The Filberts Archives

Beekeeping, gardening and other musings.

Winter Tea

Time to look after yourself with some Winter Tea - best made in a teapot, but if you haven't one to hand, make it in a jug covered with a small plate to keep the tea warm while it brews. Warm the pot or jug first, then add the Juice of one lemon, some grated or sliced...

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Athelhampton House Christmas Fair

Getting ready for the Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair - Dorset honey, beeswax candles, gifts for gardeners, "thank you" gifts for teachers, craft kits, balms and salve to protect against the winter weather ... come and join us.

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Winter Skin Protection

In true rural Dorset fashion, we tend to use whatever’s at hand when we need a bit of skin protection. Mark's been applying Natural Beeswax Polish (we call it NBP), which rapidly did the trick in healing up sores on his gnarled hands - the result of working our C17th...

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Surviving Apple Harvest

We’re about to start in the orchard on the last job of the year.  The bees are all fed and sorted for winter, so we turn our efforts to harvesting the cider apples.  Before we can get going, the barns have to be cleared and cleaned, the harvesting equipment repaired...

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Art at Filberts Barn

Our resident artist Suzy Moger is once again bringing her paintings to Filberts Barn in Uploders. Dorset Arts Weeks span the last week of May and into the beginning of June and offer a great way to see Dorset and meet some interesting creative folk along the way. This year’s event is from 26th May to 10th June.

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Barnes Night

Dorset poet William Barnes (1801-1886) is celebrated annually by a bunch of local enthusiasts. Held in a cider shed in the depths of West Dorset a group of idiosyncratic Westcountry folk spend an evening of music, food, cider, songs and poetry. The words of Barnes’ poetry is recited in the Dorset dialect of his era. Have a look of this little video of Mark doing his best wurzel…

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Twinways Wassail!

A peculiar orchard tradition with its routes in paganism comes alive each year at Twinways Orchard; we invited cider and orchard lovers to help us ward off evil spirits and to shore up our chances of a good apple yield later in the year.

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Making a linocut for our new greetings cards

Read how Suzy Moger, local painter and printmaker, designed the new Filberts Lino Print Greetings Card. From initial sketches, to carving the lino, and printing the final piece, here's Suzy's story of how it was made. We decided that a linocut would be a great place...

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In the production barn today

This morning we made a batch of Lemon and Geranium Body Butter. As we are heading into Autumn and the weather cools I find my skin is drier and in need of a little extra care, so I’ve started using a little body butter on my face (when it's still damp) as a soothing...

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Making Muscle Rub

We've been making muscle rub today and one of the essential oils in the recipe is Yarrow (achillea millefolium) which is a gorgeous deep blue colour, because its composition is up to 51% azulene. Richard Mabey in The Complete New Herbal writes: "Its Latin name is...

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Late Summer Flowers

The cold spell in June meant that summer flowers are a bit later this season – it’s September but the bees are still feeding on golden rod and myrtle, usually finished by the end of August in Dorset. Michaelmas daisy is late, but that means there is still something to...

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Gathering Pollen

The bees are gathering pollen, most likely from willow or thorn trees in the cider orchard.  The pollen is their protein source and it is stored in the frames alongside the honey. It is found in the brood nest, in an arc over the top of the brood frames. [starbox...

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Making Beeswax Bars & Queens

Yesterday I made about 500 beeswax bars and queens by melting and filtering raw beeswax - the bars sold really well last year with so much crafting going on. The queens were popular when we tried them at a show and have gone down well since we started packing them in...

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Bee Feeding, Harvesting & Pressing

The weather remained reasonable this year, hive populations stayed high late into the season and so with plenty of late forage available the bees were fed a little later, finally being completed in late September/early October. Although there are many schools of...

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Apple cake and institutions

Cooking apples have been falling for a few weeks now, helped first by sheep rubbing against the trees, later by little bouts of windy, rainy weather. I usually turn to mum's Dorset WI cookbook from the 70s at some point in the apple cake season. She made apple cakes...

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Swarms and splits

Nearly all the colonies have been split now.  Some of the new queens from this exercise will create more colonies for increase and some will replace the old queen and make larger stronger colonies for foraging once re-united.  Splitting involves opening a hive,...

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A day in the life of a beekeeper

I’m sat within while it rains outside.  My swede aches from too much sun yesterday and a sixteen hour day trying to cram in a fungicide spray around pollination so as not to disturb the bees while they work in the sunshine.  Our new accommodation is taking shape...

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