Tuesday, October 29, 2013


-Posted by Isaac

This summer we conducted a grand experiment in trying to produce buckwheat honey.

Actually, we've been fooling around with buckwheat for three years now, little half-arce plots on my sister's produce farm and experiments in the garden.
We knew that buckwheat grows fast, four weeks to bloom, and we knew that the bees love it.

Although we've had many buckwheat requests over the years, we just didn't know if it would be worth it to try and produce the black, rich, bold honey.
This year the opportunity presented itself. My brother Justin, the progressive grain farmer, had twenty acres of rye growing as a cover crop. He planned on harvesting it for seed in July then planting something else to go into winter. Buckwheat didn't exactly fit the bill, but Justin is a good guy and through my brotherly persuasion we got the buckwheat idea rolling.
While waiting for the July planting, we decided to do another garden plot: 

"The throw-down" -- Bridger's seeding technique.

This small area isn't exactly enough to make a honey crop, but it's fun to watch the bees on the buckwheat.
Plus we're somewhat lazy gardeners and cover cropping most of the garden with a thick legume meant minimal weeding during the dog days of August.
(Why sweat over onions and tomatoes when good ol' Sis at Dangling Carrot grows six acres of produce just a mile away!)

Raking in the seed meant a speedier germination.

Week  Two / Three

Week Four / Five
The garden plot was fully bloomed by the time the rye finally came off Justin's field.
We were ready to plant some real acreage.
900 lbs of seed -- a lot of buckwheat

The seeds, up-close
It's unusual to see a planter out of the barn in late July. 
As I said, Justin is a progressive farmer.
Work faster! 

Mason wants a shot at planting.

This picture was taken about four weeks after planting. The field got whiter and more beautiful as the days went on. We had a few questions from our neighbors... buckwheat isn't a normal thing around here.
You can see one group of hives in the distance. I had 31 total to forage on the field.

During the buckwheat growth, I was busy with summer honey. After a few bee yards had been pulled and extracted, this spot (only a mile from home) was convenient for cleaning out wet supers. I've learned the hard way-- when wet sticky supers are left in piles around the honey house, you attract a lot of craziness.

Here's a video shot during one of these clean-outs:

In September I got around to pulling the buckwheat honey. I was a little disappointed with the quantity, but not all with the quality:

Rich, thick and black as ink. The above picture is interesting. Even though the honey is black, newly drawn wax is still bright yellow.

It has a very robust, smokey taste. It's darker than even the tulip poplar honey. I'm proud of it, I have to say. Jayne thinks it has a sweeter aftertaste than most buckwheat honeys because the goldenrod came into bloom while the supers were still on. The bees spent the mornings on the buckwheat and the afternoons making regular fall honey, mixing the two. They also brought in an abundance of beautiful orange goldenrod pollen. Twelve of the hives had pollen traps... we were double-dipping.

Come on out to a market and try it!

I'll still be at the North Market through November and Jayne starts the Worthington Winter Market this week. This year we're at Worthington every weekend.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wonders of Fall on the Honey Farm

-posted by Jayne

Wonders of fall, while growing up on a honey farm:

The wooly worm wiggling through the leaves

Osage Orange "Balls" -perfect for gathering, throwing in the stream,
and keeping the spiders away (as the old wives' tale goes)

"Look, they're everywhere!!  Where do they come from?"
"Look, up, Maizy... where do you think?"

Endless trips to the bridge to throw the Osage Orange overboard
"Look, mine's floating!"

Fall sun in the sandbox.

Learning to build bee boxes with daddy.

Mason gracefully took his turn and learned how
 important it is to keep the fingers away.  Ouch!

Uncle Perry installs a new slate floor in the mud-room addition.

100 year old kitchen floors...

... become new floors out of reclaimed 100 year old
oak barn wood.

A first place prize for art work in the pre-school section
at the Pumpkin Show!

The sun on the honeysticks at market.
The re-growth of buckwheat after the first harvest went
to seed and was tilled under for cover crop.  Sorry, bees,
it will likely not bloom before the frost.

This is just a little glimpse in to our lives these past few busy weeks at Honeyrun Farm.  We will give you more details on our projects soon...  including our kitchen remodel, some new projects planned for late Fall and the upcoming gift-giving season, and last but not least.... Buckwheat Honey!   We will have it at market next weekend!  One more outdoor Worthington market until we head indoors to the Shops at Worthington Mall for the Winter Market.  Enjoy those crisp Fall days ahead.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall's A Comin'

-Posted by Isaac

A few days ago to celebrate life in general and the government shut-down in particular, the kids and I decided to go for an evening romp around Deer Creek State Park.
Lo and behold this is what we found:
 I thought it was a state park?

Oh well, no playground. But we certainly were not going to let a road block stop us from fun.
It was a warm evening and Deer Creek is a big lake.
Fences only go so far...

It was time for a clothes-on impromptu swim.
"This way guys!"
 Last sand castle of the year?

Now the days have gotten crisp. The Fall honey awaits.
This afternoon Maizy helped me light up the smoker, banana in hand. She's a pro. I've yet to master banana-smoker multitasking.

I made it out to the hives on Crown Hill Golf Course. What a wealth of goldenrod honey! Ten years ago I used to receive a paycheck from Crown Hill.
I guess I still do... indirectly.

So we'll have this year's Fall honey at the market this weekend. Or at the very least a mix of the two. A trade secret for the beautiful lady who walked away last week wanting this year's Fall honey, "not that old stuff.": (They taste the same.)

I'm thinking October is my favorite month of the year.

At least until April rolls around.