Oh, Honey!

Honey photo
History of Honey

Can we believe that Cupid dipped the tips of his arrows into honey before letting them fly at dreamy sweethearts? This is truly a cute little myth that the Romans liked to share. Everyone will agree that honey is sweet. In fact, honey has been sweetening food for humans since ancient times in Egypt and possibly earlier. Records have been found that show the Egyptians managing bee hives and hieroglyphics showing honey bees. Ancient Greece and Sicily have been known through history for being the epicenters for honey production.

Honey has long been the principal sweetener up until sugar cane and sugar beets came on the market starting in the early 1500’s. Each year, people in the United States have an estimated 426 million pounds of honey available to purchase. According to Homesweet Bees.com honey loving Americans will eat 1.5 pounds of honey per person annually. This certainly makes honeybees the heroes of honey production. They will collect pollen and nectar from over two million flowers that will be utilized to make one pound of delicious honey.

There are over 300 different flavors of honey. The flavors are dependent on the type of flowers that the honeybees collected pollen and nectar from. For example, honeybees visiting an orange grove in bloom will produce a honey with a sweet and fruity flavor and a slight citrus odor. Honey also comes in a variety of colors, from light amber which has a mild flavor gradually going up to a dark brown which has a distinctly strong flavor. Occasionally, specialty markets may sell honey that is available in colors such as red, black, or cream depending upon the variety of plant flowers visited by the honeybees.

Let’s go through the steps for harvesting honey!
1. Open the hive using the tools called a smoker and a small pry tool.
2. Remove bees from the trays in the hive by using a silky bee brush.
3. Uncap the honey using a scraping tool.
4. Extract the honey by spinning the trays in an extractor.
5. Bottle the honey in clean, sterilized jars.

Next, watching this video, “Heather’s How-To: Honey Harvesting” will give us a great visual experience into the whole process of how this beekeeper harvests that golden nectar, honey.

Now that we are familiar with honey production, we can look at a random sampling of four honey types and flavors.

Buckwheat

Alfalfa

Basswood

Eucalyptus

The National Honey Board has a nice listing titled Honey Varietals that is an impressive reference guide.

Learning about honey can be a true encounter with nature; learning about honeybees, flowers, harvesting honey, and how varieties of flowers affect the flavor and aroma of honey. Here is a suggestion for your next get-together; a honey tasting party. When you pick a few of your favorite honey flavors, some great tasting breads and crackers for dipping, your guests will no doubt be delighted with this new event. Cheers!

bee on flower
Busy Honeybee

About the Author
Pat ChristmanPat Christman has been a member of the Northeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners since 2012. In 2014 she was a participant in the design, planting and care of the plants in the Green Bay Botanical Garden’s Square Foot Garden which featured techniques in gardening in small spaces.

 

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Oh, Honey!

4 Good Reasons Why Green Bay is The Best Place to Be–Even in Below Freezing Weather

Despite the cold weather, Wisconsin is still the best place to be!
Despite the cold weather, Wisconsin is still the best place to be!

Growing up in Wisconsin, I heard my fair share of complaints against the freezing temperatures that come around every winter. Every year, Mr. Awful-Freezing-Weather comes into Wisconsin and scares good ol’ Mr. Nice-Warm-Weather away, and it takes Mr. Nice-Warm-Weather about four to six months to summon up the courage to come back into Wisconsin. During those terrible months, I would have traded everything I owned to move to Florida, or some other notoriously warm place.

Now that I’m older and (hopefully) wiser, I’ve realized that Wisconsin is AWESOME. It has the quirk and charm of a small town AND the unique opportunities and business that usually are only found in New York or California. Oh, and we really do have the best ice cream on the entire planet…I’m pretty sure.

In case the below-freezing weather is getting you down, or you’re a non-Wisconsinite and want to know what is so cool here (besides the Green Bay Packers), read on to rediscover how Green Bay rocks:

1.  Something for Everyone

Is music your thing? Check out the Meyer Theatre. The building interior itself is gorgeous, and various groups (both local and famous) perform there. The Cup O’ Joy hosts Christian music talent, and The Riverside Ballroom was one of the last places Richie Valens and Buddy Holly performed before the infamous plane crash in 1959 that resulted in their deaths.

For football fans, visiting Lambeau Field and exploring the Packers Heritage Trail is a must.

Are you a foodie? Cool beans! (See what I did there?) If trying the Three Cheese Cream Soup from Cafe Madrid is not on your bucket list yet, it needs to be!

2.  Experience all Four Seasons

If you like the way the leaves on the trees change a smorgasbord of colors in autumn, come to Green Bay. If you like the way the snow sparkles like glitter on a sunny winter day, come to Green Bay. If you like to see a bazillion pretty flowers all about in spring, come to Green Bay. Despite Wisconsin’s reputation for being freeze-your-buns-off cold, Wisconsin has hot, humid summers too. Bottom line, come to Green Bay no matter what time of year. We are very versatile with our climates here.

