Taking Tom's encouraging comment in the last post and the fact the weather suddenly cleared, I went for it and got the supers off the hives. The Porter bees escapes worked. This year I had made sure they were properly primed and very few bees were within the supers. An in and out operation with the bees only belatedly realising all their honey stores had gone.
The great thing about having bees is that every year is different. You think you know what to expect, but there is always a different amount, a different combination of flowers and different problems to solve. This year proved no expectation -- I knew there had been oil seed rape around, but it has not been a problem in previous years. Oil seed rape gives lots of honey BUT it crystallizes really quickly. And when I took the supers off and started to spin, it was obvious that a huge amount of oilseed rape had been collected, most of eaten during the long weeks of rain with a few remaining bits of capped crystallized honey on the top supers.
Most of the harvest was the usual rosebay willow herb, lovely runny honey with a little bit of heather. Other than 2001, we have not had a great deal of heather.
Anyway, honey fresh from the comb is the best sort of honey. I love watching the rich golden liquid as it drains from the spinner into the filtering tank and then finally into bottles.
I always do feel a connection with the seasons and the past as I do this. It does not matter than movable frames are a 19th century invention, it is just lovely to think about how important honey has been through the ages.
It looks to be an average harvest -- 40 - 60 lbs when all is said and done.
And then there will be the candles to make...