Spring is officially here and the activity level is really amping up around our garden. The bees aren’t the only ones who are in a semi-crazed state jumping from one corner of the garden to another in hopes of making a dent in a continually updated list of priorities. Not that I’m making a list for Charlie — or he for me — but we both have subtle ways of letting our wishes be known. I consider myself profoundly lucky to have a husband who actually loves to work outdoors in the garden. It wasn’t always the case. As a matter of fact, when we first got married, he’d disappear for entire days to play golf. (I know, golf ???) It took me a year or two of mild persuasion to get him on the program but once he rediscovered the joys of digging in the dirt, he was hooked and never looked back. I try not to take advantage of the fact that he seems to be enjoying it so much but once I start in on something, he’s the kind of guy that will come and lend a helping hand, usually before the project ever makes it to the honey do list.
Speaking of bees and honey, you may have noticed the spring return of native bees to your garden. I let out a big sigh of relief when I see they’ve returned each year after the big scare a few years back when colonies of bees were reportedly dying off in large numbers. Many theories for this decline have been offered including climate change, pesticides, viruses and mites. We depend on bees for pollination of much of our food so it’s better not to take any chances and do everything we can to encourage them to grow and thrive by not using pesticides and providing areas for nesting sites. For more information contact Corky Luster at the Ballard Bee Company who’s quickly becoming Seattle’s local bee guy. Through him you can rent a hive, sponsor one in your garden, have a one on one consultation or let him help you set up your own hive. The Xerces Society is a nonprofit origination that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. They have useful information on all of our precious pollinators including bees.
The thought of hosting a hive has crossed my mind more than once but in the meantime we buy our honey from the folks at Rockridge Orchards who sell year-round at the University Farmers Market. Wade told us that the honey we buy this time of year comes from last fall’s eclectic mix of flowering plants — wild mustard, mizuna, Japanese knotweed, radish flowers and all kinds of cover crops. His first honey for 2010 will be a very short season early in May from the Broadleaf Maple trees, native to this area. Later in the summer, his fruit orchards will provide plenty of food for his bees and our honey.
Last weekend after a long day in the garden I found myself dreaming of joyfully walking around at the end of the day with my honey, surveying the progress we’d made, a delicious cocktail in hand. In a stoke of genius, we came up with this honey-kissed drink, a perfect accompaniment while you stroll and check chores off your list. Take some time to enjoy all the results of the work you’ve completed.
Honey Do Cocktail (for you and your honey)
4 ounces dark rum – light rum will also work
1 T honey, preferably raw and organic
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
1 very fresh egg white
Put rum, honey, lemon & lime juice in a shaker and swirl until the honey is dissolved.
Wash the shell of the egg well. Separate the egg, save the yolk for another use and put the white in your shaker. If you are fussy about eating raw eggs, need I say, don’t drink them either. We love the dry foam it creates on the drink and indulge often with no ill effects but it’s obviously up to you.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake like the dickens to create the foam.
Pour over cracked ice.
Don’t worry, bee happy.
If cocktails aren’t your thing, you can still have a lovely snack by slathering goat cheese from Port Madison on a slice of bread from Preston Hill Bakery and drizzling with Rockridge honey. Sweet.