Fringe Box



Beekeeper’s Notes: The Honey Keeps On Coming and Mysteriously, I’m Wearing Hats

Published on: 1 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 30 Jun, 2023

Hugh Coakley keeps bees in Worplesdon

It is the time of year when the kitchen is turned upside down for a couple of days as the spring honey is extracted.

Bees bring in honey throughout the year. Low points are in the depth of winter when there is little forage but there is generally something, somewhere for the bees.

Honey extraction days in the kitchen. There is about 20 lbs in each of the boxes. Extracting and bottling the honey takes at least a day to do.

The dreaded himalayan balsam in late summer, loved by bees but hated by ecologists as it out-competes the native riverside plants, or ivy in the winter or the huge variety of garden plants keeps urban or suburban bees sniffing around.

There are two main periods of nectar abundance, and therefore, honey flows in the UK beekeeping season; spring and summer.

The summer flow usually starts when brambles start to flower.

Looking back over my honey records, I find I extracted the spring honey around mid May to mid June. The more prolific summer honey is late July or August. We are coming up to the second extraction soon.

Another mystery. I find I’m now wearing hats.

I don’t know when it happened but I now even have hats for the garden and hats for best.

It’s definitely an age thing, but when did it creep in? I rarely wore hats when I was younger.

I suppose I’m more conscious of liking the warmth, comfort or shade depending on the season, but also being less self-conscious about appearance is part of it. I have never been particularly fussy about how I looked but I’m even less fussy now. That helps.

I have a style adviser, my better half, who keeps me from the ridiculous, stopping extremes like furry hats with earflaps or a sombrero with a definite: “You’re not going out in that”.

The choice, once domestic consultation rules out certain options, is down to practical criteria for choosing the headgear.

I saw my dad going through the hat transition, experimenting with floppy hats, flatcaps and so on.

It’s me now.

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