I have just bottled our last honey from the 2019 season. It is a late season crop dominated by honey from nearby heather moorlands. It has the distinctive flavour, dark colour and slightly thixotropic texture that all come from ling heather. It should be in White's at Calver Crossroads today, when you buy your other essentials!
Apologies the website has been quiet for a few months – but it certainly hasn't been quiet around Rocklands.
Our second hen-house is now in use. The other shed is currently empty while we wait for some decent weather to expand the flock.
Our eggs are now featured on the menu at the Bridge Inn, Curbar – thanks so much for this local vote of confidence.
We have tried our hand at making hand-dipped beeswax candles. After a test burn we can say they produce a nice clean burn. They also burn very slowly so we expect at least 8 hours burn from the approx 10-inch candles.
They should be available to buy on the egg round soon.
As the beekeeping year starts to ebb away, there are always cleaning up jobs to be done. We try and re-use as many wooden frames as we can from our hives. Often these are replaced because the foundation is old or, more rarely, the colony has died or swarmed. Cleanliness is vital in beekeeping so we steam the wax out of the frames with a Thorne 'Easi-steam'. Then the frames get a boil in washing soda solution in an old Berco boiler rescued from the back of a garage.
This should mean they are sterile and ready to be rebuilt with fresh foundation for one of next year's new colonies.
The hay is in for 2019. Our meadows are relatively 'natural' — we don't muckspread or spray. The wildflowers are amazing with yellow rattle, birdsfoot trefoil and many others I don't know. This makes a very rich hay which the horses and sheep love. It raises a few quid but the cutting also keeps the grasses in check and allows the wildflowers to flourish.
That also helps our bees! In addition we move the hens around as they scratch up the ground and open up the sward a little.