It is January. My bees are supposed to be staying warm and keeping their queen cozy inside the hive. However, of late we’ve had warm temps during the day with sunny, blue skies and mild breezes. They do come out in winter to take “cleansing flights”, I’ll let you guess what that means. Here is a hint – Bees are very good housekeepers and their hives don’t have potties!
This is my first winter to be a bee keeper and my first January to observe what they do when old man winter arrives. These last warm days have brought them out of the hives and I’ve even seen evidence of foraging for pollen. Yesterday I swear I saw Drones, those are boy bees, and generally boy bees aren’t allowed to live in the hive during the cold winter months. I’m a tad curious about why I saw a few but may never know the answer. No matter, I’ve enjoyed watching my girls coming and going and buzzing about. They seem taken with the few pots of pansies I’ve set around for a little winter color. They also seem intrigued with me. I don’t know if it’s a fragrance I’m wearing or if they’re just buzzing around my head to say, “Hi”. Come February I’ll start to feed all the hives to help them expand their colonies in preparation for the honey flow. It’s been a nice respite the last few months to spend minimal time checking on them but I admit I’m getting pumped about spring, inspecting hives and watching them prepare to make me some honey! Stay tuned for more on Orange Bee bees.
While I’m on an orange kick I thought I’d tell you about this delicious Orange-Shallot Dressing I made. It is refreshing, citrusy, and light and superbly tops off those salads we’re all craving following all the rich holiday fare. It comes together in a matter of minutes and keeps refrigerated for several days. It makes serving a delicious salad quick and simple. I served it initially over a salad of spinach, mandarin oranges, ruby-red grapefruit and toasted almonds. The next time I tossed it with mixed baby greens, mushrooms, tomatoes and croutons and the time after that, leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, spicy pecans and sliced pears. It turns any salad combo into a delicious, crowd pleasing dish.
1 garlic clove, peeled
2-3 pinches salt
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 small shallot, minced
2/3 cup vegetable oil
Mash together garlic and salt until it forms a paste. Add orange and lemon juices and shallot and whisk until well blended. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Keep refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator a few minutes before serving and whisk well.