How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my family and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving. This year has gone extremely quickly and I cannot believe the holidays are upon us again. This is going to be a very quiet Thanksgiving as my children are not able to fly home this year. Hopefully some of them will make it down for Christmas. My husband had gastric bypass surgery in July and since he is not really able to eat his usual amount of food this will be a very small preparation for Thanksgiving. I am very grateful that he is doing so well and he has lost over 100 lbs at this point. He is looking so much better. I still bought all the traditional food, but since it is going to be just the two of us there will be no added fuss. It is very different being empty nesters. No pressure!

The last few weeks have been extremely busy. I have completed two craft shows and have three ahead of me. The first two have been extremely successful. I am not referring to monetary success, but personal fulfillment. I have thoroughly enjoyed selling my soap. I have especially enjoyed helping people that truly have skin issues choose the right bar of soap that might help them. I also feel like my product is excellent and enjoy explaining to people about beekeeping, making soap and the importance of an organic product. I have two more Craft Fairs in December. I have one this weekend November 30th, and December 1st, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, in West Kendall. It is their annual Christmas Bazaar. I also have one December 7th, next weekend at Killian Pines Methodist Church. I was invited to participate in the Fruit and Spice Park Heritage Festival January 11th & 12th. I am very excited about participating in all these craft fairs. In preparation for these craft fairs I have been making lots of soap. I made a really pretty Lavender soap that I made with Goat’s Milk and scented with Lavender Essential Oil. It turned out really lovely and smells so relaxing. Lavender is one of the most relaxing essential oils. I also remade several of my recipes like my Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Goat’s Milk Soap. Goat’s milk is very nourishing for your skin and it makes a great bar of soap. I remade my calendula soap, and calendula sunshine soap. I need to remake my Caffeinated Coffee Soap, which was a very good seller. Several of my soaps that I made over the last several weeks are almost cured and ready to sell, i.e. Christmas Soap, Kombucha & Honey, and Natural Sugar Soap. One of my favorites that I have made over the last few weeks was a Coconut Lime soap which I made with organic Coconut milk, and some very skin nourishing organic oils. I scented this soap with Coconut Fragrance Oil, and Lime Essential oil, then topped it with organic unsweetened coconut and grated lime rind. I also made a Goat’s milk soap that I scented with Lemongrass essential oil and put some lemon balm herb in the soap. I really want to try making some more soap with beer. I have a ginger beer and a chocolate stout beer that are just calling me to create a really great bar of soap.

Despite being extremely busy with work and making soap, I somehow found some time to finally plant my garden last weekend. The weather here has been extremely warm. Our average temperature at night has still been in the 70’s. We have also been extremely wet for this time of year which is supposed to be our dry season. November has been behaving more like October. October can be one of the wettest months of the year. Cold fronts do make it though the state but back up on us as a warm front bringing rain. My tomato seedlings are struggling and I am not sure if they are going to make it. I have some new seeds replanted but it is getting late in the fall season to plant. Most people have their gardens started at this point. I have read many articles that support not planting tomatoes until the night temperatures are in the 60’s. Tonight will be the first cold evening for Miami. It is actually getting down to the 50’s tonight. Finally this will be our first cool weather in 283 days.

This year in my garden I planted lots of kale, radishes, lettuce, beets, peppers, okra, eggplant, and Swiss chard. I also planted lots of herbs, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and chamomile. And I planted mint, lemon balm and calendula. I decided to try a new variety of spinach this year that my son Kevin got me from the Baker Creek Seed Bank when he was in California. Malabar Spinach is supposed to grow very well in a more tropical environment and is more vine like in the way it grows. I will take some pictures of it and let you know how it does in South Florida. I am still following the Square Foot Gardening Method. I had to replace my wooden grids with string. It was very easy to measure out 12x12 areas and use nails and string to mark each square. Here are a few pictures of my garden as I prepared and planted. I already see some seedlings starting to sprout through the ground. It has been a really rainy week here in South Florida, I was worried that it was almost too rainy but it seems like the garden likes it, and the seeds are starting to germinate.

