A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Still Waiting

As the title suggests, I am still waiting to get my Bees. The course that I will be attending is getting ever nearer and there will be a chance to purchase Bees there. I am strongly considering buying some elsewhere as this will guarantee I get them this year as the course describes having very limited numbers of nucs available. Due to the amount of time I've been researching and preparing I would be so gutted if I didn't get going this year.

There is still much preparation needed in my Dad's allotment; the allotment committee require a 6' fence erecting around the apiary, however this will only require a days work as my Dad has already got the fence, it just needs putting in place. We plan on planting Bee friendly flowers around the apiary site to brighten it up a bit and make the Bees feel more at home.

Over the last few days I have received a couple of emails; one from Wakefield Beekeepers Association and another from DEFRA advising of European Foul Brood (or EFB) been found in a hive within 5km of me. Though this is bad news, I am glad that they have contacted me, although it won't affect me just yet (again back to the lack of Bees). I plan on adding EFB to my pests and diseases section but for the mean time I will say that it's a disease that Bees can get that effects the brood, potentially causing massive damage to the colony. There is another similar disease that is more nasty called American Foul Brood (or AFB) and I will also put this on my pests and diseases page. The American equivalent is more severe but not as common in the UK as far as I'm aware.

Recently I acquired a few more pieces of equipment from someone my sister knows who has unfortunately had to stop Beekeeping due to an allergy. The equipment I have received is mostly unused, such as frames and supers. I also got some packs of unopened wax foundation but as these had been in the garage a while had turned brittle and unusable in a hive. Not wanting to waste this wax I decided to melt it down; I used a large tall tuperware in a pan of hot water and added the foundation into the tuperware until all the wax was melted. I then let it cool and set so I can use it at a later date. There is more equipment they have available for me to purchase but I will have to wait to payday to afford any more.

My second batch of mead is going to be bottled in the next couple of days. In one of the demijohns I have added something to stop fermentation then added more honey to make it sweeter. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, my second batch didn't turn out as planned, being that I added far too little honey. This is why I'm experimenting a little with this one by adding extra honey after fermentation. As I have 4 demijohns with this batch I will probably experiment further with it by adding fruit juice to two of the other demijohns and leaving one with no additives.

Going back to my very first batch of mead, (the JAO mead) I have all but finished this off now. I tried, in vain, to store some to age, but as it was "hidden" in plain sight ended up getting opened and is now almost finished. This first batch was very sucessful and everyone who tried it agrees. There is another batch of this recipe brewing at the moment, but with slight difference being that I added a little lemon juice. Hopefully this won't change it too much. I think next time I do a large batch I will stick to the tried and tested JAO mead.

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