Light Honey vs. Dark Honey

July 1, 2013

During the spring and early summer of 2013 we have seen the darkest, richest color in our honey yet to date.  So many of our customers are curious about why our honey is much darker than previous years.  As a general rule, Europeans tend to prefer darker, richer honey, and Americans often prefer its lighter counterpart which they often see on grocery store shelves.  Dark honey tends to have a much higher percentage of nutrients, and the flavors of darker honey tend toward being more rich and complex.  Birdsong Farm’s darker than normal honey this spring is directly related to the wetter than average weather we have been having.

We previously believed that the honey color was directly related to the bloom, and darker colors were more connected to and controlled by the flowers that bees were pollinating.  New insight has allowed us to see that the connection however is related directly to climate.  Darker honey has a much higher percentage of pollen, nutrients and flavor compounds.  During previous spring seasons that were more sunny, the pollen was more plentiful producing a honey from a more rapid nectar flow.  This year with the plentiful rain and moisture, the bees have had a slower flow of nectar producing a much darker, richer, nutrient packed honey.  So, for pure health value, our June 2013 honey batch is some of Birdsong Farm’s best ever.

What kind of honey is Birdsong Farm Honey?

In our area in early spring, we get an abundance of florals including both white and red clover, and myriad berries including strawberries, blueberries, rasperries, and plentiful wild blackberries.  Our early season honey is also packed with pollen from the our forests, namely walnut, maple, chestnut, locust and tulip poplars; as well as an abundance of apple and peach and cherry trees from our neighbor’s orchards.  In July we move into the florals.  Our bees pollinate on our lavendar fields and a wide variety of local wildflowers as well as local sour wood trees.  This has long been one of our most popular honey varietals.  In August we have plentiful goldenrod and aster in our floral blends which both produce a nectar with some of the highest protein and mineral content making it healthy for our darling bees to survive the cold temperatures of our winter in the WV mountains.  Once again nature provides exactly what our apiary needs for prime health, helping our colonies of bees stay healthy and strong through the winter.

Harmful Commercial Flea and Tick Products

August 11, 2009

While reading a magazine article today – “Eco-friendly Pet Care” in Delicious Living Magazine, May 2009 – I came across an interesting quote from Jen Sass, PhD, a senior scientist and toxicologist at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 

The NRDC estimates that “hundreds and probably thousands” of pets have been injured or killed because of exposure to the pesticides found in flea collars, aerosol sprays, and other pest control products.  “The EPA has also acknowledged that these products expose children to unsafe chemicals because kids touch, rub, kiss, and sleep with their pets,”  she says.

She suggests that rather than use these products containing toxic levels of carbaryl, porpoxur, and tetrachlorvinphos you could try a variety of natural herbal remedies like tying a bandanna filled with a variety of herbs such as pennyroyal, lavender, mint, rosemary and cedar would keep fleas at bay.  We feel that our Don’t Bug Me! Natural Flea and Tick products are much safer and easier to use.  First of all we have been through extensive research regarding which essential oils are safe for flea and tick protection, and we have taken special care to use safe concentrations for dilution in our products. 

Although she suggests Pennyroyal we STRONGLY Warn against the use of Pennyroyal around your dog.  This essential oil has been shown to cause severe reactions in dogs ranging from vomiting, and the aborting of fetus’s to even death.  Peppermint and Catnip Oils both in the mint family are used because fleas and ticks detest them and they have been shown to be very effective against insects and pests such as fleas and ticks.  We also use Rosemary and Cedarwood oils that have a positive effect.  Tea tree, Lavender and Citronella are among the rest of the ingredients and these are safe for dogs when used sparingly.

If you would like to read the entire report from the NRDC here is a link to this article in a pdf file:   Poison On Pets: Toxic Chemicals in flea and tick collars

Read what one of our happy customers from Christiansburg, VA has to say, after using our Don’t Bug Me! products:

“We have been using your “Don’t bug me flea and tick spray for dogs” for about 6 weeks (we got it at the Blacksburg farmers market). The dogs no longer act as if their skin is burning when we spray repellent on them (as with commercial flea and tick products), and we have not seen a single tick or flea—our dogs are VERY active and spend a good amount of time jumping in high grasses, hiking with us in the woods, and swimming. They have put your spray to the test and we are so happy with the results. I have also started using your “Don’t bug me mosquito repellent for humans and has a pleasant smell, I don’t worry about harsh chemicals on my skin, and best of all NO MOSQUITO BITES. Thank you!”

Here’s some early feedback from a new customer from Brentwood California.  He just ordered some of our Don’t Bug Me! Flea and Tick Soap.  He wrote that he is excited to try our product and will get back to us with feedback when he’s had the time to test it more extensively.  He wrote:

“…A neighbor of mine had some of your soap and she swears by it.  Her dog is shaggy and is my dog’s best friend.  She swears he has no fleas, and ours gets fleas easily…”

We continue to be thrilled with all of the consumer feedback that we’ve gotten regarding both our Don’t Bug Me! Flea and Tick Spray and our Don’t Bug Me! Flea and Tick Soap.

