This afternoon we harvested honey from our two hives and I felt, well, disappointed with the haul. We pulled in about 1.5 gallons of honey, probably less, which hardly compares to our 3.75 gallon harvest last year. I will weigh everything out later and share photos, but it felt like a great let down. When you wait all year for something your hopes tend to be high.
We bought this house because of the possibilities we envisioned accomplishing here. Dairy goats, rabbits, half a dozen beehives, chickens meandering about, a cart donkey, turkeys in the summer and a pair of bacon-on-legs in the winter, a fodder shed and aquaponics, a grand garden and fruit orchard. These are our beautiful dreams. They will all become reality, but once I saw the poor honey haul come out of the hive super, I felt a stab of pain. As if some of those dreams faded just a bit.
This must be the first-year blues. We are actually in our fourth year (?) or fifth year (??), I’ve lost count, but we are essentially starting our farm all over again from scratch. Very few of our original systems were transferable to our new farm. New sheds and animal shacks needed to be built on top of fixing up the house and painting. When buying a house, some things take priority and I understand that. I just thought we would be further along by now.
Everyone seems to be in a drought. Freyja only produces a quart of milk a day rather than 2-4 quarts (my fault for not doing an AM and PM milking from the moment I weaned the bucklings). Our chickens have been molting and so have not laid eggs in almost two months. The rabbits have failed to breed on the last two tries and so I have not had a litter since January. And now from the two beehives we have, only one hive produced a harvestable amount of honey. We will even have to supplement feed this winter which we have not done since establishing the hives in the first place.
The only word I can come up with is disappointment. I should be thankful, I should, and I am for the most part, but when I look out on the dry, barren land, it leaves me sullen and somber. It has been six months. Sometimes I think we should be in full operation by now, but then Trevor reminds me that we haven’t seen a full cycle here yet. It will happen, I’m sure it will. Perhaps when the summer sun cools a bit and the season drifts into autumn. Then I can dig holes for the garden and save up some water, the rabbits will appreciate cooler weather and will give me many babies, Freyja will be re-bred and I can use my new milking knowledge for good.
I feel like I am running behind and I can only hope that the end of summer will help me find a rhythm here on the new farm, here in Mountain Ranch, my new home.