Three photos taken today whilst Mrs S was collecting sloes for her gin. Normally sloshes it back with the merest hint of tonic, but she wants to make some Christmas presents. Bottle of Sloe Gin, Jar of Honey, pound of plum jam - what's not to like?
The first is of a bee with a lorra lorra pollen. Note the two big arange stripes on the abdomen - I think that makes her an italian strain. Well, she was flapping her wings a lot and nipping from flower to flower, so I think that must be right.
The second is a rather venerable old worker - she has lost most of her hair. Her black abdomen marks her out as an English strain. She worked the same flower head for about five minutes with infinite patience.
Third one has rather odd markings - the orange band doesn't go right across.
If you have a chance, go an sniff some ivy flowers. You'll be surprised by the rank smell - a bit like a wet bed full of bedbugs (older readers only perhaps). That's what the honey smells like.
My new friends C and L gave me a pot of ivy honey and I made some experimental flapjack for sale at the honey show last week (sorry no photos - I was in the catering tent all day). I thought the flapjack was disgusting, but it all sold, even with a health warning.
And I sold four jars of honey (half-pounders) at £3 a pop. Can't be bad.