Link to our website and see our Don’t Bug Me products for dogs and people too! :

Don’t Bug Me! Natural Insect Products

Thanks for checking in with us at Birdsong Farm!  We hope you are having a happy and healthy summer day.  Take more time  for yourself today… Get out in nature and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine!  Til next time- Patti Chlepas, Birdsong Farm

The Heart of Summer

July 29, 2009

Well… summer is now in full swing.  It’s been a beautiful and incredibly bountiful early summer with plenty of rain and sunshine and near perfect weather here in WV.  With a recent pattern of summer thundershowers our fields are a brilliant green and our once tiny sunflower seedlings have grown into healthy hearty plants.  We are now selling dozens of gorgeous sunflowers from our booth at the Blacksburg Farmers Market, and our new beehives are thriving under our diligent care.  We have 5 beehives now on “honey hill” here on Birdsong Farm.  We see their sweet little workers happily humming through our sunflower field and our wildflower fields bordering the forest.  We’re thrilled at how healthy and vibrant our hives are, and how quickly our bees are producing honey food stores.

Our new handcrafted cold-processed line of soap has been incredibly well received at the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market as well!!  How cool!  There are some soaps that have been really big hits… our Birdsong Baby Soap has been making Mom’s happy… the ones looking for a healthy natural alternative to products containing synthetics and chemical ingredients.  Mom’s have been letting us know that this soap has wonderful ability to cure dry and chafed skin.  This is a completely natural all vegetable soap with no added fragrance. 

The other breakaway hit has been our “Don’t Bug Me!” products!  Our “Don’t Bug Me!” natural insect repellent mist has had incredible feedback from customers.  Made from distilled water and a concoction of insect repelling essential oils, this is a healthy DEET free alternative!  And it really works!!  Hear what one customer from the mosquito infested mountains of Jackson Hole WY had to say after using our Don’t Bug Me! spray as well as the full body Don’t Bug Me! bath bar that contains the same essential oils:

“I used the soap, then at one car-pooling stop I sprayed. Then at the trailhead I applied sunscreen, wondering if I might be overriding some of the repellent’s effect by covering it with sunscreen. That might be so. After I saw a couple of mosquitoes land on me, I re-sprayed, and I didn’t notice much of a problem after that. So — I’ve deduced that the sunscreen should go on first, then the spray. I’ll try to pay attention as I test this some more, but my first experience is good, and I do like the scent much better than the commercials (Deets) that I’ve used.”  DC- Jackson, WY.

I’ve included his notes about the sunscreen because others may run into this effect also…

Many local and national customers have had great success with our Don’t Bug Me! Flea and Tick products for Dogs too.  Unlike the unhealthy spot on treatments that have been known to cause sickness in some dogs, our Don’t Bug Me! Flea and Tick soap and spray are made from all natural essential oils and vegetable oils.  They have been well tested on our labs, Hailey and Daisy, who run through fields of tall grass, swim hike and romp through some very heavily tick infested areas.  For the last several summers we’ve had major problems with ticks, hence the development of these products.  We were starting to think this was just a low tick year until we talked to some neighbors and found out just the opposite.  Our labs have not had a single tick and are not bothered at all by other biting insects… Very Exciting!  And of course the obvious plus is that we don’t worry about the toxic effects of flea and tick spot treatments.  We simply bathe them about once  a month with the dog soap then spray for hikes and other forrays with the Don’t Bug Me! flea and tick spray.

Here is a link to our website where you can check out the Don’t Bug Me! and other products.  http://www.birdsongstore.com/Home_Page.html

Hope you all are having an incredible summer… enjoy the peace of getting out in nature as often as you can!

Til next time-  Patti

Hello world!

April 14, 2009

Hi there and welcome to the blog of Birdsong Farm… So glad you could stop in for a visit!  Sit down and rest and put your feet up!!  It’s a gorgeous spring day… a perfect day to visit Birdsong Farm.  Here in the Mountains of Southern WV spring is finally here.  YAY!  The forsythia has been struggling to bloom but the gnarled and ancient apple trees in our pasture have bravely displayed their gorgeous spring colors.  We are excited to be starting 4 beehives here in just a few short days and we are preparing for the warm weather by starting floral seedlings in our tiny new greenhouse.  In the fall of 2008 we started selling our natural 100% beeswax candles (handcrafted and hand dipped here on the farm) at our local farmer’s market in Blacksburg VA.  If you haven’t been to the market stop in and see us next time you’re in the area. 

Blacksburg Farmer’s Market’s website is:  http://www.bbfarmersmarket.org/

We are there every Wed from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm and every Sat bright and early from 8:00 to 2:00 pm.  The market is growing as the spring progresses and many vendors are joining us every week.  In addition to the beeswax candles we also sell handcrafted dried floral wreaths and we are also launching a brand new line of natural soaps in May.  The soaps are very exciting…  They come from our exhaustive research into natural essential oils and the refining of the best all natural ingredients.  I’ll be happy to update you with pictures and ingredients when we launch our line in May.  For now you can take a look at our candles if you like.  Feel free to visit our growing website at – http://www.birdsongstore.com/

We wish you a beautiful day… Happy Spring!


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