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Friday, February 06, 2009

Snow and Honey

Monday was a day famous for Snow, but for me it was also about honey.

I visited Linda who has recently started keeping bees.

We processed some honey and she very kindly gave me a pot of golden sweetness at the end.

I learnt about mites, and deaths, and bee dancing and pollen and nectar and propolis (the red stuff in the pot - very sticky and it stains the hands, the bees make it from tree resin), and how the bees tenderly care for the grubs and feed them bees milk, and how the worker bees come out of the growing chambers and do housekeeping first for a few days, and then nursing, and then they guard the entrance, and then they start foraging only after all that.

The pics show how we scraped the honey out of the combs, avoiding letting pollen and nectar into the honey, and let it drip through a net to separate it from the wax - collecting the was crumbs for melting down and further separation from the honey that is left; propolis; and the honey pots that were filled. 20 in total, from about as many combs. This seems a lot but there are many hours of work to go into making this much honey and £4 a jar in the shops is an amazingly low price when you realise what is involved. Of course a lot of wax is also produced and it can be used in hand lotions, candles, furniture polish, bookbinding and all sorts of other things.

The bees had died in the frosts (before the Big Snow) and it was because there weren't enough of them to keep warm. They had been decimated by a mite earlier in the year which is the thing killing all the bees and causing mayhem for fruit crops and honey-makers worldwide.

Apparently there is a lot of extra work nowadays because of all the various diseases affecting bees. I think the snow will help to kill off some of the alien species and make things easier for bees next year - well I hope.

I am thinking of trying to make some hand cream from part of the honey Linda gave me so recipes would be welcome. I have various oils including coconut oil in the cupboard (available for incredibly low prices in large amounts from Southall by the way).

As for the snow, well I cycled to Linda's and it was rather wonderful as there was very little traffic, and people pulling kids along in sleds, and saying hello to each other, and I had to go very slow because it was very icy and I really wish that the snow would have stayed for a week or more.

Many thanks to Linda and looking forward to learning more about beekeeping -and honey- this year.

4 comments:

  1. I aqm finding your blog very interesting so far. Glad to have found you over at Leftover Queen:D

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  2. you mean Linda the beekeeper- i am a follower of her blog.

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  3. Its a different LInda - http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/

    is in Atlanta, USA and my Linda beekeeper is in Kew, England.

    Great blog though anyhow!

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  4. Dear Adventuresinfood, I loved this post and the previous one you wrote regarding bees and was fascinated at the photos of the process you went through to get the honey into a jar from the combs. I never thought I would view bees as important until I read your post and now it has me thinking! This site was such a pleasure to visit. Well presented, clean, clear and beautiful photos. I shall be returning for another delicious bite. Thank you for sharing,
    Cheers, Gaby
    You can visit me at http://ptsaldari.posterous.com

    ReplyDelete