Friday, 23 September 2011

Homegrown Honey

There is no comparison with home grown honey and store bought.  Just like the flavour of tree ripened fruit to that found at the shop.  Cut comb honey from our hive still has all the floral aromas, maybe some pollen and propolis and is the ultimate taste of all that Mother Natures does.  It is alive with the taste of sunshine and flowers.  It doesn't get any better than that.
I started beekeeping approx 3 years ago.  That season Varroa (bee parasite) invaded my hive and I tried most things chemical and natural to try and rescue them.  I couldn't, they died, later that same year.  The following year Ella got a hive for her 11th birthday and came with me to the hobbiest club.  We learnt heaps.  She lost that hive within 6 months of getting it.  I thought there has got to be a better, more bee friendly and natural way of keeping bees.  Last year I discovered the Warre Hive.  Tony made me one for my birthday and last September I shook all the bees (my god there were so, so many of them) from the Langstroth hive into the Warre.  The Warre hive emulates how the bees live in the wild.  They are given a box with a small strip of wax on the top bars of each box and the bees produce their own comb for brood and storage of honey.  Usually wax sheets are given to bees in frames and the bees draw it out (make it bigger).  These can carry chemical residues and disease.  My Warre colony died out after the earthquakes earlier this year and we are left with one small colony.  Why do we keep going after year after year of losses?  There is magic in keeping bees.  There is a saying that 'you're closer to God when you're in the garden', but to have your head in a beehive with 50,000 bees in front of you, reminds you of the deepest respect we humans need to have for these insects.  It is such a priviledge to keep bees naturally with no chemicals, in tune with them and Mother Nature.  When you keep bees you become a philosopher, a conservationist, an organic gardener, a teacher, a carpenter and a student, because the bees are always teaching you.

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