I just wanted to give a little update on my busy life. I am grateful for all that I have and for all the many talents that I have nurtured. I recently harvested many jars of honey and my beehives are doing well. I am very grateful for all that my beehives give me. I am grateful that my allergy shots are working and that although I still get stung by my bees their venom has not had the same effect on me. I am grateful for many things in my life most importantly my family that are happy and healthy.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Getting Ready for My First Craft Fair

I have been so busy over the last few weeks making soap, lotion bars, and lip balm for my upcoming Craft Fair. My house is in disarray. I am trying to work my day job and start my business, and prepare for my upcoming craft shows. My first show is November 9th at Perrine Peters United Methodist Church, which is located at 18301 South Dixie Hwy, Miami Florida 33157. When I first booked this Craft Fair I was so excited, I was like a kid in a candy shop. Now the craft show is less than a week away. I am still excited with anticipation, but nervous that I will do well and that people will like my product. I have been asking myself so many questions: Will I be successful? What if it rains? Will people like my product? Will there be enough traffic? Will I be able to answer all their questions? Will I know how to work my credit card app? I have been reading many articles and blogs on having a successful craft fair. So I am hoping that I will be prepared.

From what I have read some of the most important aspects to consider are:

Put time into your table design. I have been doing just that. I was reading the Saponifier magazine and came across an article on table displays for craft shows. When I saw their idea I knew it was perfect for Reeny’s Butterflies, Blooms, & Bees. Their idea was accomplished with flower pots that were painted. Each pot would hold different soaps etc. What a perfect idea! What could be better than to use flower pots with butterflies and bees? I spent most evenings last week spraying the pots with acrylic clear paint and then painting each pot a different color to go with my logo theme. I painted the pots green, pink, orange, and teal blue. I plan on staggering the height of the pots to add eye appeal. I need to decorate with a few scrapbooking stickers of butterflies, flowers, and bees. I also plan on drawing a couple of larger signs in the shape of a butterfly, and bee to place in the two larger pots. I ordered a center display from Etsy, that hold 48 bars of soap. I got material to make a table cloth. The material is very bright and has honey bees on it. I think the table will look great and the colors will be inviting for customers. I plan on doing a test run of my table this week so that I know exactly how I am going to place everything. I still need to label all my bars of soap which will take hours.

Bring Food, Drink and Friends. I have sent a Facebook notification to all my friends. I plan on sending a reminder mid week. I am hoping that they will support me and come to the craft fair. It will be a long day so I do plan on wearing comfortable shoes. It is important to dress well. It is also important to bring snacks and bottled water. A craft fair can be busy and there is little time to eat. Making sure I stay well hydrated is important.

Prepare for Payments. I downloaded a smart phone application. I got the PayPal Here device and downloaded the app. I have practiced how to work the device but I am still nervous about using it since it is new to me, and I have never really used something like this before. I plan on bringing $100 in change.

Making Business Cards Meaningful. I have order 200 business cards, but I am concerned that that really isn’t enough. The cost of starting a business and preparing for your first craft fair can be astronomical. I plan on placing a business card with each order. I also painted a flower pot bottom to place cards on my table for people to take. I made a sign in sheet for people to put their name and email.

Get Organized. There are so many items that are necessary for a successful craft fair. Some examples: cashier box or something to hold cash, checks etc. Calculator, tape, stapler, scissors, markers, pens, push pins, small notebook, receipt book, phone charger especially using the new credit card devices. I created an inventory sheet, pricing cards for my table, custom order signs. There are so many things to think about my mind is spinning!

Buying is a very personal experience. People shop at craft fairs because they don’t want the Big Box Store Experience. It is important to tell your story. I want to make sure people know that I use only organic materials in my soaps and that they are terrific for their skin. But I also want them to know how I got started making soap, and that I use my honey and beeswax and products from my yard, in many of my products. I want to tell my story. Many of the articles said to “Believe in Yourself and your Product.” I do! Well I think I do. I will feel more confident after my first craft fair.

The most important part of any booth is a big Smile! As Anne Marie Faiola, the Soap Queen says Smile, Smile, and Smile!

