JULY 2016

It is now officially four years since we started beekeeping, and three years since we’ve had our own hives!

We started the season with two very strong double deep brood boxes, and a single deep and have now grown to 8 hives. Now it is uncertain whether the swarm we caught, and have re-queened, will survive, or the wee nuc beside it, but we certainly have six very healthy and happy hives. At this point we have managed through most of the troubleshooting and with only one winter loss since we’ve started – zero this year, things are looking good.

Sorry for the less than stellar photographs, I was down in South Carolina for a work conference and Dan started the fun of extracting without me. I am guessing he used my iPhone in the waterproof case to take the photos which would account for the haze.  In total he invited a few interested friends and extracted only two honey supers from Rivendell (formerly Wendy’s Bees). This filled one entire 10L plastic pail, plus one-half of a second pail. In addition, I had previously pulled out a single frame as I promise my students at the end of our gardening class we try raw honey —

Today I am off as I have dropped my summer hours to 4-days per week, so I finally have time to bottle up some honey. I cannot help but save the drips and taste the sweetness.

This year the flavour is more robust than previous years, almost woody, and darker in colour. Our bees are located in a forest-conservation area so the mixture of hardwoods and softwoods would account for this rich honey. One day I’ll get a refractometer to measure the brix levels and moisture content but they are about $350 here in Ontario for a decent quality meter. As long as up to 70% of the surface of the frame / 70% of the honey super is capped, and it is harvested during a dry period there should not be any issues with fermentation. The honey in the centre is more likely to be dryer than the edges if one were to test with a refractometer. But we’ve been in a month long drought so I am not concerned. This purchase will have to wait.

In the mean time honey and crêpes for breakfast, brunch, snack, lunch, dinner, supper, second supper …

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