Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Day With No Rain

It finally stopped raining long enough yesterday to get some things done around here. I got the barn mucked out (again), the garden picked, the honey harvested, and made some pickle relish.

The tomatoes are going to be a bust this year. The plants are so diseased from all this wet weather and the fruits are split and a bit watery from too much rain and not enough sun. I put in 4 roma plants, since those are the ones I most like to can, and I was sold imposters. I am so mad. Romas are determinate plants. What I got are indeterminate plants that are growing oblong shaped fruit like a large cherry tomato. They are not large enough to can and the plants are most diseased than any of my other plants. I hope I can find some romas this week.

I was able to check on the bees on Saturday. I was so worried after finding all those dead baby bees. It looks like they swarmed but they appear to have raised a new queen. I knew they were getting tight on brood space, but I'd been holding off on splitting or adding a brood box until they filled up this honey super! The weather didn't cooperate. They couldn't get out to forage to make more honey, but continued to outgrow their digs. So I now have half the bees, but at least they're alive. I only harvested about 1.5-2 gal honey. Not nearly what I'd hoped for, but I didn't want to lose it.

After all the hard work yesterday, I opened a bottle of mead I made last summer. It was excellent! I am excited to make a larger batch but am hesitant to use all my honey.

This is the recipe for 1 gallon. It may sound like mysterious stuff, but it's all available at your local brew store.

  • 2.5 lb honey
  • 7 pts water
  • 4 tsp acid blend
  • 1/4 tsp tannin
  • 3/4 tsp yeast energizer
  • 1 campden crushed
  • 1 pkg wine yeast (I use champagne)
In primary fermentor, dissolve honey in 1/2 gal warm water and add tannin. Add all other ingredients except yeast.  Cover. After 24 hours, add yeast and attach air lock. Stir daily and check specific gravity (SG). When SG reaches 1.030 (5-6 days) rack into secondary fermentor and attach airlock. When fermentation is complete (SG has dropped to 1.000- about 3 weeks), rack to clean secondary and reattach airlock. To air clarifying, rack off sediment in about 2 months. Bottle when clear and allow to age in bottle 6-12 months before drinking.


  1. Kristin, I am SO glad you had a good day. You sure did need it. I got mine today. Got to mow!

    So, I have been worried about my bees too. Since we've had nothing but rain and cool temps for a week, I had not seen many bees. I could hear them inside the hive though. And I smell honey really good. So today, with the sun out, the bees are all out and buzzing around. I need to go to Lafayette to the bee store tomorrow and get another super with frames. I think. Don't you have to put new frames in when you take honey filled frames out? I so wish you were closer to come look at mine. I can't seem to get any help here at all. I am so afraid I'll do something to mess them all up.

    1. It might be the blind leading the blind. I'm still learning too. Do you only have one honey super on? I don't think I'd give them another super in the time it takes you to extract one. You want to be able to put the frames you just extracted back in for them to clean up.

      I had 2 supers on mine and only one full so I left the half empty. I put the one I extracted back on for them to clean up, but only want to leave one honey super for the winter. If the weather cooperates, I'll get up there and remove the super I had them clean up before they start storing in it again.

      BTW, I only put 8 frames in my 10-frame honey boxes. That forces the bees to pull the wax out farther and makes extracting easier.