Fellow beekeeper Steven McNair visits Olly’s Farm

honey
Fellow beekeeper Steven McNair from Illinois in the US visited Olly’s Farm recently. Stephen keeps bees and produces beautiful honey in a few bee yards in Illinois. He also runs a charity Salem4Youth where himself and his wife use beekeeping to help young men that are going through a rough time. Its always fascinating to talk and learn how other people do things. As a beekeeper you never ever know everything. Its a craft that takes a lifetime to master, so meeting others is always a pleasure.

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Honey wins Gold at Blás na hEireann

Honey

Still can’t believe my heather honey wins gold at Blás na hEireann 2017.

Back in March I entered two of my raw Irish honey into the Blás na hEireann Irish Food Awards. My heather honey off the Dublin Mountains and my Glenasmole Softset from the bees here on the farm.

Here is how the heather honey is prepared Preparing Heather Honey

It wasn’t until I was about to give a talk on bees, beekeeping and honey from a smallholders perspective. After being invited to attend the smallholders gathering at Taste of Cavan. I was literally being given the mic when I got the email telling me that both my honeys had made it through to the final seven. It took several attempts reading that email to make sure what I was reading was true.

Now I had to start preparing for making a trip down to Dingle at the end of September to the finals Continue reading

Heather honey winning Gold at Blás na hEireann 2017

Still can’t believe my heather honey winning gold at Blás na hEireann 2017.

Back in March I entered two of my honeys into the Blás na hEireann Irish Food Awards. My heather honey off the Dublin Mountains and my Glenasmole Softset from the bees here on the farm.

It wasn’t until I was about to give a talk on bees, beekeeping and honey from a smallholders perspective. I was at the smallholders gathering at Taste of Cavan that I received an email. I was literally being given the mic when I got the email telling me that both my honeys had made it through to the final seven. That email was read about 20 times to make sure what I was reading was true.

Now I had to start preparing for making a trip down to Dingle at the end of September to the finals Continue reading

Irish Bresaola Charcuterie

Irish Bresaola Charcuterie

Tried my first attempt at making some Irish bresaola charcuterie and what is this I hear you ask? It’s a cured meat that’s served thinly sliced along with salads or a cheese board. Bresaola is an unusual one as it requires both a dry and wet cure. It’s really a simple recipe to try. Once its cured it can be left hanging in the kitchen for a month or two to mature and then used as required.

Using a recipe from the fantastic Steven Lambs book The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook . Its possible to tinker Continue reading

International Honey Customer

Olly's Farm

How cool is this! I got this great picture yesterday from Stuart Trafford, a new international honey customer in London showing how far my honey is travelling around the world  🙂 

Here are two jars of my honey in front of Tower Bridge in London.

International Honey Customer

Where are they going to pop up next?

Cooking on the new stove

cooking

Cooking on the new stove is amazing, we can start off a pot roast for example on the cooker then leave it sitting on top of the stove bubbling away slowly all day.

Since we moved in we have spent all our time and effort setting up the smallholding, knowing that everything we done inside the house was pointless as we needed to completely renovate the house. There was one exception, the heating! We took my old log burning stove with back boiler with us and plugged it into the existing heating system but it was only 21.7KW and totally not sufficient to heat the house. It’s rated for 6-8 radiators & domestic hot water and couldnt manage the 36 radiators Continue reading

New Seed Propagator

New Seed Propagator

Every year I have the same problem with trying to germinate seed so this was the year I built a new seed propagator. It’s been long overdue! Usually I sow the seed and it germinates very poorly die to too much of a variation of temperature. Continue reading

Homemade butter making

Homemade butter

Last year while milking our cow I collected some cream off the top of some of the milk with the intention of making some homemade butter . I put it into containers and into the freezer, waiting until I had enough collected to match a batch. Unfortunately I forgot all about it in the bottom of the deep freezer.

A couple of weeks ago I took 4.5lts out and decided to give it a go. Continue reading

Heather honey pressing last November

This is a blog post on how I pressed the heather honey last November. The honey was collected by the bees up on the feather bed in the Dublin Mountains. Most of the frames that I gave to the bees to fill used a little starter strip which is basically a small strip of beeswax to help them to get started on the frame. I also used some frames will full sheets of foundation in between to help keep them building the comb nice and even between the frames. Continue reading