One of our favourite jobs of the year is here! After all the work, the reading and learning, the stings and the cleaning of gummed-up equipment, it is wonderful to see that first honey harvest of the year come to fruition.
So far, we've only collected 11 frames of honey (that's one single super and two extra frames on our French Dadant hives) but that's given us nearly 40 jars of amber-coloured, wild-flower honey. We know there has been some lavender in there somewhere too but not enough for us to count the honey as specifically "lavender" variety. To ensure that consumers aren't misled, all the percentages of honey contents are quite rightly-strictly controlled but that doesn't worry us as our girls have laboured to produce a honey we really like.
We plan on leaving the bees with at least some honey for winter so won't harvest again from the two hives we've already touched but we're looking forward to the end of August and collecting full supers (the half-depth frames with all the honey stores) from our other three productive hives.
Thankfully, we don't have much rapeseed or sunflower crops too close by which means the honey hasn't crystallised and should stay clear for a good while. Next job is to add some calendula and poppy seeds to the meadow we've created for the bees and see what happens in 2017.
Over the next few weeks, we'll share our adventures in making mead and healing balms from beeswax (well, be rude not to!).