Honey harvest

The beekeeper arrived, unannounced on December 19, and harvested honey for us, leaving it in a big bucket for us to dispense into jars which Haiku Son and I duly did, Haiku Husband being away for a couple of days (he’d done it by himself last year).

As a two-person operation it all went quite smoothly – he operated the dispensing nozzle while I held the jars underneath and called ‘stop’. We finished with a couple of empty jars to spare, whew, and not too much sticky mess to clean up.

sunlit jar
the beekeeper’s gift
on the doorstep

– Carmen Sterba
The Heron’s Nest 3:6 (2001)

Photo: Sandra Simpson

on the honey
a slight scent of the forest — 
lengthening daylight

– Tsugawa Eriko, tr Kato Koko
A Vast Sky: An anthology of contemporary world haiku (Tancho Press, 2015)

I spent a couple of days tasting the honey, trying to work out what it tasted of, if anything in particular, but no such luck. A bit of a fizz on the tongue, though, that’s about the best specific I can do.

Oh, yes, 10kg, same as last year!

honey bee –
at last the budding weeds
have meaning

– Ben Moeller-Gaa
Mystic Illuminations 3 (2016)

The bees are smoked to keep them quiet. Photo: Sandra Simpson

on hold with the help desk a sound of bees swarming 

– Sandra Simpson
Presence 51 (2014)

end of a love
honey hardens
in the jar

– Polona Oblak
Notes from the Gean 3:4 (2012)

Botan shibe fukaku wakeizuru hachi no nagori kana

A bee
staggers out
of the peony.

– Matsuo Basho, tr Robert Hass
Basho’s haiku originally from Skeleton in the Fields (Nozarashi kiko)
a travel journal of 1684-5

Another translation is:

from deep within 
the peony pistils — withdrawing
regretfully the bee

Advertisements

Heat and the kitchen

midday nap
placing my feet against the wall
how cool it is

– Matsuo Basho

I’ve just woken from an afternoon nap – tuckered out by a morning of Christmas shopping, present wrapping, the heat and this infernal wind. We had a break yesterday and it was glorious, but it’s back again today, “poking and prodding” as a gardening friend said this week.

Monday
pegging the wind
into our sheets

– Greeba Brydges-Jones, from the taste of nashi (Windrift, 2008)

Tomorrow, I’ve promised myself, is baking day.

As well as a Christmas wreath cake, there will be ricciarelli, almond biscuits from Siena (although I first met them in a tiny village on a mountain pass in Tuscany). This recipe is close to the one I use, except that mine contains only 350g of sugar so you might want to adjust that. Ground almonds are available from the bulk bins of many supermarkets. The biscuits should be pale to be authentic, although mine come out quite golden – when I tasted my first one I thought it was going to be something shortbready because of the colour. How wrong I was!

Christmas recipe –
all the ingredients except
my mother’s hands

– Sandra Simpson, from Ice Diver (New Zealand Poetry Society, 2011)