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Retired to a hive of activity

By Staff | Apr 22, 2016

THIS IS THE FIRST step when Diane Walrod prepares creamed honey, a versatile family favorite.



HANLONTOWN – A pair retired Cerro Gordo County educators found that keeping busy as apiarists helps make their life sweeter.

Especially at meal times.

The home of Tim and Diane Walrod is located on the northern edge of Cerro Gordo County, within walking distance of the Winnebago River to the north.

AFTER THE CREAMED HONEY has set for a week, Diane Walrod puts it in containers. The darker containers have cinnamon flavoring and the lighter ones have lemon flavoring.

Their home has a view to the west of rolling hillsides with stands of oaks and a view to the east is of prairie grasses. The views from their windows would make a person think the landscape is more of northeast Iowa than north central Iowa.

“The view captures us,” said Tim Walrod, who worked 24 years as an elementary school principal in Mason City, retiring in 2008.

Diane Walrod worked in the Mason City school system as a special education teacher.

Their home was built 14 years ago on land owned by Diane Walrod’s family. This setting was made for these two outdoor enthusiasts, as well as for their honey bees.

Tim Walrod took a beekeeping class in 2007 at North Iowa Area Community College, in Mason City. The class was taught by Pat and Peggy Ennis, long-time beekeepers from Goodell.

THESE CARROTS were prepared from the French baby carrot recipe.

The Walrods have five beehives, but in the past they have had as many as 14.

The Walrods are also members of North Iowa Beekeepers, with Tim Walrod recently completing a term as its president.

And honey is included in every meal they prepare.

They will use honey in tea, mixed half and half in butter; with cooked carrots and on a turkey breast.

Tim Walrod’s favorite is honey on hot biscuits served with venison stew.

THESE ENERGY BITES are a favorite of the Walrods’ grandchildren. There are no instructions — just mix the ingredients and roll into balls.

Diane Walrod makes creamed honey, also called spun honey, mixing with flavors such as cinnamon, lemon and mulberry.

To make creamed honey, Diane Walrod starts with raw honey she heats to 140 degrees and lets it cool to room temperature.

She adds a cup of starter, which is creamed honey from another beekeeper, and adds the flavoring. Then it sits for a week at 55 degrees.

The Walrods produce more honey than they consume.

“We sell it, we gift it,” said Diane Walrod.

CREAMED HONEY with mulberry flavoring on an English muffin is a healthy treat that can be enjoyed at breakfast or anytime as a snack.

The Walrods have a customer list for their honey that they sell to and any extra honey after that they sell at a farmer’s market.

Tim Walrod’s spring time duties as a beekeeper has him checking the hives where the bees have over-wintered. The hives are left with a quantity of honey as a food source for the bees during the winter.

A mix of sugar and water creates a syrup which is placed on top of the hive to provide bees with energy.

As soon as they can, the bees are foraging, seeking pollen from trees and dandelions.

As members of the North Iowa Beekeepers, the Walrods enjoy socializing with other bee enthusiasts. At the organization’s April 14 meeting, 63 people were in attendance.

At that gathering, Pat and Peggy Ennis were recognized for their contributions to encourage beekeeping in northern Iowa when their names were the first ones placed on a plaque named after Leo and Mary Stattelman, who were beekeepers in the area more than 30 years ago.

French baby carrots

Serves 4

1 16-ounce package baby carrots or 1 16-ounce package of regular carrots, peeled and sliced

1/8 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in medium skillet, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

Uncover and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Grilled honey garlic pork chops

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 boneless center cut pork chops (4 ounces each)

Combine lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, sherry and garlic in a bowl.

Place the pork chops in a shallow baking dish and pour marinade over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Remove pork from the marinade.

Heat the remaining marinade to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Grill the pork over medium hot coals for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once during cooking and basting frequently with marinade.

Insert a meat thermometer to check that the pork is at 155 to 160 degrees.

Honey cheese bread

1 cup milk

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon seasoned salt

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 1/2 to 5 cups sifted flour

In a small saucepan, heat milk just until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Add honey and seasoned salt, stirring until dissolved. Cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl, stirring until dissolved.

Stir in milk mixture, cheese, mustard, cayenne pepper and 2 cups of flour. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour; mix in last of it by hand until dough leaves sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured board.

Grease fingers, then knead dough until it’s smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in lightly greased large bowl, turn once to bring greased side up and cover with towel. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, until double in size, about 2 hours.

Punch down dough, turn onto lightly floured board and shape into loaf. Place in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.

Cover loaf with towel, let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Cover with aluminum foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.

Turn out of pan and cool on rack.

Easy-grilled honey-Dijon chicken

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied

1 lime, cut into wedges

In a small bowl, add the honey, mustard, 1 tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well and put the mixture into a large plastic resealable bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag and shake to incorporate.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Remove the chicken from the bag and arrange it on o well-oiled grill. Cook until a nice crust forms on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Let the chicken rest on a serving platter for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with lime wedges.

Honey caramel corn

Makes three quarts

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup packed brown sugar


1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 quarts popped popcorn

Melt butter in large saucepan. Stir in sugar, honey and salt to taste.

Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Boil without stirring about three minutes to 265 degrees.

Remove from heat. Stir in orange peel and soda. Place popcorn in large oven-safe bowl. Slowly pour syrup over popcorn while stirring.

Turn onto greased 15 1/4-by- 10 1/4-by-1/4-inch baking pan.

Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes. Cool.

Break into pieces.

Store in an airtight container.

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