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.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Beekeeping Update and Other Bits

It seems like an age since I did my last post, last September to be precise! I have been fairly busy since then with various Beekeeping shenanigans and some home brewing. The main point I'm mentioning, which is partly why there has been so few posts by myself, is that at my local Beekeeping associations annual general meeting last year I was, reluctantly, voted in as secretary: this entails me answering quite a few emails and forwarding on various publications I get emailed. I said reluctantly as the post of secretary is not the most glamorous of positions but I wanted to be more involved and we needed a secretary! At the same meeting I also somehow became the librarian for the association, I must learn to keep my hand down in future! I now am in possession of WPBKA's collection of Beekeeping books throughout the ages and some of them are rather old. I haven't checked them all yet but some are easily as old as my dad.

My Bees have survived the Winter this year and they seem to be thriving. I went into Winter with 3 hives but one was very light on Bees and I never confirmed there was a new Queen mated in there, that colony didn't survive but the other 2 have. I have seen the Queen in one of the hives and the other has brood at all levels. I have already added supers as the oil seed rape is in full flower and honey has started to be stored in the brood area. I'm hoping for an ok return this year and when the swarm cells appear I'm looking to take a nucleus or 2 from the hives. With any luck I'll have at least 4 colonies going into Winter 2014.

I have recently finished (almost) building a top bar hive from some wooden boards I have. With any luck I'll get this occupied soon and report back on my findings. I have spoken to people at my association and the general consensus is that people don't like them in my area but in other areas people swear by them. In my humble opinion the best way to find out is to try it myself. The only bit I have left to complete is the actual top bars, they have been cut and just need some wax foundation to be placed into the grooves. I have looked at other options but I will try wax strips to start with and if succesful will experiment with other methods as well. One other option is string soaked in molten wax which would be easier to implement but not look as nice! The below picture is prior to the legs being attached and has also since been painted more so looks nicer. I may dedicate a fulll post to it when it is fully complete.

Topbar Hive
Almost finished topbar hive

From my last post I have pressed all my apples using a friends cider press and it has femermented into an almost drinkable brew. It is now bottled and maturing. The last bottle I tried was better than the first so in time I could have a decent cider. The recipe was an easy one to follow: loads of apples, pressed then left to ferment, I kept it as simple as that. No yeast, sugar or water added, just apple juice. Again, I have lots more photos so will probably do a longer post for the cider making.

Home Made Cider

Lastly I will add details of my upcoming fund raising event with the hope I can get a few more sponsors. This August will mark the 3 year anniversary of my mother passing away and also approx 10 years from when I last had a full hair cut. In 2004 I had my head shaved for cancer research and raised an impressive £400. This time I'm aiming much higher and am attempting to raise £1000, however I will need a lot of help to do it. I am raising money for the Stroke Association this time, as that is what my Mum died of. Hopefully with your help we can reduce the number of people and families that have to suffer because of this condition. Any little helps, seriously, if you can just manage a pound or a dollar then that is fine. If you are in a position to donate then I ask that you share my donation link via your social media sites and hopefully I will raise a bit more. Here is the link to donate and if you live in the UK then you can donate via text, put this into the body of your text changing the amount to how much you want to donate "IMHS69 £5" and then send to 70070. Thanks greatly in advance for your kindness.