16 August 2013

Combining colonies

On last inspection I realised that one of my colonies wasn't going anywhere useful. This is the one that had a drone laying queen, and had made both what appeared to be a queen cell and an elongated 'drone queen' cell. I couldn't see any eggs or larvae, so there was no active queen and, fortunately, no laying workers either. A test frame from another colony had shown they were eager to produce a new queen - but it's getting a bit late in the late in the year, and it would be mid-September before the colony had its' own foragers.

The brood box was also top-heavy with drones which were clambering over each other on all surfaces, so much so that I suspected that this hive was attracting all local drones that had been evicted from their home colonies. (I've read that this can happen, but have never before seen evidence for myself.)

There were three things I could do:

13 August 2013

Blackcurrant and Honey Jam

I tasted some Blackcurrant and Honey Jam, having ambushed a Class winner after a recent Honey Show. It had the usual slightly tart flavour of blackcurrants with an added, but quite subtle, aftertaste of good quality, strong, honey. It was absolutely delicious.

As there was a decent crop of blackcurrants this year, more than needed to add flavour to basic apple pies, I decided to make some of this jam myself.

The recipe I used isn't quite the same as the one I was given, because when I checked online there were several versions, each with a different ration of fruit:sugar:water. I decided to keep to the ratios I've always used for blackcurrant jam.