We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Pea or Nut? Or Honey-Roasted?

Do you know whether a peanut is a pea or a nut? More on this a moment, but first for the honey roasted...

On the bee front recently, things have been rather up and down with seemingly more downs than ups. After initial victories, which climaxed while Tim was in Arusha, things then plummeted when we lost the lot. It was so discouraging. But it was so incredible to just watch the bees before we lost them.

The phrases "busy as bees" and "hive of activity" have taken on a whole new meaning! The bees were in and out of the hive, lovingly and faithfully tending to the larvae, those little grubs growing with constant food and attention. It was just fascinating to watch!

But then the activity slowed and it was obvious the bees were struggling. We had an awful invasion of siafu ants and a infestation of maggots in an old comb ...

One bee in particular was clearly suffering a few days later, unable to fly and barely moving on the side of the hive. To my amazement I watched as two other bees flew over to her and together they crawled along the floor of the hive, dragging the struggling bee to the honeycomb to eat. It was amazing to watch the determined, heroic efforts of these bees. Their devoted care for one another, their fight for survival. I have heaps more I could say and I think many more lessons to learn from the bees.

Sadly they didn't make it. But last Saturday, with help from our friend, Innocent, we coated all the hives again with honeycomb and slathered the top bars with the sticky stuff. And the bees did come! And it was a hive of activity for a whole week. But then two days ago they were all gone. I could not believe it! So I donned my wellies and carried my gas burner back down to the hives and melted wax and honeyed again. At the moment, there are plenty of bees about out there, ... and I just do so hope they stay! What a lesson in learning to bee patient.

Last week we had harvest day for our peanuts. I have to confess, before coming here I had never really thought about how peanuts grew! In answer to the title, the peanut is not actually a nut at all... but it is a pea. Peanuts are members of the legume family (edible seeds in pods), and grow underground (thus they are referred to as "groundnuts") unlike the "tree" nuts such as walnuts and almonds. They provide the best source of concentrated protein in the plant kingdom and as legumes, the plants are rich in nitrogen for the soil. This is why we like peanuts!

Our plants were doing really well until the mongoose discovered them. We think we lost about 20% to the greedy creatures, but are still left with buckets of big and beautiful peanuts!

So with my bees busy in the hive, I'm looking forward to some honey roasted peanuts! But I think after drying and roasting our harvest, I'm going to make some fresh homemade peanut butter and look forward to some peanut butter and honey sandwiches!
The peanut plant
All those nuts in the roots
Removing the peanuts
We harvested 7.5kg of nuts!
Drying the peanuts (using top bars from the extra hives as an enclosure)

Thank you for your prayers recently. Yesterday my cousin was able to come out of hospital in time for my Grandma's funeral which was today. And tomorrow Tim's Dad has an appointment to determine the course of action against the brain tumour. We found peace in the far away place but are quickly making plans for Tim to be less far away sooner. 


  1. Don't know whether last message was published so will leave it again. Love reading your blog. Thinking of you all in these sad times. Love Rachel xxxx


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