It’s been a season defined by flowers it seems. Orion arrived at the end of April and I’ve got the sight and smell of Lilacs imprinted in my memory from the drive to the hospital which was lined with various hues of purple and some white Lilac trees, it’s been the smell of blooming black locust trees on our walks through the neighbourhood in the late mornings following his return home, the sunny yellow lilies and the bold alliums and poppies in the garden as we walk in the yard listening to the birds after the sun has settled behind the hedges and this week it’s been the roses in full bloom in the villages when we’ve been out and about.
I’ve also been thinking lots about the Elderflower in bloom everywhere. Last year at this time I was on my bike collecting blossoms for my first ever homemade batch of Elderflower cordial (you can find the recipe here) just before my parents came for a visit. In a couple weeks they’ll be visiting again, but this time I’ve decided to let the cordial pass me by. We’ve got our hands full with Orion and being waist deep in weeds along the edges of the forest with a newborn that sounds slightly less tempting, especially with ticks being in full force this year.
But it’s been Jeremie who’s been benefiting from the flowers this season. It’s been years that he’s wanted to get into beekeeping and it never seemed quite the right time but we’ve made good friends with our neighbours François and Claire and so together we’ve had lots of DIY projects underway and this year came the mention of beekeeping! So this winter, he and François began prepping and painting hives and on April 26th, just days after Orion was born the bees were introduced into the hives. In early May all four of us went down to Lyon where the guys took some advanced courses on the subject and Claire and I enjoyed touring and tasting the local wines of Beaujolais (and I was pleasantly surprised by just how lovely the little villages were… we must go back!) Now just over a month later we’ve already done our first honey harvest of Acacia honey which, it turns out, actually comes from the fragrant Black Locust trees I was talking about (which are also called “false acacia.”)
Acacia honey is one of the French favourites, and known for is exceptional quality in the region, it’s light in colour and very fluid consistency so is sometimes added to other types which have a tendency to crystallize in order to stabilize them. Together they scraped off the outer layer of beeswax from the frames to expose the dripping honey, placed them into the centrifuge where the honey falls to the bottom, is drained into a maturing vessel where the impurities are separated from the tasty, tasty honey and left a few weeks before being ready to be portioned into jars and labeled!
To say we’re excited about the upcoming harvests and other types of honey would be an understatement. The question is… what’s the next project going to be!? If you’ve got some ideas I’d love to hear about them below we’re always up for suggestions!