2021 honey

We finally have Rocklands Farm 2021 honey in stock. This is produced exclusively from our own hives in Curbar.

Each year's vintage is slightly different. This season's cold start and a mixed weather generally, has produced a stronger honey flavoured by later-summer nectars. These flavours include hint of heather honey from the nearby bell heather flowering around Curbar Edge.

This contrasts with 2020's honey where the bright and sunny spring produced strong honey flows from Blackthorn and Hawthorn.

Available now on the egg round for £5.50 a jar.

We should have a small amount of 'Heather honey' available later in the month.

Summer news

Summer may finally be here. That comes after a very cold April and an extremely wet May.

Through all that we've managed to keep the hens, bees and sheep healthy and they should all be ready for the fat of the land over the next few months (fingers crossed).

Over the winter we have made progress on a few projects. Some new gates are installed, the henhouses are on new pasture and our new hedge appears to have taken well.

Winter news

As you probably all realise, it has been a cold and snowy winter so far. We've been trying to keep the sheep well fed while keeping an eye on the hens and the beehives.

We did have a couple of hives blow over in the gusty winds around Christmas. But fortunately we spotted this quickly. This winter, we had left all our hives strapped together. So even though the hives toppled, the bees were stirred up a bit, rather than exposed to the winter cold.

After re-righting the hives the bees seemed fine. And we managed the jobs sting-free — cold winter bees are relatively docile.

A hive check in the past fortnight revealed we had lost one of our weaker hives over the cold spell. We'll confirm exactly why later on, when we clean up and disassemble the hive.

Hive moves

We have moved the handful of hives that we had near the heather back to Rocklands for the winer. We have had a small (but very tasty) heather honey crop. It should be in jars and out for sale within  a couple of weeks.

Final pour

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!

News from Charli's Chooks and Peak Pure

Collecting hay
A rare frosty morning gives us the chance to get the tractor to the hay barn

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.

Bridge Inn

Our eggs are now featured on the menu at the Bridge Inn, Curbar – thanks so much for this local vote of confidence. 

Beeswax candles

Dipped

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. 

 

Charli's Chooks goes contactless

We can now take contactless (and Chip & PIN) payments from our egg-round customers. Hopefully that is good news for those of you who, like us, are a long way from the bank.

Cleaning up

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.