3.  Home to the Friendliest People

While this one is not specific toward Wisconsin, and is more about the whole Minnesota-Wisconsin area in general, the people that live here (Well, 90% of them, anyway) are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. I have been told by incoming visitors that we (Wisconsinites) go out of our way to be courteous, help a stranger out, and open doors for people, more than any other place they had been to. Apparently it is not as common in other states for people to be randomly kind without expecting things in return. Again, this was a general observation from various travelers I have talked to. I am in no way assuming that it is a concrete fact or that people in other states are not friendly. I’m just saying, we are a pretty friendly group of people overall.

4. Ice Cream During Snow Storms

Wisconsinites are not afraid of the cold. We embrace it! Driving in crazy road conditions to get an ice cream cone from Zesty’s  or Coldstone Creamery is a much more common occurrence than one would think. Unless you are from Wisconsin, you might never understand this. However, you can come here anyway and admire our strangeness if it suits you.

Haley Ebinal is an independent business owner, musician, and fashion enthusiast from the endearing city of Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is a college student and currently working on organizing a women’s empowerment seminar in Wisconsin.

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/90428457@N00/16341064071″>Jan. 21, 2015: Winter bike rack</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

4 Good Reasons Why Green Bay is The Best Place to Be–Even in Below Freezing Weather

Meet Sarah: The girl who lead me to make $10,000 at craft shows

This past year through seven different craft shows I managed to make over $10,000 profit. Some of you crafters might say that is not possible, some may say it was luck or a fluke, or others might say it is all about my skill level. But the truth is before I committed to a single show, I had made a plan revolved around Sarah, my imaginary customer.

Meet Sarah:

“Sarah is a trendy young professional or upper level college student. She enjoys the outdoors, going on adventures and enjoying time with friends. She isn’t afraid to be herself and stand out of the crowd. Sarah is willing to pay a higher price for quality items. She enjoys shopping at boutiques for one of a kind items.”

Hello Sarah

Who is your ideal customer and target market?

The first and most important question you can ask yourself is who are you selling to? It is important to pick your ideal customer and describe him or her. It is important to define who they are, and what they are shopping for. You should also think about what shows they are mostly likely to shop at and what retail stores they enjoy.  The more detail you can go into about your ideal customer, the better you can plan for success. If you are not sure who you want to sell to, think about what you like to make.  Talk to your friends and family about what they would like to purchase.  The description of Sarah took me almost two weeks to write. She sets the tone for the entire craft show season.

Sarah, can be as, if not more important than making the actual items. Sarah gives my brand focus. With all the other crafters at the shows {{some OVER 400 crafters stands}}, it is important to have an established idea of who you are selling to. With that focus it is easier to differentiate yourself from all of the competition. From her description I knew exactly what shows I wanted to sell at (and what ones to avoid), the patterns/designs that would be a hit, and the on trend colors I needed to use to appeal most to my customer. Sarah is the reason behind all of the little details from the buttons I selected to the design of the logo and price tags. Sarah also inspired me on the layout and design of my booth.

Your ideal customer is  going to be different from mine, like a snowflake, no two are the same. The important thing is to remember what your crafting strengths are. Focus your abilities on the products your ideal customers want.  In today’s world you are not only competing with the other crafters at the show, but also all of the ones online. Etsy.com has over 500,000 crafters and artist with products for sale. You need to stand out to those who you want to buy your stuff, creating a ideal customer is the first way to make your products stand out!

For more information on creating a target market or an ideal customer check out these two great marketing websites:

http://www.inc.com/guides/201104/how-to-narrow-your-target-market.html
http://www.craftbusinesshome.com/targetmarket.html

With a  passion that was ignited by sitting on her Nana’s lap helping crochet beautiful works of art, Samm Rian strives to carry on the tradition of practical and stylish wearable art for an everyday woman. Having designed over 200 patterns, inspired by the beauty and chill of Upper Michigan, Samm has just started sharing and publishing with fellow crafters. Her first design, Darlin’ Little Deer Hat, has already had more than 10,000 downloads in it’s first 6 months published.  Samm prides her design aesthetic on classic crochet with a young twist by incorporating chucky textures and clean lines, much unlike her crazy workspace.
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Meet Sarah: The girl who lead me to make $10,000 at craft shows

Rock Island State Park: Wisconsin’s Camping Jewel

Rock Island State ParkI love living in the city, but let’s face it, everyone has that moment where they need to get away from the hustle and bustle of their busy life and embrace a moment of quiet. For the past 28 years, my family has been making the trek to the tip of the Door County Peninsula, hopping on a boat to Washington Island, slugging our camping gear onto a smaller boat and getting away from it all to the 912-acre island known as Rock Island State Park.

