|Melina made it to the front cover of the local paper, eating some honeycomb. She's not so sure about being famous.|
So I wrote an article for the local paper about beekeeping, extolling the wonders of bees, and then my bees decided that I wasn't actually that good at the whole business, and up and left their hive. The hive was under attack by both wax moths and wasps so I can't say I blamed them. They didn't actually go very far, and set up a new home in the loquat tree. I've been watching them for a while, but it was a small swarm, and the numbers have been dwindling every day, till today there was no sign of them at all. So I'm not sure I can technically call myself a beekeeper now that although I have a hive in the garden, there are no bees. In fact I am still currently encouraging the wasp population as they are helping themselves without threat to the remainding honey which I had left for winter feed for the bees. As soon as the children go back to school I am going to don my suit and clean out the hive.
But I do have reminder of them - and the rewards that being a good beekeeper can bring. We harvested about 30kg of honey this year, which is a nice amount that provides for our needs and some for giving away. Honey is also great currency for bartering.
A very kind person let me use proper extracting equipment this year which was fun, and oh so much faster than pressing honey out by hand. Above is the unfiltered honey - has lots of bits of beeswax in it.
Here's Alex doing the favourite harvesting job of the year. The kids adore filling jars with honey by opening up the valve. There's a fair bit of finger licking that goes on too. I like that I get to store my honey in (reused) glass jars. Why is honey always sold in plastic containers?
So this spring I'll be starting two new hives again. And I will be a better beekeeper.