Last evening was quite cold and we are starting the winter-prep. Securing Hives, winding down the winter feeding, putting mouse guards on and working out how I will keep the moisture down over the winter. There seems to be all manner of product available to do this, but I think I have worked out that I will use the Vivaldi Boards that I made earlier and modify them to hold straw, which will both insulate, but more importantly wick away moisture over the winter. A much more economical solution that commercial moisture quilts which run about 15$ each. As I meet and work with more experienced beekeepers (Thanks Joe and Perry) around the province I am learning that making your equipment economical is very important. Just lumber costs alone can eat up revenue pretty quickly. Though at the same time we are also focused on quality, not quantity. Anyone can take random honey from hives all over, mix it, pasteurize it and sell it in the store. For us that it not the objective. Local honey for one is of far better quality. I tend to believe that a lot of this is because of scale. A very large honey producer doesn’t take care with their bees, or the quality of their forage. When things turn bad with a pest or a disease, they look at the numbers on the spreadsheet and tend to out of short-term needs, using synthetics, antibiotics etc. We think happy and healthy bees make better honey.
Rather unrelated to honey, I was lucky enough to have a visit from me ma (Mom Ames) this month, and she brought with her a wealth of historical knowledge of the family and the farm as well as a few pictures.