National Mead Day-August 5, 2017

Mead Day

August 5, 2017

mead glasses

Today is National Mead Day! You are probably either thinking what kind of day is she writing about and why, or you may be saying, “I love Mead! I’m glad this day is getting some recognition!” Currently, and for over a year now, I’ve been working for a new, local meadery in Pittsburgh. My experience there ranges from production work, administrative work, to organizing, planning, and staffing for festivals and events, as well as setting up and working them. You may remember me writing about KingView Mead back in November, when I wrote a post about supporting small, local businesses on Small Business Saturday. KingView Mead celebrated their one year anniversary this past May! You may learn more about KingView Mead as a company, as well as our give back; first in the nation, “Mead for Bees” program. The website is: www.kingviewmead.com.

Some of you may be wondering, “What is Mead?” Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, water and yeast. 51% or more of the alcohol must be fermented for this honey wine to be categorized as a mead. This delicious drink has many variations such as Traditional, Melomel: by adding fruit or fruit juice, Braggot: by adding hops, Metheglin: by adding herbs or spices, Cyser: by adding apples or apple juice, or Pyment: by adding grapes or grape juice.

Are any of you getting married anytime soon? If so, you may want to include this traditional wedding drink as your beverage of choice! Mead is the original wedding drink. It was given to newlyweds way back in ancient times to drink for an entire month to promote fertility and happiness throughout their marriage. This is also how the term “honeymoon” came about.

Now, after an explanation and some of my connection to mead, I’d like to share with you a little bit of background and history on National Mead Day. In 2002, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) observed the first Saturday in August as Mead Day! The tradition has been carried on over the years. This year, Mead Day will be observed today, on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

The AHA, started Mead Day to generate friendships of mead makers and to create and increase awareness about the oldest fermented beverage to others. It was a day which mead lovers would gather friends and family and create a batch of mead together. Others celebrate it by having competitions, sharing or comparing recipes, dressing up to enjoy the delicious beverage sometimes known as “honey wine” or just meeting up to discuss the craft of mead making. Mark your calendars for August 5th this year. Go outside, reconnect yourself back to nature, and have a drink or two of mead!

As craft beers are popping up, meads are now becoming more popular. Laws in PA have been changing and you may be seeing more of mead in beer distributors, wine & spirit stores, as well as bars and restaurants. If you’ve tried a mead before, and haven’t liked it, don’t turn it down the next time you see it somewhere. This delicious beverage can taste differently each time you try it. Remember, bees pollinate many types of flowers, therefore, the honey they make does not always have the same flavor. A few honey varieties for example could be: Wildflower, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Buckwheat, and there are many more. When these different types of honeys are used, it also can change the taste of the type of mead you are drinking!

Are you a mead lover? If so, what are some of your favorite meads to drink? I’d love to hear from you!  Raise your glass, and “Cheers” to Mead Day!!!

National Pollinator Week

National Pollinator Week

If I’m not working, reading, or writing, then you can most likely find me outside. I’ll be pruning and dead heading plants or flowers, pulling weeds or tilling soil, planting new plants and flowers, or feeding and watering the ones that I have.

How have I never heard of National Pollinator Week? It is an International celebration! As I researched to learn more, I found out that it started in 2006 by the US State Senate to bring awareness and recognition of how important pollinators are to our world and how valuable they are to our ecosystem. This year it was celebrated June 19-25, 2017.

You may be thinking to yourself, “What are pollinators?” Birds, butterflies, beetles, bats, and bees are all pollinators. These pollinators sustain our ecosystems, help plants reproduce, and help with our food supply. Did you know that our landscapes could collapse if it wasn’t for these pollinators? They are very important for us and our environment. The website pollinator.org has tons of information and promotes “National Pollinator Week.”

We need pollinators and pollinators need us! Many pollinator populations are declining due to loss of nesting habitats and feeding. We can help pollinators by providing them with proper plants. Planting and placing plants in home gardens, schools, farms, and near highways will help supply pollinators. Other ways to help them would be to buy locally, shop at farmer’s markets, spread the word and create awareness.

There are Eco-regional planting guides available online and there is even an app for your phone to help you determine and decide what plants will attract pollinators.

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about the importance of native and heirloom plants. It is a good idea to incorporate these types of plants into your gardens. Bees have been, and still are on a decline, and now I’m beginning to hear that monarch butterflies are on a decline as well. Monarchs love milkweed. This plant in your yard will provide monarch butterflies with food.

If you are asking yourself how to create an environment for pollinators, you can plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the seasons of spring through fall. Also, limit the use of pesticides. Make sure to provide shelter and water for pollinators. Just as we need water, water is important for wildlife and nature as well.

It can be quite enjoyable watching pollinators connect with nature. You can watch them by going for a walk, or just sitting outside and paying attention to your surroundings. Look at the plants, flowers, animals, and pollinators around you. Take it all in, and in no time at all, you will be connecting yourself back to nature as well!

The website pollinator.org suggests some great ways to create awareness to others by providing ways to show the importance of pollinators. Some of their suggestions were using a symbol or pictures of pollinators next to the foods that they pollinate. Another idea was hosting a cooking class or creating a menu that showcases the food we eat to bring awareness to people as they sample and taste foods that we enjoy. Pollinators are important in that they help produce what we need to be able to have foods, spices, beverages, and even some medicines. This makes the situation more realistic knowing that if pollinators keep declining, we will have less of these foods, spices, and medicines in our daily lives.

It is important to bring awareness not only one week out of the year, but throughout the year. We need to educate not only adults, but children as well, because they are our future!

What are some of your ideas to bring awareness to others about the decline and importance of pollinators to others? How do you celebrate National Pollinator Week?

A Sweet Read…

Book:  The Wedding Bees                     Author:  Sarah-Kate Lynch

This was one of my favorite books that I read over the summer.  If you are looking for a sweet (no pun intended) read with some added romance, you will enjoy this book!  I didn’t want to put this book down at night.  I wanted to keep reading it because I just the loved the meaning that went with the story.  Sometimes when you least expect something, you will find the hidden underlying reason of why you followed the path that you were on.

the-wedding-bees