Wednesday 20 November 2013

Fall 2013

Well the end of the season has passed, the bees are all wrapped for winter.  The fall weather worked out well and we had all the fall tasks completed without any crazy complications.  Now we wait and see how everybody made it through the winter.

Seems like every year we sell more honey.  We packed more this year, but already it seems like too little.  We'll see how the supply holds up.

A terrible year for production.  Normally we do three pulls (taking the honey from the bee yards) but this year we only managed two.  Bees just started too late with the slow spring I believe.  We were not alone and it seems as though honey might be in shorter supply this year.  Sure some did well, but others did not and the wet weather didn't help the prairie beekeepers.  I made sure that I have a good stash for the family though!

Every year the honey is different.  Last year the honey stayed soft and almost creamy. Very nice for spreading.  This year, the honey set up harder.  I can not say why this happens, another local beekeeper's honey did the same so it must have something to do with the season.  It really doesn't spread well at all.  Not a problem for me as I just carve big chunks up for my peanut butter sandwiches!  When I bake with it (not as much this year so far) I just carefully nuke it (microwave) in short bursts.  I don't believe the heating will affect it since I'm putting it into a 375 °F oven anyways.

When we want liquid honey we just heat up some water and put a jar of honey into the water and let it melt with the range top turned off.  We try not to overheat it and wreck the flavour.  My favourite use of liquid honey is--wait for it-- on peanut butter sandwiches.  Little more complicated than with chunks of honey.  You need to drizzle the honey on the bread and then refrigerate it.  The honey then crystallizes in the bread and it gets crunchy.  Very nice.

Comparing the 2012 with the 2013 crop, I think the flavour is really nice this year even if it is harder.  I had some supermarket honey last week and have to say that our honey is so much better tasting.

2013/4 Honey Prices

7 kg pail           $40
3 kg pail           $24
1 kg container  $10

Saturday 17 August 2013

Filling Pails!

We've started filling pails! Of course,  I seem to have no labels so if you stop by to pick up honey the pails will be naked... heavens! We should have labels by Monday. 
Phone in advance if you're coming out to make sure we're around.

Friday 9 August 2013

Summer 2013

Well, we are well into the extracting season and the summer seems to be following the winter in terms of personality as well as everything else. It seemed like it would start off just fine, but lately it has been grey and cold and the flowers are not as plentiful as one would hope.

But the honey is still coming in and we should be filling pails next week! Let us know what you need for honey this year or just stop by once we're ready. I'll put up a post once we are open for sales. I think it will probably be around the 23rd of August.

Most beekeepers in Alberta are having much lower yields than other years, mainly due to the weather and the slow spring. Wholesale prices are up quite a bit this year, about 30% to 40% it looks like.

The bumblebees are all over the goldenrod right now. They don't mind the chillier evenings and they start earlier in the day than honey bees as well.

2013 Honey Prices

7 kg pail           $40
3 kg pail           $24
1 kg container  $10

Thursday 6 June 2013

Spring 2013

We are all sold out of honey.  Nothing but my own secret stash of honey in the honey house.  We begin extracting honey mid-July and will have honey packaged and ready for sale by the end of August.

Monday 20 May 2013

Spring 2013

Well, I was wrong about the winter.  Wasn't as nice as I thought, bit long.  We must be a week or two behind last year.  Wintering survival was terrible.  Lots of thoughts on that, but no hard facts.  Certainly the younger queens survived better and the 2012 Russian queens did very well.  Too bad the Russian stocks are nasty and have not proven to be good enough producers to offset their aggressive behaviour. Was planning on replacing them this year but, with my numbers so depleted, I'll suffer with them.  I don't have much love for them after one crawled deep into my ear last year.

Our honey stockpile has dwindled considerably. We have less than a dozen 7 kg (~15 lb) pails left.

Busy this spring recovering from the winter losses and trying to build a house at the same time.  We really are building a house, we could not find a framer that was willing to undertake it.  Part of it is straw bale and they don't appear to like a challenge around here.  We had one show up to start the mudsill but the lumber yard failed to deliver the material as they said they would.  So our framer drove off with vague promises to return.  He never did.  So Kari and I took up the hammer and with the internet, started whacking nails into wood.  Slow process, but we have floor joists on the second floor waiting to be sheeted.

Just to be a glutton for punishment I volunteered to coach U10 soccer as well.

Thursday 31 January 2013

Winter 2013

Pretty tame winter so far.  Good snow for skiing too.

Sales have been good and we are low in inventory (January).  About the only thing we have lots of are the 3 kg pails.  We packaged more 7 kg pails than last year, but it is looking like we could have done more.

Again we didn't put aside enough for ourselves.  We both thought the other had done it.  Luckily my parents didn't need the 15 lb pail I filled for them, so we still have that.  But August is a long ways off...