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It's been a week of processing the harvest and starting to get the bees ready for winter.
Over the last few weeks I have been drying various bits and bobs around the place. This week I have been putting these down for the months ahead.
Here is one corner of my kitchen. ready for sorting. The buckets are full of honey, which are here to keep at a warm temperature to enable us to pour easily into jars, when we get time. Elsewhere in the kitchen there are baskets of onions, chillis, more herbs and hops and winter squashes and buckets of apples to sort.
It has been a good nut year and I have been looking into what I can do with them apart from shelling and drying them and putting them away for baking. So how's about this for an idea?....toasted cobnuts in honey. Bob, one of the Shared Lives guys has been helping me shell the nuts, which has been great as it can be a bit of a strain on the old arthritic hands. Surely there is a better way of shelling nuts than the old nut crackers?
Here are three jars that I think might do for Christmas presents. Sorry about using the "C" word, but today is the 1st October and if you make your own presents it is time to get started.
This week we have started to go through each bee hive to put in the Antisan strips. These are strips of plastic that are infused with a chemical that kills the Varroa mite that has been wiping out colonies world wide. The strips are hung between the frames and left for 6 to 8 weeks before removal. As you may know we do not use chemicals here on our smallholding, but we do have a duty to do everything for the bees, who battle so many demons over recent years. Until a non-chemical Anti-Varroa treatment is found we will use this one. We are a little late doing so and have to hope for a warm interlude when the strips need to be removed, so as not to chill the bees.
When we took off the honey a few weeks ago we returned the spun supers for them to clean up on each hive. Whilst going through the hives and removing the cleaned supers we have found that a couple actually have stores of honey over and above those we leave for the bees for through the winter. So we have an some unexpected extra honey!
I have put morning aside to sort the apples before the next lot become ready. There are quite a few that are bruised or wormy, The cookers I shall peel and freeze and the wormy and bruised eaters I will probably give to the chickens and rabbits, who LOVE them. The perfect apples I shall wrap in paper and put in trays. I will also put a few in polybags in the bottom of the fridge for the next few weeks. The apples are - Eaters - George Cave and Sunset. Cookers - Grenadier(not a good keeper) Gilly's Pippin (named after me by my husband ) and some early Bramleys.
Still to come are eaters, Jonagold, Braeburn and Russet and the main Bramley crop.
Off to get ready for an Appley Morning