Monday, April 14, 2008

The Gift of Bees




Many folks have been asking about our bees lately. We and many, many other beekeepers in Sonoma County and elsewhere sadly lost our bees this Winter. Their population dwindled by the time it was warm enough for them to forage again. They had plenty of food in the hive for the Winter but they still didn't make it. We will try again. We've ordered new bees from a local beekeeper and we're hoping for another swarm. We've put a swarm attracting pheromone in a nice, new, cozy hive box in the garden. So far, no takers. Our new bees arrive at the end of April. It was bittersweet to open up the hive last month. No bees. A gallon of honey. We filled many a jar with the gift the bees left behind.

With an uncapping knife we sliced open the top layer of each frame. It was very difficult to keep one's fingers out of the honey-soaked cappings! We put the frames in a centrifugal spinner and cranked away. The honey was then poured from the spinner into jars and then poured again through a sieve to filter out the bits of wax, propolis, and pollen. The result was golden glowing jars of homestead honey!

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