Bee Happy!

| 10th September 2011

Subscribers who have been following our journey will remember Plan Bee from last year…

Well we have now completed all four phases and have had the garden here at Hen Corner assessed and now are on a trial run with 20,000 little honey bees! We have been lent a nucleus of bees (a mini/new colony) which arrived in a Nuc box (polystyrene half hive) and Andy Pedley, of the Ealing and District Beekeeping Association, kindly lent us a spare hive and feeder. Here you can see me transferring the bees, frame by frame, from the nuc box into the hive. We’ve also given them their second dose of Varroa Mite treatment and have started feeding them for the winter.

Feed the bees? I thought they were supposed to feed you?

said a friend on Facebook recently. Well as these are new girls, and haven’t got enough honey stores to see them through winter, we need to give them a helping hand. Well established colonies also need feeding as you’ve probably taken their surplus honey in your annual harvest. Now I’ve been given a tip-off that there is not much pollen & nectar around at the moment (probably with this wet weather) so the aim is to feed them up to 11kg sugar, made up into syrup, before the end of September. This will allow them to store it in the spare cells of the frames in the hive and help it to dry and seal in nicely before it gets even more cold and damp. As the weather gets colder, the bees will huddle together in the centre of the hive for the winter. Hopefully, they manage OK in the new home for this, their first winter. Then we should start to see some action as Spring warms them up and they start their new season forage before the height of the breeding season in May, June and July.

Say Cheese Everyone!

Yep, we’ve got into quite a good habit of making a batch of cheese each week here at Hen Corner. Pictured here is our famous Camembert, at the stage of the curds draining in the molds. This cheese takes a few weeks to fully ripen, but it’s well worth it!

Feta is regular, fortunately it’s quite a quick one (you can eat it in a couple of days) and it stores nicely once brined in the fridge.  We’ve tried Cheddar (which was nice and mild) and currently have a Roquefort ripening, I’ve also frozen some nettle leaves as I’m hoping to try to make a Yarg…. so watch this space!

Jobs for next week:

    • Take the netting off and mats out of the Eglu Go, the chicks are big enough now, they can’t escape or drop through the roosting bars.
    • Watch out for the Saffron sprouts…
    • Keep feeding the bees…. 11kg of sugar makes a lot of syrup
    • Continue to harvest and preserve, poached pears, Christmas pickle, etc.
    • Roll up my sleeves for Cider Sunday… we’ve got a massive new press!

Have a great week yourself now….

Corners aren’t just for squares!

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