In November, running the farm can get a bit…uncomfortable.  Day after day of driving winter rain begins to tell on all of HDF’s animals.   Some simply opt out: the cat hits the brakes on the threshold the minute cat-inappropriate weather is revealed to her.  The dog comes out, but makes a beeline for the nearest shelter and limits his involvement to mute and distant supervision.  Even the horses come out of their stalls in the morning with a low-headed Here-We-Go-Again stiffness, blinking their eyes against the freezing droplets.  Hens and sheep sensibly remain huddled under their roofs and chat.

But November has its solaces.  This year, it sat upon a table, quietly holding summer inside.  And when it finally came time to loose that season, to filter it, pack it in jars for sale with a sticky label, it was a delight to all senses.  The honey harvest was actually quite small this year; we decided that the propagation of hives was our priority and split our two New Zealand bee packages into five over the course of a few weeks.  Now wintering with five well-populated hives with strong, young queens, we hope to quadruple the harvest next summer.   Nevertheless,  we managed to spin out several frames and leave a reasonable store of gold in the stainless steel honey tank for later processing.  Nothing turns back the seasonal dial so much as opening the top of that tank; the smell of flowers, propolis, sugar, nectar…it comes flooding in like the heat of late August.  And watching the molasses movement of the honey, a slow river into the jars,  a treacle waterfall.  This stuff will come in handy for the many cups of winter tea to come.

The sweet harvest of summer; we sold out of the honey as fast as we stacked it.

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