I recently bumped into a former colleague who enjoys the hobby of beekeeping.
When he was fairly new to this I remember him recounting one bee-laden journey to heather-rich pastures, and receiving some funny looks along the way. Little wonder, really, he was driving while fully attired in his beekeeper’s suit!
“A beekeeper’s year has many highlights,” Derek told me when I asked how his hobby was going, “but few can match late summer when the hives are taken up to the heather.
“The glens are blanketed in purple, and the bees seem to know this is their last chance to gather nectar for winter. They get busy in a way they haven’t been all summer, and woe betide any beekeeper who isn’t well protected by his suit.
“The journey is worth it, however, as the result is a rich, complex honey which many swear is the best in the world, and the wax is so thin that it can be eaten straight from the comb. Heaven!”
Sting In The Tale
While honey bees are usually well looked after by beekeepers, the bumblebee population sadly is struggling. However, we’ve got a fascinating feature coming up in the “Friend” (September 8 issue), which is all about how a farm in East Anglia is helping the humble bumblebee.
The sting in this particular tale – and I’m sure Derek won’t mind me sharing – is that his first jar of honey earned him second place in the Dundee Flower And Food Festival some years ago. Not bad, you would think, but his was the only entry!
I’m pleased to say he has honed his skills over the intervening years and his honey is now delicious.
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