... I mean we probably could, but should we? lol!

Dinner was another late throw together.  Next week I'll try harder to actually plan a meal.  It's much less stressful and I fell like we get a better "meal" when I do. :)

This time I cut up a package of Tempeh and coated it with a mix of Honey, Tamari, Olive Oil and a splash of Liquid Smoke (ie. Teriyaki Sauce) and then baked it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

On the side was some 90 second rice, CA Mix Veggies with Nutritional Yeast and some grapes.  The Hubs made himself a turkey sandwich with a side of rice and grapes.

For dessert Kai and I each had a yogurt cup...I had Passion Fruit (my fav) and Kai had Blood Orange. :)

After Kai went to bed I finished my book, Explosive Eighteen.  The latest in the Stephanie Plum Novels by Janet Evanovich.  These are a GREAT light summer read.

And if you saw the movie, One for the Money, don't let that deter you.  The books are WAY better.  Like 1000 times better.  The move was awful and should not be, in any way, an influence on the quality of the  books.  In fact I'd say the movie was a worst version of the book than the Twilight movie was of it's book! :)

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