It’s that time of year again. Rasping throats, bunged-up noses and streaming eyes: the hay fever season has arrived. And Silver Birch is its harbinger.
If we hadn’t been due to deliver 15 kilos of local London Honey to Joe Fox, chef at the legendary Petersham Nurseries, on a sparkling Spring morning, we’d probably have gone anyway.
We love the versatility of honey in the kitchen. As a marinade, a rub, a glaze, a botanical, a healthy sugar substitute, a drizzle, a grace note in a vinaigrette, a dot of flavour, or just on toast, honey is unrivalled. In our book, honey deserves to sit alongside salt and pepper as a seasoning. But that night it was all about baking. With Bee’s Brilliant Biscuits.
It seems a bit mimsy to be posting about the planting of a single bronze fennel root in our Leathermarket Gardens edible planting border. The point is that it’s incremental.
Despite the hirsute and rough-hewn appearance of many motor-bikers, they have a legendary attachment to the motorcycles which they ride. So it is with beekeepers (the “hirsute and rough-hewn” description only applies to the males of the species, obviously) and the deep affection which they have for their bees.
I have a maxim, gained from my observation of the way the world works: “There may not be one single way to get it right. But there are lots of ways of getting it wrong.” It has served me well over the years.
The purpose of this blog is to inform and to entertain: this post falls squarely into the first category. After several months confined to the hive, my Suffolk bees took advantage of a warmer day to take a short flight last weekend. Why ? Those of a delicate disposition should look away now… Continue reading “Voiding”
The saddest sight a beekeeper can see is a huddle of dead bees, heads thrust deep inside empty wax cells, with the queen dead in the middle. And the wretched thing is that they had starved just an inch away from a broad, golden arc of honey. This phenomenon is called “Isolation Starvation“.
With the temperature relentlessly around zero, the word “scorching” is clearly unrelated to today’s weather forecast.
Well, it is and it isn’t. This frosty time of year is ideal for a belt and braces cleansing of empty beehives. This can be accomplished by immersing the hive parts in a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution, or for smaller scale beekeepers, by using a blow-torch to singe the interior crevices and wide surfaces of brood and super boxes. That’s where the scorching comes in. Here I am, spring-cleaning a hive which I have just started to manage.