Wish me luck and come visit my booth. I will be booth #11 at the Perrine Craft Fair. See you Saturday November 9th. Here is the link:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome Fall

Fall is officially here as of Sunday September 22, at 4:44 EST. Although it is 91 degrees outside I have to say that the shadows are getting longer. I am so looking forward to our first cool front. Fall is the one season I really miss from living up north. I miss the leaves changing, and the cool fresh air, harvesting apples, and apple cider, apple cider donuts, trick or treating in cool weather. Oh well…. Maybe someday I’ll move back up north, and when it gets too cold come back down to Miami to my winter home. I would combine the best of both worlds. One can only dream!

For the autumn season I thought that I would make soap with a seasonal scent. What reminds you more about the fall than pumpkin? So I followed a recipe on the soap making website I am calling this soap Pumpkin Spiced Latte. It smells just like a pumpkin spiced pie, or a Pumpkin Latte from Starbucks. Delicious!

In honor of celebrating the beginning of Fall I added 3 oz of real pumpkin to the recipe. I did my first swirl. Tonight I cut the soap and it looks pretty good, and smells great. I want to try to make a pumpkin soap that includes my pumpkin ale that I made. I bet you didn’t know that you could make soap with beer did you? Well you can, and you can also use wine, and teas, and milks. So I opened two bottles of my Pumpkin ale and I am letting them sit until the carbonation is gone and the beer is flat. The key to working with alcohol is to make sure the beer or wine is flat and then to boil the alcohol out of the beer. I will also freeze mine so when I mix it with the lye it will have less of a chance of creating a lye volcano. Many people when they start to soap are concerned about working with lye. I am concerned, but I guess because I have a scientific mind I respect the lye, and take the necessary precautions to work safely. I will keep you posted on how my pumpkin ale beer turns out. Yesterday I went to Total Wine to look for some local beer from the state of Florida. I specifically was looking for Michael’s Genuine beer. I found that it is only available on tap, and in certain restaurants. I did find a very interesting Toasted Coconut Porter, brewed by the Thomas Creek Brewery, in Orlando, Florida. I eventually would love to create some soap using some of the beer and wine from our local breweries. I would also love to create a soap using my own mead!

I made a Goat’s milk soap this weekend that is unscented. It is just plain goat’s milk soap. I added just a little of my honey, and a little colloidal oatmeal. This is the perfect bar for those that want the benefit of goat’s milk without the fragrance. It is perfect to use with the fall weather approaching. It is nice to use a soap that will protect the skin during the winter months, with the natural fats from the goat’s milk, and the humectant properties of the honey. I put some moisturizing Shea butter in this recipe also. I made a calendula lip balm to protect your lips from the harsh weather. Calendula is a beautiful flower, better known as the Pot Marigold, which has healing properties and is great for the skin. I flavored this lip balm with just the perfect amount of orange and grapefruit essential oils.

I signed up for a class through Brambleberry. Ann Marie Faiola, founder and owner of Bramble Berry, just completed writing a new book “Soap Crafting.” She has been soaping for many years and besides being very talented and creative in her artisan soap techniques, she is also a very smart business woman. She started a soap crafting club where the participants join on a quarterly basis, and she teaches you different techniques from her book. Each quarter several soap techniques are covered and by joining you receive her expertise and all the ingredients to make one of the soaps covered. I have signed up for the first 2 quarters. I hope that the year doesn’t sell out before I have the extra money to sign up for the rest of the classes. I love her book, and have plans to try many of her recipes. I would like to get creative and design my own recipes, but I am not at that point yet. I have so many recipes in my head using the herbs, plants, flowers, beer, and wine that I make from my yard.

Happy Fall Everyone! Hope you enjoy my new products, and that you find them comforting for the cooler weather to come. Now I need to concentrate on getting my garden together for our lovely South Florida winter. I hope to use many of my herbs in the soaps I create over the next few months.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Top Bar Hive Beekeeping

My hives are doing quite well. The bees are busy doing what bees should do. I wish they were making a little more honey right now but they are still in the expansion mode for the summer. There is some nice honey but it is mixed with different phases of brood, i.e. eggs, larvae, and capped brood. One of the downsides to TBH beekeeping is that there is no way to exclude the queen from laying eggs wherever she wants or needs to. Most langstroth beekeepers use something called a queen excluder to keep the queen in the brood nest and not allow her to travel up to the “supers” or honey area. The worker bees are able to only make honey in the honey area or supers. The queen is excluded to just the brood area. There are also some langstroth beekeepers that don’t believe in a queen excluder and keep the brood nest open and allow the queen to lay where she needs too.

