Wow, its has been 6 months since I last created a post – how time flies. One of my new year’s resolutions should be to be better about giving updates on the apiary!.. Well, here’s a start & a quick synopsis of what’s been happening with the bees since July:
The bees did a great job pollinating the garden & fruit trees this year. We had a bumper crops of blueberries, apples & strawberries along with getting enough sour cherries to make a yummy pie. This is the first time I’ve gotten more than one or two cherries since I planted the trees 3 or 4 years ago. I froze so much from the garden (in addition to the stuff I normally can), that we didn’t even have room for ice cubes in the 2 freezers we have!
Honey Production was also good this year. I harvested 75-80 lbs of honey from the hives & still left enough for the bees to eat over the winter. The new “package” (the one from the video I posted earlier this year) – produced an amazing amount of honey for its first year. I entered some of the “light, spring” honey into the NH Beekeepers Fall Honey Tasting contest, and tied for 3rd place!
I started 2 new hives by taking a few frames of brood, eggs & bees from of the strong hives that made it through the 2016/7 winter and putting them in NUC boxes (which are basically mini hives with 4 frames in a box instead of 10). These two new NUCs didn’t have a queen so they raised their own and did well enough during the summer that I moved them from their NUC boxes into regular hives. Going into winter I have 5 hives (2 that over wintered last year, 1 that I started from a package of bees & 2 that I started from the splits). As of today, they are still all alive & appear pretty strong.
In the picture above:
- Far Left(yellow) & Far right (light blue) hives over wintered in 2016/17;
- the tall aqua hive in the middle was the package started in 2017
- The two shortest hives (2nd from left & 2nd from right) are the ones I started from a split of the yellow hive
The end of the year brought an invitation from Gilmanton’s Own, a non-profit organization that promotes the products from Gilmanton farms & artisans, to include my hand cream, honey & lip balms in their winter market at the Brick House Antique Shop at the Gilmanton 4-corners.
I also volunteered at the market which was really interesting to learn about all of the products produced in town. I found out we have somewhere between 35-40 farms in this small town! The most difficult part of volunteering was on the drive home not eating the freshly baked loaf of bread that I bought each time I worked!