R&B – Lacey Green Honey – A Photo Story

Words and photos by Barry Chignell, R&B Honey

Lacey Green is perfect for beekeeping – with clean air and an abundance of open spaces filled with a wide variety of wild flowers and fauna. I’ve always been interested in beekeeping but never had the time or space to keep any hives. After a number of long conversations over a pint and lots of research, my neighbour Rob and I decided to invest in two hives. This was in May this year. Our initial plan was the carry on researching apiculture before sourcing our first swarm of bees. This didn’t go quite as expected as very shortly after purchasing the hives we were offered our first swarm which had been rescued from a nearby garden.

Since then we have watched this swarm grow significantly and a second swarm take up residence in the second hive. We check the hives and bees to ensure they’re in good shape and free of disease and also that the bees have enough food.

After only 3 months (and 3 stings!) we’ve been able to extract enough honey to fill over 30 jars. This came as a great surprise as we’re only expecting enough honey to fill about 6 jars! All the honey has already been snapped up!

Our plan is to purchase more hives and source land to place them on. With such lovely countryside surrounding Lacey Green it shouldn’t be a problem to find willing volunteers to allow us to use their land for our hives. In return they get their gardens pollinated and some free honey! Hopefully next year we’ll have much more honey. It is our hope the we’ll be able to sell it through local outlets and already have offers from some which is great!

The whole beekeeping process has been captivating and fascinating. Learning how the bees behave, what to watch for and how to end up with jars of pure honey has been very rewarding.

‘Hives’ – Our hives are currently located in Lacey Green. We will soon be expanding and adding locations throughout the Chiltern Hills. This is largely due to the generosity of local farmers and land owners!

‘Rob’ – Ready and able to collect the honey from the hives. We have a theory that the camouflaged suit does actually work at reducing the attention we get from the bees. The unlucky one of us who has to wear the white suit usually bears the brunt of their irritation!
‘Checking Bees’ – We regularly check our bees to ensure that they’re all healthy and doing well. We’ve both been stung but I’m currently ‘winning’ with 3 stings, one through the tongue of my shoe!
‘Barry’ – Scraping the honey off of the ‘supers’ ready for filtering. We were so surprosed and the quantity of honey on each super! Shortly after this we had a cheeky taste. SO GOOD!
‘Honey Unfiltered’ – Fresh from the hive. Ready to be triple filtered via a two stage sieve and muslin! It’s great to watch the purity of the honey improve through each stage of filtering. From the unrefined to the perfectly clear!
‘Honey’ – Once filtered we’re ready to start the process of pouring the honey into Jars! We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of honey our bees had managed to produce in the short time we have had them, over 30 jars!
‘Labeling’ – An oddly pleasing process. We spent some time testing different styles of labels and we still may change them for next years harvest.
‘Honey Pouring’ – Finally getting that lovely honey into the jars. Our honey is very light and floral. Our hives are surrounded by wild flowers and brambles.
‘Honey Jars’ – The finished product! We sold out in less than 24 hours and have reservations for next years honey already.

 

Find out more about R&B Honey here: http://rb-honey.com/; or follow them here: https://twitter.com/RandBHoney

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