One important fact of life that I have learned is that patience is a virtue. I have learned this to be true in many aspects of life! Although we live in a society that wants and needs instant gratification something’s are worth waiting for. Like honey! You can’t rush “Mother Nature”. In a few weeks I will have some beautiful honey, but right now the bees are using it to feed the brood nest. I still consider every drop to be a gift.

I saw a great picture on Facebook the other day. I saved it to my photo stream, because I thought it was a great explanation, in diagram form, to show you exactly what TBH beekeeping looks like. I am so glad that I practice TBH beekeeping. I think it is a more natural way to keep bees. I have talked about this several times. I hope from this picture you have a better understanding of what TBH beekeeping is all about.

My hives are strong and the bees are happy, but still more aggressive than I would like them to be. I need to decide what I am going to do about requeening them. I almost got through all 5 hives on Sunday without a sting. The bees are pretty aggressive and try to sting me through the suit. There was a stinger that was still stuck on the sleeve of my bee suit and it managed to sting me without the bee attached. After a honey bee stings its stinger continues to pulsate and release venom. I did not have much of a reaction. Thank goodness for my allergy shots, they seem to be working. After I finished working the hives a few bees followed me back to the house, before I enter I get the “All Clear” from my husband. He makes sure there are no bees following me inside. I had to go back outside for a second, and as soon as I opened the back door a random bee dive bombed my head and tried to sting me. It took me a few minutes to get the determined bee out of my hair. Why do my bees hate me?? I am really starting to get a complex! I am sure it was quite the scene to see me trying to get the bee out of my hair before she stung me. I had to go inside to the bathroom mirror to find her. Poor girl unfortunately she succumbed to her death after attempting to sting me.

Since I am starting to sell my honey I just wanted to highlight some of the benefits and properties of honey, and the importance of buying and supporting beekeepers. Here is a very interesting article on honey. I had a friend ask me recently how long honey will last, and does my honey taste differently than the honey in the grocery store. I am attaching a good article from “We come from the Future” “Why Honey is the only food that doesn’t go bad.” The article explains that honey is magic and has some pretty incredible properties. I am not sure that honey is magic; I think the bees are the ones performing the magic. I hope you find the article interesting. It gives a pretty good explanation of how the bees make honey. The oldest honey ever found dates back over 5,000 years. It has been said that honey was found in one of the Egyptian tombs and was still good. Why do you think that is… read the article and find out?

I am also attaching an article about how most honey from the grocery store is not actually honey. All the properties and benefits have been processed out of the honey. After you read this article you will never want to eat store bought honey again. My honey is a beautiful dark amber color and has a very strong taste. I have had the opportunity to taste honey from different parts of the country and they are amazingly different. Some are so light in color and others are very dark like molasses. I often go to “Robert is Here”, a fruit stand here in Homestead, Florida. His fruit stand was established in 1959. He has different honeys from all different plants grown in Florida and they all taste completely different from each other. I can tell you after having real honey what we get at the grocery store is not honey. Support your farmers and beekeepers, and buy local.

Here are a couple of pictures of bees and honey that I really like. I collect different pictures that I save to use as my labels for my Mead. Love these!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Dream Coming True

Well it is official; I opened my Etsy Store and website. I am hoping that when I retire that I might be able to have a small business selling the bounty from my yard. I was so excited this week to see everything come to fruition. I know this is just the beginning but everyone has to start somewhere. For years now my friends have been telling me I should open a business. I have been thinking about this very seriously. Many years ago I really wanted to open something having to do with a doggy boutique. I have watched many doggy boutique businesses come and go. Owning my own business just seemed like something I would be good at and so with each product that I create from my yard the more I thought that an Etsy business connected with Reeny’s Butterflies, Blooms, and Bees might be a great idea. I have totally been consumed recently with the idea of making soap and using my honey and beeswax in many of the products. I am trying to create a niche.

