Our first year of beekeeping was magical! We knew for a while that it was something we wanted to get into. Alongside the obligatory chickens when moving to the countryside, beekeeping seemed like the next natural progression in our smallholding journey. A few years back Andrew bought me an online beekeeping course for my birthday, and my brother some essential beekeeping accessories. I had a suit and even a hive, but it would be a few years down the line until we were ready for actual bees. Every year, as Spring rolled in, I would dream that this would be the year, and last year we finally made it happen.
I went to a talk in the Spring given by local beekeepers and was inspired. Then very quickly things just seemed to fall into place. I finally did that online course, and we finally built our beehive that had been sat flatpacked in a box for far too long. I made a phonecall (in French) to one of the speakers at the talk and he came to help me position my hive and talked about how I might be able to aquire some bees. In the end it was Andrew who found someone not too far away who was giving up beekeeping and selling all his hives and equipment. So one early morning Andrew went with his van to carefully pick up a full hive of bees! They had all been locked up the night before and were safely transported to a corner of one of our fields before being let out to discover their new surroundings (stinging Andrew in the process as they obviously weren't too happy about being moved!)
I'm excited to share our beekeeping journey with you because so far it has been fascinating and rewarding. I'll take you through what we have, what equipment we've found useful, how we've been learning about what to do, and of course our very first honey harvest.
Right now all is quiet. It's Winter and so our bees are hibernating, waiting for the first warm days of Spring when they can stretch their wings and fly out once more to discover the delights of their local surroundings.
We'd love to connect with you if you're a fellow beekeeper. Send us your tips and tricks. Let us know if there are any good books to read or videos to watch. Tell us your stories as I feel like this will be a journey of lifelong learning that we hope you'll enjoy reading about.