Morena all you lovely bee supporters.
This year has just been crazy – way all over the place weather-wise, people-wise, work-wise. I guess it had to happen sometime and it did!
Weather-wise: we split really hard in spring and then the weather did not warm up as it usually does- very cold nights right up till Christmas – which meant we fed and fed and fed the wee beasts and they ate and ate and ate and did NOTHING. It was looking like I would have to get a real job as no nectar was being gathered, therefore no honey being produced. Luckily things came right and we had a pretty good harvest in the end, but it was a bit scary. I now know what you farmers have to go through.
People wise - The wheels fell off pretty spectacularly for me just before Christmas when Steve decided he couldn’t cope and left. That was a “holy…….’ moment. Double the amount of hives, therefore honey to collect and no Thomas to help as he is now at Tec.
It was around about this time that I had a wee meltdown and I was wondering why I had decided to be a beekeeper when I read the Listener magazine and saw in the quotes section the following: - “ I’ll be glad when I have had enough of this!” It is apparently a fisherman’s favourite aphorism, but it could easily have been mine! Sometimes you just have to laugh and get on with it!
As luck would have it, a friend of John’s suggested Andy McKay – who is now on board. Andy is a south islander (we don’t hold that against him –much ), he has the same amount of experience as me and is a mad keen surfer like Alex ( my oldest ) so he fits in well. Also luckily Alex came home from Canada, just after Christmas. The next day he was in a bee suit and hasn’t got out of it yet! He is probably the most highly qualified beekeeper in the land – in the flying department only though! He and Andy are going to take over the empire this coming season and hopefully I can just pootle with my queen bee raising, step back a bit and do something else. Well that’s the plan! Watch this space!!!!
Work wise – Was really knackered at the end of the season and when moaning on to the boys about it asking how come with them here I still felt fatigued they said well we do have twice the number of hives so you are still doing the same amount of work – yes true...
But apart from all that all turned out pretty jolly well. Our bees gathered a goodly amount of manuka and paddock honey, so this season I have given you a pot of each – this is the first year we have kept any manuka – it is the good stuff, hope you like it.
And lastly as always A BIG thank-you to all who have planted trees especially for the bees, rung me if the hives have been kicked over or if the wasps are attacking them. Thank you also for just keeping an eye on them. No hives were stolen in this area this year as far as I know, but 400 were up north. ( not mine thank goodness ) So thank you for keeping a watch, it is much appreciated.
Barbx and the boys.