Friday 31 August 2012

A cold chill

Yesterday was cold. I had to dress in warm clothes when I went down to the allotment. The bees were very quiet, staying in the hive rather than venturing out to forage. I was concerned about the new hive we set up as a result of an unexpected swarm at the start of this month. It would not have had time to build up a store of honey and if the bees weren't getting out to collect nectar, there was a serious chance the colony could starve. We had fed it a bucket of sugar syrup when we set up the hive three weeks ago but the chances were that the bees would have drained it. So I prepared a new bucket of syrup and we took it down to Apiary 2. Sure enough, the bees had finished the first bucket of syrup. My guess is that they will get through the new one in just a few days. The weather forecast for Sunday is looking better so we will do a full hive inspection then.

We didn't need official government agencies to tell us that the summer, which for statistical purposes ends today, was the wettest for one hundred years. Nevertheless, we were told the news yesterday that we already knew. The rotten weather has sent a cold chill through food production. We have felt it first hand. No honey crop so far and my hopes of getting even a small one within the next few weeks are fading fast. No apple crop. No sloes. Root crops are poor. Bizarrely the runner beans are doing very well.

The blackberries are late this year. Yesterday I went on a blackberry forage, hoping to gather enough to make some blackberry jam. I managed to pick enough to make a pie. The jam is on hold until more blackberries have ripened.

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