Posts Tagged ‘honey harvest’

Meredith finished the final honey bottling of the year yesterday.


Her bees have performed miracles. Alice, our generous neighbour’s harvests haven’t yielded anything like the amount Meredith’s single hive has produced. We’re convinced it’s because Meredith serenades them with earth songs from Findhorn and hits from Broadway musicals at the end of the garden. Alice doesn’t buy it.


Whatever it takes we say–those workaholic bees need a bit of light relief.

The large white tub that had held the modest yield was empty but very sticky.

I put it outside on the wall, opposite the back door, this warm and sunny morning.

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw the next time I looked.


The bees were cleaning-up…


And how, you might say!


Remarkable–the work ethic of bees!


and then?–into the fields and back to work, I guess!

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The IntrepidsAlice Frezouls and Meredith Wheeler are ready to go to work again.


Fearless and determined–covered from head to toe in case the bees get too excited.


Meredith employs her favourite tactic–singing to them to calm and reassure them they’re in friendly hands.

(Alice is politely doubtful that this makes a ha’peth of difference.)

I am reluctantly persuaded to accept the offer of protective clothing for my job as cameraman.


Subject not sure he wouldn’t rather get stung!

I’m soon glad I did, as the guardian bees launch their attack.

The experts set to work–


Alice using the more traditional way of calming–a smoke gun! In it she burns her special brew: burlap (jute), dried herbs and grasses with a dash of lavender water. heady stuff!

and discover a hive of activity!


I join the bees and the experts in the tomato patch to record the first recolte (harvest) of honey this year.

We are not expecting much. It has been the worst year we can remember for the seasonal crops that keep the bees busy.

The sunflowers–usually approaching flowering time now, ready to show off their glory for the cameras covering the Tour de France–are in their infancy. Green shoots barely above the ground.

The Judas tree enjoyed a brief blossoming in April and the false Acacia. There was a buzzing overhead of happy workers happily employed.

Little since then.

Alice predicts there will be “treasure” in the hive, but how much?


She weighs and surveys the cadres (honeycombs) and predicts two to three kilos of honey–under the circumstances, “pas mal!


showing off some “treasure”

They even allow me to hold the trophy for a photo!


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We were as busy as our bees have been–yesterday.

Well Meredith and Alice were–my role was to snap the event as best I could, in the buzzing zone.

I did get to wear the same protective clothing this time.

It may look silly but it gets you to the coal face or rather the hive side.

Alice had promised to bring the costume for me, so there was no escape.

After enduring peels of unkind laughter from the two campaign veterans as I struggled–without breaking my  glasses–to pull the slightly-too-small hood over my head;

we all made our way to the hive at the end of the garden.

The bees were hard at it–an impressive sight–milling round the hive entrance, anxious to make their deliveries.

Bees just visible–top centre

The smoke gun was smoking and the two intrepids–brushes at the ready–were quickly at work.

The third intrepid–camera at the ready–found being in the danger zone quite exhilarating, now that the astronaut-like look gave him license to roam!

No need to swat or duck and dive this time, just smile benignly from the safe side of the veil.

Click-click-click-buzz-buzz-buzzzzzzzz-swooosh-swooosh-swooosh (smoke gun noise)–a hive of activity in fact!

“Rich pickins!”

Soon Alice and Meredith were taking the “rich pickins” off up the garden away from the aggrieved bees

and after de-robing themselves, to Alice’s work place chez elle, to scrape off the honey and admire the recolte (harvest).

Meredith came into the kitchen about an hour later a broad smile on her face saying:

Home is the hunter home from the sea and the bee-keeper home from the hive–

and carrying, with some effort, a large white tub containing seven and a half litres of honey!

And then there’s the matter of the three new chicks…

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