Thursday, 3 July 2014

the bee's knees

every year we hire millions of extraordinary workers…bees!
they work in our orchards and the credit river valley gathering nectar and pollinating the fruit trees. 

                                                                              our farmer friend david bianchi took this amazing photo

meet miro, our dear friend who has been tending bees on the farm for over 20 years.

besides his two beautiful daughters who we have watched grow up, 
he cares for many little ones he affectionately calls his babies.

they are adopted from new zealand. 

the number of hives has fluctuated over the years.
this last winter was very harsh and sadly he lost a few. 
currently there are 6 healthy hives with about a half a million bees in each. 
yes… that is 3 million happy bees!

in the past we have also rented bees from another beekeeper during blossom. 
it does sound strange but they help to ensure a good healthy crop of apples and pears.

one year, while we were in the orchard taking family photos, our spencer got stung. 
a few other angry bees began chasing us. this was most unusual and disconcerting!
we later discovered that the rented bees’ hives had been taken away a little too early the previous evening, 
before all the bees had returned. the remaining bees were upset and presumed that we had stolen their home.
(our family photo that year was taken in the hay bales.)

 we  have witnessed swarms in many junes and julys.
the left photo is of a trap that successfully attracted a swarm in our pear orchard.
it contained a special pheromone that the bees were drawn to.

miro had a hive waiting for them! 

 another evening  he carried a swarm to their new home...

the bees were gently shaken and swept off the trap, then poured in front of the entrance. home sweet home!

 surprisingly, the bees are extremely calm when in a swarm!

their remarkable, busy work also supplies us with outstanding honey,
 sought after by many guests, friends and family. 
it is of course limited so we have to remember to put some aside for ourselves and special gifts. 

i love collecting old honey tins…
the fonts and colour combinations are adorable!

we make a point of buying honey when we travel. it’s a sweet souvenir!
there is such an enormous diversity in flavours.
the different flowers from where the bees collect their nectar 
impart a delicate, distinctive taste to the honey.
 besides ours, my favourite is chestnut honey from italy. delizioso!
did you know that honey is the only food that never perishes?

  learning about the lives of bees continues to fascinate me. 
 it has been such a pleasure to have miro 
and his babies on the farm!

sweet hugs,

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