beeswax and honey

Had a lovely interlude in the middle of my working day yesterday. We’d been talking about having a beehive and a friend’s beekeeping Dad called to see if I wanted to have a look at his bees. I was soon down the hill and in a beekeeping suit, loving the chance to get out in the sunshine. Seeing the bees was a bonus!

Standing on the edge of a stubbly wheatfield, listening to a nearby buzzard as we checked the bees was much better than sitting at a computer. We puffed smoke to warn the bees of our arrival, then opened up each of the 5 hives, feeding them and generally checking if they were fine.

The bees were as relaxed in the sunshine as us and one successful forager was doing a ‘waggle dance’ – a figure of eight dance to let the others know about the nectar he’d brought back.

Came away full of enthusiasm about the thought of producing our own honey. It varies dramatically apparently from year to year, depending on the weather conditions in winter, the crops around etc. The year when there was a field of borage next to the hives was particularly good. Another reason to let borage spread – which means more pretty blue-flowered ice-cubes for my gin and tonics!

I also came away with a lovely candle made from the beeswax. Ruby was very pleased with its beehive shape and can’t wait for a cosy evening to light it. In the meantime I have to resist the urge to do a waggle dance when we come back from blackberrying.