Aunt Linda here this December morning. We had some COLD weather here this week in the Old Pueblo. Our first pipe burst. That was a surprise. While hastening to shut off the water, I could not help but delight in the rainbow colors of the droplets in the bright dawn light.
The ground in front of my hives was a little frosty as well. So the tiny corpses of honey bee drones that had been kicked out of the hive in November had little white blankets covering their black bodies. This holds it’s own beauty, but one you have to widen your inner gaze to see. Honey Bee colonies cull what it is not necessary, in order to increase their chances of survival, over winter. With fewer sources for nectar and pollen available in the winter, brood production is scaled way back, food foraging reduced, — and since drones eat, but do not contribute to the food stores, they are escorted (forcefully) out of the hive. This practical strategy means the death of the drones, but increases the chances that the colony as a whole survives. Basically, the hive slows down most functions for the winter.
The hen’s, older than a year or so, have slowed down there laying as well. The pituitary gland needs a certain amount of light for consistent laying of eggs. I am asked from egg customers and new chicken keepers “why” there are so few eggs this time of year; or “what is wrong”. A hens pituitary glands requires a certain amount of light in order for a her to lay consistently, and in the winter that light is reduced. Most of us have become used to a “food on demand “system of shopping and eating – and commercial egg companies keep light on their hens year round in order to push egg laying, even in the winter months. This allows the population to have as many eggs as it desires, at any time of the year. But this can be rough on the birds. I personally like to let The Girls stay with the cycles they evolved with, so I learn to live with fewer eggs. And I have learned to keep hens of all ages so that I can count on at least a few eggs.
We humans do not seem to slow down in the winter. Whether or not that is an intelligent adaptive strategy I’ll leave that for you to decode for yourself. Even if we do not need to slow it down for the raw reasons that other creatures do, we may find benefits in doing so, nonetheless.
Hot Tequila Toddy: Todays recipe is a “Tequila-Take” on the Classic Hot Toddy, which is usually made from amber colored Rum. Whisky, or Brandy.
It is simple. It is relaxing.
It may inspire an artful practice of slowing down – your mind/body, even if it cannot calm your external life. I will include photos of both the traditional as well as the tequila versions, so you can create what you’d like.
INGREDIENTS and How To:1) Fresh squeezed juice from one lemon or lime (depending on your preference). Squees right into your cup.
(It is citrus season and whether lime, lemon, orange, the fruit all started months ago “at the flower”. Bees, whether honey bee or orchard bees, visited the fragrant flowers, and carried out the ancient dance of completing the sexual transfer of pollen from flower to flower. See photo below for an example of a bee at a citrus flower; and notice the pollen grains on the bees hind legs.
The worker bee returns to the hive, where citrus honey is made from the nectar.
Here you can see a full grown orange – smiling! – as well as two new blossoms.
2) The best local honey you can find. 1-2 Tablespoons. Adjust to your taste. I learned this week that honey can actually help us sleep at night. I mention this because it relates to our theme of slowing down and relaxing. Apparently, the natural sugars in honey allows tryptophan to work it’s magic on us, just like the sleepy feeling we get after a eating a turkey dinner.
3) 1-2 ounces of Amber colored tequila, rum, whisky, or brandy of your choice. Many people choose to use a cheap quality/priced alcohol when mixing drinks. In this particular case, where there are really just three ingredients, besides hot water, I used the best tequila I had on hand. It blended beautifully with the best honey and the freshest citrus; after all, this is part physical medicine. And the “medicinal quality” comes as much from the quality tastes as it does from the quality properties of the ingredients.
A Soldier from Mexico (a Federale) once shared me that a little tequila can help kill a cold that is beginning in your throat. I tried it the first winter cold that tickled, and sure enough, just a “shot” of Tequila,( held for a minute in the back of my throat before swallowing), seemed to “burn” the germs right out. Note that I am not a health care professional. Note that I am not pushing drinking alcohol. Note that I am sharing with you what worked for me.
4) Hot Water – about a cup. but not boiling water. You want the warmth of hot water, but to keep the medicinal qualities of the honey, which some feel boiling water can negate.
The steam is so beautiful you can almost feel the magic of slowing down, even before you take a sip. Enjoy!