Anyhow, I have a steep learning curve ahead of me, but plenty of time to learn. I think the pressure from my job to always perform has been really getting to me lately. You are only as good as your current performance; forget the fact that I have been a top sales performer throughout the 15 years with my current company. I also just turned 58 years old. Not quite ready to retire for at least 4-6 years. I figure a girl needs to plan for the future. Why not take my talents and biosustainable gardening practices and try to create a business. I have given so much honey, wine, soap and lip balm away it is time to see if I could sell a little of the fruits of my labor.

I had my first sale the very first day!!! I couldn’t believe it, although it was from a lifelong friend! I hope she enjoys the honey! I really appreciate her support and will always remember that she was my first sale. Thanks Trisha!

Sunday I spent the day entering different products to my Etsy site. I tried to stage the products so they looked attractive. Just mailing and packaging the honey was slightly overwhelming, I have never had to figure out shipping etc. Of course, I am a perfectionist and wanted to make sure that I packaged the honey creatively. That is one of the feature of Etsy that I like the most, is that many of the owners are very creative in the delivery of their products.

Sunday I also made two new batches of soap. One is a repeat because I gave away most of it to friends and family. So I made another batch of my Honey & Oatmeal Soap. The honey is from my hives. I scented it with Lavender Essential Oil, and Tea tree Oil. It smells terrific and I love the way it feels in the shower. I hope you agree. This new soap needs to cure for 3-6 weeks. It should be available by the end of October.

I also made a Caffeinated Coffee Soap. I will try to keep many of my products as natural as possible, but I would also like to be able to create a more artisan handmade soap. I will still try to keep it as natural as possible, using herbs etc. from my yard, but may use fragrance oils instead of essential oils. I will be sure to always list the ingredients that I put in any of my products. This soap does have some coffee fragrance oil, along with peppermint essential oil. The combination smells amazing. I also added fresh coffee grounds to the soap. This soap turned out really nice and smells just like a morning cup of coffee. So if you are one of those people that can’t function until you have a cup of coffee (many mornings I am one of those people), then this soap is perfect because you can bathe in your coffee too! This soap will be available sometime the end of October also.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New ways to connect with Reeny's Butterflies, Blooms and Bees!

I am proud to announce that you can now connect with Reeny's Butterflies, Blooms and Bees at more places on the net!

Visit my Facebook Page and become a fan to get updates! Click here to visit my Facebook page

Visit my Etsy Shop to order our products! Click here to visit my Etsy Shop

Visit my website to contact me, order products, read reviews and more! Click here to visit my website

Bear with me on the website and Etsty shop as I will be slowly adding products in the near future!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Michael Bush Presentation at Palm Beach County Beekeeping Association

Today I had the opportunity to hear Michael Bush present at the Palm Beach County Beekeeping Association. When I first started thinking about getting some bees I watched a video with Brendhan Horne from the Palm Beach County Beekeeping Association. He put together an Organic Beekeeping Conference. Michael Bush was one of the speakers at that conference. Long story short Michael Bush’s book was one of the first books I read, “The Practical Beekeeper, Beekeeping Naturally” It is a great reference book and it supported everything I felt was true about the importance of keeping bees naturally without chemicals, treatments, and pesticides. Once I decided that I wanted to keep bees in a Top Bar Hive, I found my way to Sam Comfort and Anarchy Bees.

I was so excited to hear Michael Bush speak today. I got up at 06:30 am to drive up to West Palm Beach to hear him, but it was so worth it. The icing on the cake was that Sam Comfort was also there so I got to see him and discuss my hives and how my beekeeping skills have grown over the last couple of years. Here are a few highlights from Michael Bush’s lecture. He made 4 very important points. If more beekeepers practiced these rules our bees would be much healthier, despite the fact that our environment is causing issues with pesticides, and GMO crops, and neonicotinoids.

No Treatments

  • Maintain a rich ecosystem in the hive
  • Treatments within the hive disrupt this ecosystem.
  • Put selective pressure only where it belongs.
  • Treating only weakens the hive and therefore breeds disease.
  • The pests survive and win.
  • Keep the comb clean of chemicals.
  • Chemicals interfere with the natural communication within the hive.

