Never Miss a Beat

More Pollinator Fun: The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco is a very favorite author/illustrator  so I\’d like to share our love of her book, “The Bee Tree” for National Honey Bee Day!

National Honey Bee Day is an awareness day when beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations, and honey bee enthusiasts from across the United States celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to humans\’ everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species


The Bee Tree\

This charming book features a real-life book adventure between a grandfather and his granddaughter.

Mary Ellen complains that she is tired of reading. Her grandfather has just the thing to spice up the afternoon….“this is just the right time to find a bee tree !”

Chasing a bee through the Michigan countryside, they are soon joined by a variety of village folk. Finally, the bee leads them to the hive in a tree where they gather a bit of honey. At the end of the story, the grandfather dribbles a little bit of honey on his granddaughter’s book cover and tells Mary Ellen to compare its sweetness to that which is found inside. “Just like we ran after the bees to find their tree, so you must also chase these things: adventure, knowledge, and wisdom through the pages of a book! \”

Well said, Grandpa!


Grab your copy of The Bee Tree HERE.

Something To Do

The process the grandfather in The Bee Tree uses to get the bees is one that all bee-keepers use to this day. In the summers we often watch and help our bee-keeping friends gather the honey.


In the fields surrounding Avonlea farm bees take their treasures back to their hives to make the liquid gold we call honey.

Though I love honey and buy many organic jars of the beautiful stuff, I had never really thought about a bee’s life and how needed they are.


Luella prepares to smoke the hives to calm the bees.


Keeping their own demeanor calm is important to keep the bees calm as well.


Once the bees are calmed, they start looking to see how much honey there is and if it’s ready to be harvested.


With the bees still on the comb, Pavo decides it’s time to shake them loose and put this one away to harvest the honey.


Once back at the barn, Luella combs off the wax so she can extract the honey. She leaves just enough wax on the comb for the bees to store more food for winter and have enough warmth from the wax to survive the long cold dark winters of Sweden.


Yummmm. Doesn\’t like look like pure gold?


This one is ready for the extractor.


A honey extractor is a mechanical device used in the extraction of honey from honeycombs. A honey extractor extracts the honey from the honeycomb without destroying the comb. Extractors work by centrifugal force. A drum or container holds a frame basket that spins, flinging the honey out.


A bucket at the bottom of the extractor catches the honey.


All in an afternoon’s work.

Currently, the world’s bee population is in crisis. Pesticides are creating something called Colony Collapse which kills entire beehives. It is becoming so extreme that China is now hand-pollinating its fruit trees.  The bottom line: without bees, we will not have food. By purchasing local organic vegetables, fruit, and honey we are helping to sustain their world.

How much honey does a bee make?

On a single flight, a honey bee can visit more than 1,000 flowers, drinking nectar with its proboscis, a tongue that resembles a drinking straw. When its “honey stomach” — which holds only one-eyedroppers’ worth of nectar — is full, the bee deposits the nectar into hive cells.

It’s Time to play Honey Bees


Group your children into “colonies.” This can be done with one child as well. For each colony, place an eyedropper and cup of water at one end of the room and a plastic medicine cup (marked with teaspoon and tablespoon increments) across the room.

To play, children take turns transferring water across the room to the medicine cups — one drop at a time! As the “bees” deposit their “honey” into the “hives,” a recorder keeps count of the drops needed to produce the amounts of water, from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons. When finished, explain that the drop count for each measurement equals the number of bee flights taken to produce that amount of honey. Tell children that each bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.

Relentlessly Fun’s creative look at bees, Hexagons, and Honeycombs…all out of toilet paper rolls. I just love her.


(Photo by Relentlessy Fun, Deceptively Educational)

Let’s Get Cooking With Honey: Honey Cinnamon Rolls

Honey Cinnamon Rolls\

2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup HONEY
2 tsp salt
1 pint milk
2 eggs
6 cups flour
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon mixed

Dissolve yeast with warm water in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large pan, melt shortening and add HONEY, salt, and milk, and allow it to cool. Beat eggs and add to yeast mixture. Then, beat in flour. Turn out dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place dough in the bowl and let it rise until it’s double in bulk.

Prepare two 9 X 12 pans with 1/4 cup margarine each and sprinkle with brown sugar. Add nuts and dab teaspoons of ice cream over the entire pan. When the dough has risen, punch down and place half on a floured surface and roll out to 9×12 size with a floured rolling pin. Spread with butter or margarine, then brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up like a jelly roll then cut off about 1 1/2” slices and place on prepared 9 X 13 pan. You should get about 16 cinnamon rolls per pan. Let these rise until double in bulk. Bake in 350°oven for about 30 minutes. When brown on top turn upside down on waxed paper to cool.