Kia ora all our lovely bee supporters!
Well as you all know it was another drought in the Waikato and something that is not really expected twice in a row so we all got a bit of a fright.
The bees coped pretty well, loved it to start with, as the plants all flowered profusely and the days were long and light, but towards the end even our bees had had enough and were desperately short of water in some areas – you may have seen us carrying buckets of water to our sites. It was quite something to see as you don’t usually think of bees as being thirsty!
We again went up North – this time we decided to bring the bees home after we had harvested the honey and not leave them over the winter months. While it is a fabulous place to go in the summer there is very little food for the bees over the winter and it’s a long, long, long way to go to check on them. ( Eight and a half hours from here ) Thank you to the farmers up there who kept an eye on them for us, we will be back up there in September. Also brilliant that the trees have been cut down as the undergrowth coming away now will be great spring tucker for them.
We also went down south with our bees and tried out a couple of new sites – one in particular – yours - Anna - I thought was going to be a very expensive thistle honey exercise (as compared to manuka ) turned out not to be true and pleasantly surprised us! So we will be back! Also well done with standing the hive up again! Crickey!
Went to pollination as well – and when we went to pick the hives up – one lot had been bowled over by what looked like a branch being dragged along behind a spray tank – not a good look and not very happy – as these hives had to come home and be podgyed up again before we shifted them down the line.
All in all we have had a pretty good season. Once again, thank you to those of you who have planted trees for the bees, rung me if they have fallen over and just kept an eye out for our hives. We also had one brave farmer put on a suit and come and harvest the honey off his farms hives – amazing and a great help – thanks Matt!
This year 100+ hives were stolen in our area just before manuka season – thankfully none were mine this time – so your help is really appreciated. ( If you do see anyone that looks suspicious by our hives, please take their registration number and ring me )
This is our 6th season and we have considerably more hives than the first 100 we started off with. It was becoming a bit much trying to look after them all, so we have welcomed to our team Steve Ryan – who has been a beekeeper since he was 17 – he knows all the little tricks of the trade and masses of bee stuff that would take me years to learn. He also was the guy who taught me so it is really special he has come on board with us. If you see a guy with a scruffy beard ( sorry, Steve!! ) tending our bees don’t shoot – it will be him!
We have this year also got our act together and had a logo designed. We are starting to sell our honey in cafes and need to be a tad more professional than a hand written sign. What do you think?
Another wee enterprise I have been involved in is designing some bee jewellery with my friend Chele Clarkin. Geoff Taylor a very well-known and talented jeweller from Cambridge has made the designs a reality and they are pretty neat! Have a look on their website: www.thecambridgecollection.co.nz Look under the 'Bee Mine' collection.
I have also started a bee school – mainly because I have had so many people ask me if they can come out with me and learn about the bees. As you can imagine “learning” takes more than two minutes and while I love sharing my knowledge it takes time and I was getting behind in all my other mahi, so I advertised a couple of 1 day workshops. These were pretty successful and good fun, so we have decided to hold a day for you guys. The day will cover:
- Whats in a hive
- Finding the queen. You will have a hive to practice on.
- Bee nutrition, what bees love and need to eat, planting trees for bees info .
- Where is the best place to put bees on your farm, why? And what do they for you?
- General discussion and questions.
I am thinking a 10 – 3pm day ( time-wise ) and a Friday- August 30th - Coffee/morning tea and lunch provided.
If you are interested, ring and book a place. If I am not at home just leave me a message. Also if you have anything specific you would like to know or do please let me know .
This season we have given you a pot of Parawera Paddock honey ( in the square pot ) and a pot of rewarewa. The rewarewa went ballistic this year – no-one had seen it flower so well for years – so we made a special effort and harvested some before the main harvest. Tommy and I took the boxes off – it was about 29 degrees ( from your farm Scott & Jodie )– we came home at 1ish and both nearly died from the heat! But it was worth it!
Hope you think so!
Barbx, John & Steve