Now, everyone has their own definition of camping. Some people say it’s throwing everything you use on a daily basis, from your three favorite blankets to your iPad, into your car, driving to a campsite and pitching your tent right next to the driver’s seat. Others say it’s grabbing your Swiss Army Knife and a clean pair of socks and trudging through the woods until you’ve found the perfect spot to forage for berries and a dry spot to sleep. I’d say camping Rock Island style falls somewhere between the two.

Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Rock IslandRock Island State Park is the perfect camping destination; it’s close enough to civilization in case of an emergency but far enough away that it offers enough seclusion to unwind and forget about the craziness back home. With no electricity, showers or vehicles on the island, campers will experience life without modern technologies (trust me, it’s liberating). The picturesque island offers hiking trails, beaches, beautiful stone buildings filled with history and the Pottawatomie Lighthouse, Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse.  A camping trip to Rock Island takes some planning, but the payoff is well worth the effort. So, what should you do to get the best experience? Here are few tricks to help you plan your next camping trip to Rock Island.

The Best Time to Visit:

Rock Island State Park
Photo by Eric Rentmeester

The end of July through August is a great time to visit. I’d suggest planning a weekday trip over a weekend. In recent years, the popularity of the island has attracted many day visitors, so you could end up sharing the beach or a trip to the lighthouse with a lot of other people.  If you do camp on the weekend, don’t worry! If you plan your excursions just right, you’ll avoid the busy day-tripper traffic and still feel like you’re the only one on the island. The other great thing about visiting in the later part of summer is the weather is usually pretty nice, and by that time Lake Michigan and Green Bay have warmed up somewhat, so those morning showers in the water are more tolerable (I mentioned there are no showers on the island, right?).

Booking 101:

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The best way to reserve a campsite is through Wisconsin’s DNR State Park Systems website or ReserveAmerica. Reservations can be made for camping up to 11 months in advance. So, if you’d like to reserve a highly sought-after campsite, your best bet is to reserve the site on the first day booking is available. Trust me, with only 40 campsites available, they reserve fast! You really can’t go wrong with any site you choose. There’s so many different options: sites right on Green Bay or Lake Michigan, sites tucked away in cedar trees, two large group sites and even five sites located farther away from the rest of the sites for an even more secluded experience. Regardless, the sites are spaced out nicely so you’re not on top of your neighbors. One word of advice: avoid campsite #34. Let’s just say it’s right next to one of the pit toilets, and if the wind blows just right, you won’t be spending much time at the site.

Getting There: Life on the Open Waters

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Getting to Rock Island requires two ferry rides. The first boat ride is on the Washington Island Ferry to Washington Island. From there, you’ll drive to the other side of the island and leave your car there to take a passenger-only Rock Island Ferry to Rock Island. Make sure you check ferry rates and times before your trip. They vary depending on the season, and you don’t want to miss the boat!

Pack Light and Bring Cash!

The #1 thing to remember when packing… don’t bring anything you don’t want to carry a half a mile to a mile, because that’s how far it is from the boat landing to the campsites. The best thing you can do when planning your trip is to make a list of essentials to pack. Organize by kitchen, equipment, food and clothing. And always plan for inclement weather. Also, don’t forget to bring cash! There’s a spot on the island to purchase firewood, and they only accept cash. If you don’t bring any, you won’t be making a fire. You could take the boat back to Washington Island to get cash, but you’ll end up having to pay another boat ride fee to get back to Rock Island, and who wants to do that?

So, you’ve arrived and set up camp. Now what?

Rock Island Sate Park Sunset
Photo by Eric Rentmeester

Relax! Take a hike! Go for a swim! Enjoy the slow-paced, peaceful experience Rock Island has to offer (the sunset alone is worth the trip). Sure, you might not be able to surf the internet, catch up on the latest episodes of The Walking Dead or drive to local stores for shopping, but a trip to Rock Island is a chance to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with family and friends and truly clear your mind and recharge for a brief moment.

For more information on Rock Island or tips and tricks to plan your trip, visit these sites below.

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/rockisland/

http://wisferry.com/rock-island-faq/

About Sarah Rentmeester:

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Sarah Rentmeester is a professional copywriter with eight years of experience in retail marketing and advertising. She received a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Sarah finds inspiration in pop culture, music, fashion, art and everyday life that’s happening around her to write effective copy for print and digital media. Born and raised in Green Bay, WI, she currently resides there with her husband and Boston terrier, Frodo.

Rock Island State Park: Wisconsin’s Camping Jewel

Welcome to Social Media Content Management!

Welcome, welcome, welcome. If you have not done so previously, you have now entered the wonderful world of blogging. Can the backside of things look intimidating? Yes. Is there a lot of settings and tools? Yes. Do not worry though, this is your sandbox to play in and learn together. You will have specific capabilities as you will only need to be able to post blog entries, view comments, and in turn respond to those comments. Trust me, this will be fun.

Be sure to follow along on Blackboard for assignment details. As always, if there are any questions please do not hesitate in asking questions.

Now it is time to blog!

Welcome to Social Media Content Management!