As I rode my bicycle to work along the Galloping Goose trail the other morning, a flock of geese made their way across Gayley farms honking to each to other, follow me, follow me. It’s fall and the geese are looking for forage. In the evening of the same day, five bucks gathered on my neighbour’s lawn and eyed me and Roger the dog, as we stepped carefully around them. Five points, three points and a couple of young ones just sprouting their first antlers checked and re-checked our progress as we walked by. They have taken to standing on their hind legs to pull leaves from the trees and munch the fallen apples in our driveway. All the wildlife is looking for forage in last days of this extremely dry August.
The wasps are foraging around my hives, searching for protein and swarming over straggling bees. My wasp trap filled with water packed salmon in a light tomato sauce seemed to work whereas the roasted chicken bits that followed did not tempt their pallets. The frames of completed comb have been removed and the remaining frames will make up winter feed for the bees. Their might be a week left of fireweed up at the outyard and then the hives are going to have to come home to Victoria. For those lucky enough to be near golden rod, there is still forage to be found.
September is fall fair time and I hope your best honey is making its way to the judging table in Saanich, Sooke and Luxton. Our meeting will celebrate the winners and also envy those who pulled in bumper crops of honey this year. The BC mainland may have suffered due to smoke and fire but the southern tip of Vancouver Island has resulted in well placed hives pulling 250lb each. That’s a lot of honey!
We will also be talking about preparations for winterizing hives and the expectation that after a long hot dry summer and fall we can expect a long wet winter. There will be a run on jars to bottle all that honey and there is a very keen market looking for the golden nectar showcasing our local terroir. Werner has asked you to add your name to the list of club suppliers so you can be connected with retailers looking for your product. We are purchasing another honey extractor because of the demand.
We will also use the September meeting to identify our local sub-groups and get those links established now so that friendship, shared ideas and support can augment mentors in our community in the coming year.
I am looking forward to fall and yet I will miss the drive up to China Beach and the outyard. I’ll miss the black bear we seem to glimpse each year and the solitary cougar that crossed our path early one morning. See you in September.