Friday, July 2, 2010


Well…what do you do in a tiny coastal town for a week? Explore the islands. Fortunately those tourist info centers and travel agencies are very willing to help you out. Actually, they do have some great tours here out to the various islands - there are something like 1000 islands along the Dalmatian Coast. I have learned…the Dalmatians (dogs) originally came from this area as well as the grape we know as Zinfandel, though they call it Dobricic (dobrishich).

We took a trip out to Solta island (where the wine grapes came from) with another couple, Jean and Jerry from the other Vancouver. We had a great trip thanks to our guides.

First stop - the beehives. Now, I’m normally quite worried about bees and that really hasn’t changed, however, thankfully, the bees were far too busy moving from flower to flower (lavender) to bother with us.
Did you know the honey bee, the workers anyway, only lives about 50 days? They spend their first 20 days living inside the hive, taking care of the pupa and doing other odd jobs (some things got lost in translation) and then gather pollen for only the last month of their life before they die. These guys were intent on getting as much pollen and nectar as possible to contribute to the collective. I tried to get a picture of the bees at the flowers but only succeeded in getting this great butterfly shot. I’ll post a couple of Jeff’s later on - he was successful in getting a few good pictures.
Goran, the beekeeper, had one of those glass hives where you can look in and see the bees at work. While I’ve seen these before, I’ve never had anyone explaining things on the spot. He pointed out bees with pollen “sacks” on their front legs - you could actually see them and watch them drop the sacks into a hole. The pollen is different colors, depending upon the flowers the bee visited. Since bees are indiscriminate on which flowers they visit in the course of a day, I’ve often wondered how honey could be said to be any particular kind…turns out they take the honey for analysis and if 51% or more of it is from a particular type of flower then you can label your honey as “Rosemary Honey”, which is his particular trademark. The color variation in honey is also due to the source of pollen…I have a new appreciation for the honey and the work involved to create and collect it.
The picture of the screens show how he works with the bees. The top of the picture is a screen that he has attached a thin beeswax sheet to. It is put in the hive and within 5 days the bees have already begun the process of making the honeycomb they will use to create the honey. There are 2 layers of 9 in each hive, 3 of which will be for the bees to use exclusively, the rest used by the beekeeper.

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