Starting every summer around the end of July once the harvesting is done, I start longing for cooler mornings and shorter days. To us, summer is exhausting, yet very exciting! It means literally tons of raw honey! We begin extracting in late spring just as the warm weather sets in and then we typically complete our extracting by mid-late July. Long days of perspiration, heavy lifting and bee stings is the way we provide for our growing family. We put great attention into the details of this process so there are no short-cuts. It is certainly a labor of love. Once the honey is extracted and stored in our food grade holding containers until it is needed for bottling, our rest begins. To help recover from the long days, we tend to take our days a little slower, rise a little later and go to sleep earlier. With the shortening daylight hours it helps to make this process a bit more natural. We also plant our fall garden, often times the bees require all our attention in the spring so we realistically do not have the time to manage an organic garden for the spring season; however with a little more leisure time in the fall we enjoy the crisp mornings tending to our fall carrots, beets, greens and more. It also provides a great teaching opportunity for our children as they return back to homeschooling. There is something life giving (beyond the physical nourishment) of a garden. I love to watch our children dig into the dark humus to find earth worms and other insects that spark curiosity and excitement. It seems toys fall short in entertaining our children compared to a garden that is full of life.
The fall also gives us time to reflect on the harvest from the spring and summer, on our family and to begin dreaming and planning for the next season. We find the cyclical nature of our work fits well with the rhythm of a family. Each year has seasons of work and rest; the muggy summer heat gives us a greater appreciation for the cool, dry fall with open windows and gentle breezes. This year was exceptionally hot with record breaking heat during the peak of our extracting so we are grateful a taste of fall came so early this year. To wake up and see the thermostat near 60F outside in late August is certainly a treat for Florida!