We have had bees at the farm for a few years now.
We originally purchased a box for Brian's 60th birthday and after a few years a friend in town who has bees supplied our first nuc of bees to us. We gradually added a few more hives and Brian and our friend Rob have been caring for them.
Our main reason to have bees originally was to increase the pollination of plants here at the farm as there had been a decline in bees in our area. We agreed with Rob that if he helped look after our hives and harvest the honey he could take it and sell at our local craft shop and just give us some to use personally.
So, Rob has been a regular visitor over the recent years, sharing his long earned knowledge and expertise passed down to him from 2 generations of bee keepers prior to him, and sharing many, many cups of coffee and conversations on our back verandah.
The photos in this post show randomly some of his and Brian's work with the bees.
Unfortunately a couple of days later they were gone, swarmed again, but we did learn some valuable lessons.
A few days later Rob managed to catch another swarm in town and brought them here,
He merged them with an existing hive here, by using an old method of placing a couple of sheets of newspaper between the old and the new hive and by the time they eat through the newspaper they know and accept each other rather than fighting and become one.
It has now resulted in a big healthy hive and we have since added a new hive beside it.
One day Rob came to check the hives and take frames to spin,
The bees had built a pile of honeycomb on the top of the frames, so he passed me some to eat,
It was delicious.
He inspected the frames and took 2 full boxes away to spin.
We were very impressed with our results, What lovely light clear honey those frames produced.
We did a quick trip to Newcastle to purchase, some new preserving jars, hive boxes, honey containers and we decided to buy a new suit for me that can be shared if we get visitors that want to help Brian or just have a look.I feel much more protected now.
The new hive settled in really well and went ahead in leaps and bounds.
My brother came to visit from Sydney and got to have a close look at the bees.
We had no choice but to harvest again in no time at all.
We were totally gobsmacked at the sheer quantity of beautiful raw honey that we have obtained this season( well over 50 litres) At this point we are not selling the honey but maybe next spring we may look at sorting out where to sell as we have assured Rob from the beginning that we will not sell against him.
Rob is a great help to us and has a vault of expertise and information that he shares with us for which we are eternally grateful.
What a learning curve this season has been, the bees are now slowing down and getting ready for the cooler months ahead, we will not harvest again until next spring all being well.
So, until we catch up again soon a little further down the track,
take care and stay safe.
Jane and Brian.