Thursday, 4 July 2013

Summer Harvests

I think I can declare summer is here as we have just harvested our first ever honey. Here are the bee keepers for the day, inspecting the frames to work out which ones are ready to be taken out.

We have three supers over the brood box.  Supers are the boxes that contain purely store ( or honey ) and no eggs or larvae because the queen is exluded using a metal mesh that she, being a larger bee cannot pass through.  We took out 8 frames from the super.  The honey is ready when all ( or most ) of the cells are capped. Here is H holding a fully capped frame.
Then we spinned the frames in a centrifugal device to extract the honey. In theory, it should empty out all the hexagonal wax cells and we could put the empty frame back into the super. In practise, as we are newbie bee keepers, all the frames warped and broke and the wax had to be melted down for another use. We also ended up with a sticky kitchen. Luckily A covered the kitchen table in cling film.
We got, 14x1lb of honey and some comb honey. I imagine we will have another harvest before the season is out.  I am not sure we got through shop bought 1lb of honey in a year so how are we going to cope with such a full larder ?
On the other hand, I don't have a problem with the next harvest. I have picked these beautiful David Austin roses from my garden. Yes, they smell as gorgeous as they look. And they all have different smell. My favourite is the smell of the yellow one, called Molineux. Who would have thought, being named after a football stadium, a rose could smell so sweet.

When we first moved into this house in 2009, my next door neighbour saw me planting in the garden. She pointed to a Verbena Bonariensis and said, "that didn't do very well in my garden". She proceeded to add, "roses are also not known to do well here". I planted the Verbena regardless and she of next door has seen that it worked and has since replanted her Verbena.  I am envious that her Verbena has thrived this second time around but mine needed replacing every year.  But I am glad I didn't pay any attention to the roses remark and now have 10 different varieties. One, Glamis Castle isn't doing well because it is susceptible to black spots but I am hopeful it will recover. 
Do you grow roses ? I have heard people say that they thought roses are difficult but it really is not. It is a bit of a thug really, you cannot kill it. The pruning advice previously has been quite complicated; finding the outward bud and cutting upward just above it has been shown to be unnecessary. A hedge trimmer works as well...boom, just across by about 1/3 to 2/3.
I believe you can pay David Austin a large sum of money to name a rose after you. One day I will be rich (LOL), watch out Rosa Ifa Zainon and she will be peony shaped and yellow. That will be the day.

1 comment:

alexa said...

And when that day comes, I will be wanting one :). Your honey harvesting looks very professional - will there be a scrapbook page?