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Being a beekeeper is something I always thought I might want to do. I love the idea of replenishing the much-needed population of honeybees to our earth while collecting the byproduct of their hives…honey. As interesting as it is to me, it is one of those things I just never got around to doing, so I was thrilled when my friend Petrea began a cottage industry bee/honey business in her backyard. Petrea began keeping bees after a long-time friend who began beekeeping on his property piqued her interest. After she purchased her own property, with help from her friend and the local apiary in town, she invested in a few hives. She said her first year included a lot of trial and error. During that year she harvested no honey and ended up losing one her hives to hive beetles. Her second year of beekeeping produced 35 pounds of honey and allowed her to sell enough of the product to solidify her business, as well as give some away to friends (yay for me)! She is now going into her third year, adding another hive and more confident in her beekeeping abilities, content that she is helping to replenish our bee population while allowing her to have a hobby/business she loves that doesn’t restrict her on a daily basis. With my friend’s beekeeping business, I can now live out my beekeeping fantasies vicariously through her, allowing me to strike one more thing from my “things I would like to do one day” list, but still benefit from the knowledge of knowing how to do it and reaping the benefits of her locally produced honey. Some of the benefits that local, raw (not processed) honey gives are: it reduces seasonal allergies because it contains pollen specific to the area you live, helps digestion, balances blood sugar, strengthens your immune system, calms nerves and anxiety, relieves pain and sore throats when you have a cold and heals burns and rashes. These benefits are due to the fact local, raw honey has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. As great as those benefits are, nothing makes me happier than honey drizzled over freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven and covered with a healthy smear of real butter. While researching some of honey’s health benefits, I came across a recipe that I can’t wait to try and sharing with you; Enjoy! No Bake Honey-Oat Truffles 2 c. old-fashioned oats ½ c. peanut butter ¼ c. raw honey ¼ c. dark chocolate chips and/or flax seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, wheat germ, raisins, etc. Mix all the ingredients and roll into balls, adjusting ingredients to roll smoothly.