Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eating lots of Honey and our Words

Twenty hives, eh.

Oh yes, we're eating our words now... with spoonfuls of honey of course.

You see, last summer the weather was horrible. The bees worked their butts off like usual but it just rained and rained. When it didn't rain, it was cold and cloudy. The result was the poorest honey harvest in Ontario--ever.

That was our inaugural year and it was pretty easy going from our end. The hives built their numbers slowly. The honey harvest was very modest. Overall it wasn't too much work for Dad and I.

That's what got us into trouble.
We thought this year would be easy too. We talked about increasing to a bee yard of twenty hives. We figured we could manage that many.

In the spring of 2010 we bought two nucs which increased our bee yard to four hives.

Spring came quickly with hot weather and loads of sunshine. The bees loved it and they built up their numbers rapidly. The weather held too and didn't get cold again. The hives grew and grew in number.

They were bringing in tons of honey... and they were running out of room.

I was expecting a slow start like last year. I wasn't ready. I didn't have enough honey supers (no $$ saved to buy them). Then I had to nail them together and paint them.
All summer long I was painting honey supers. It seemed I was buying supers every week.

All my jeans got paint on them. Everyone knew what colours my hives were by looking at my jeans.
Even the beekeeping suppliers ran out of supers and there was one week when the honey was overflowing and I had no supers to give them.
When I did get them, they never got painted but instead were put on the hives straight away.
While we were brushing bees and stacking supers and extracting honey for hours and hours Dad said, "Are you sure you want twenty hives?"

"No," I said. "Right now we can't keep up with four."

The running joke in our family is to ask if we think we can manage twenty hives.
No, four hives is a nice number, one for each corner.
And lots of honey to spare.

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