Breeding Local Survivors

  • Locally adapted bees, feral bees, are more adapted to the climate.
  • Breed from Queens that have shown longevity, and good supercedure skills.
  • Contribute to overall genetic diversity of honey bees in North America.
  • Breed for gentleness, survivability, productivity, and cull for aggressiveness.

Natural Food

  • Sugar syrup has a higher ph, 6.0. Honey 3.2 to 4.5 disease reproduces better at a ph 6.0
  • Improper diet makes one susceptible to disease.
  • Increase ph of 6.0 affects the other 8,000 microorganisms within the hive
  • Sugar syrup disrupts the Ecological Balance of the hive
  • Leave honey for food, the bees will be healthier
  • More balanced ecosystem in the hive

Natural Comb

  • Using natural cell size fights against varroa and other disease.
  • Standard foundation has been upsized.
  • Upsizing has caused a bee that is 150% of its natural size.
  • Upsizing the bee makes it more susceptible to varroa, and other pests.
  • Clean wax promotes a healthier bee.
  • Natural comb is really the way to get clean wax.

I am proud to say that I practice most of what Michael Bush promoted in his lecture. I got my bees from Sam Comfort. These bees were bred specifically for their genetics, and survivability. They are good feral bees. Although my hives carry some of the same genetics from the original hives, they have since produced new queens altering somewhat the genetics. As you know from my blog entries this has become a slight issue for me because I do think that my new queens are breeding with local drones that may carry some Africanized genetics. Michael stressed the importance of breeding for gentleness. I may have to consider re-queening my hives. I tried that in the past with a nice Italian queen, thinking that the genetic from the Italian queen would make the hive gentler. He actually talked about the fact that this is not the best idea, that the bees from the combination could actually be more aggressive. I did not find that to be true in my case because the queen I received never was a great laying queen. The hive struggled and then finally didn’t survive. I have been thinking about my hives since his lecture and I may have to consider re-queening, maybe with some queens from Sam Comfort.

Since I keep Top Bar Hives many of his other points I practice on a daily basis. I never feed my bee’s sugar water. I do not really need to because living in South Florida, there is always a pollen and nectar source for the bees. If I did need to feed I would make sure my bees had enough honey stores to survive. One of the reasons I chose TBH beekeeping was that the bees actually draw out their own comb. I allow my bees to do what they should do naturally. They are small celled bees, not upsized. They are less susceptible to varroa and other pests. I do have some small hive beetles but because my hives are strong they are in control. My comb is clean. I use no chemicals in my yard or in my hives. When I harvest my honey I actually cut the comb from the Top Bars, therefore the honeycomb is always turned over and the bees are constantly making new comb. My honeycomb is clean without chemicals.

I wish more beekeepers understood these principles. I am glad that I practice them, and I hope my bees appreciate my efforts. Now if we could just change what is going on with the use of GMO crops, and, neonicotinoids, our bees might have a chance….. but that is a whole other story.

Here are some pictures from my experience with Michael Bush! It was a great beekeeping day.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mango Wine and Mango Ginger Melomel

Besides being busy and totally consumed with soap making I have also finished bottling the mango wine that has been fermenting over the last year. The wine turned out beautiful, very floral to the taste with mango undertones. We back sweetened the wine before we bottled it, the final specific gravity was 1.002 (very dry), 1.008 (medium) and 1.012 sweet. I prefer the sweeter version and find it very refreshing. I have enjoyed several bottles and have given several to family and friends.

My husband and I also bottled the Ancient Orange Mead which also turned out very good. I love my labels.

Last Sunday we made a Melomel which is Mead made with fruit. We decided on Mango Ginger. I have frozen mangos from my yard. I used approximately 12 lbs of mango and 15 lbs of honey from my hives and fresh ginger. Right now we are having a little bit of difficulty with the fermentation and questioning the original specific gravity. I added a little more honey today. Hopefully it will turn out ok.

When making wine or mead patience is a definitely a virtue, this fermentation process takes time sometimes up to a year.
Visit My Website:

Or Visit My Etsy Shop: