Thursday, December 25, 2014
Happy Honey Christmas!!!
Well now that the rush, rush, rush is done Christmas day has settled in to being a pretty wonderful holiday. This year I managed to produce enough honey to not only supply my limited local clientele and support the local farmer's market (which is pretty high on my priority list) but also branched out and filled an order for an organic store in a nearby city and gave each and every family member a gift basket that included a pint of honey in it for Christmas.
After my 2012 - 2013 losses we came into 2014 with only four hives more than a year old and by September that had increased to nine. If everyone survives Winter, minus the one late season loss, I should start the 2015 season with ten producing hives. I know don't count your chickens and all that but if I can start off with ten producing hives I should be able to finally start regaining some of the horrific 2012 drought losses permanently and perhaps really put the growth meter to the test.
My original long term goal should have me looking at 20 producers coming into 2015 truth be told. While 2013 was a reasonably good year for production and swarm catching it takes a year or more for a hive to build up to production levels using my system and the drought of 2012 almost totally wiped me out. I had three hives at the end of that Winter and started with 15. This year was great for honey but a pretty poor swarm year for me so that also set me back a bit.
Still for the first time since I started this long term project I was able to finally give everyone who has been asking at least some honey and didn't have to really pick and choose.
It has always been my goal to not simply keep bees but to build a sustainable bee and honey producing system. One that is not dependent on outside influences or resources other than equipment I could produce myself in a collapse situation. Another words no ordering bees that I rob and basically kill off each year and keeping them strong enough that the use of medications and such is not needed. What I discovered is that such a system so far is possible but the returns on your investment come back in years or even decades instead of a few months. It takes a LOT of time and natural calamities can really set you back.
This morning the sun was shining for a change and the forecast is predicting a high in the 50's. I plan on walking down and watching the girls get out a bit and enjoy the fact that this Christmas we were able to make everyone happy with presents of honey on top of the normal gifts.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!