The saga continues with bees and honey. It is as well to remember that honey from the oilseed rape needs to be extracted before it sets in the comb. That means keeping a close eye on it and removing the frames before they are capped, that is, before the bees have sealed the cells with wax. The test is to give a frame a gentle shake and if the honey remains in the cells it is ready for extraction. Too early and the honey ferments, too late and you will have to cut out the comb and warm it gently in an appropriate container until the wax rises and the honey remains beneath it. When cool again the wax sets into a block and can be removed and at last you can get at the honey. It sounds messy and it is and obviously makes more work for the beekeeper and also for the bees who then have to build more comb onto the foundation (thin sheets of wax imprinted with shape of comb and attached to the frames).
Unfortunately, we were really busy last week and although we achieved a timely extraction we were unable to run off the honey into jars immediately. The result was that the honey started to granulate in the ripener and we now have to warm it slightly to make it runny again in order to fill the jars. Oh well, they say you learn by your mistakes so that is one we will not make again.
Some really good news for Epperstone this week – The Cross Keys pub, which has been closed since the autumn, is to re-open shortly with new tenants. Contractors are scheduled to start on June 8th to carry out some work with a view to opening early in July. In the meantime Des and Trish have been beavering away clearing and planting up the garden and outdoor seating areas until such time as they can open the doors for business. Although there is no shortage of excellent hostelries in the area a village without a pub does seem somewhat lacking. The Cross Keys, being in the centre of the village, was much missed during its closure so we are looking forward to seeing it up and running once again.
The next item on the village agenda is the Open Garden Festival, taking place on Sunday,
June 14th. In addition to the many gardens which will be open for visiting there will be a number of stalls, cream teas, Granny’s Attic, a fun Family Dog Show, the inevitable raffle and, new this year, an exhibition of paintings by local artists. Definitely an occasion not to be missed.