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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Getting back to normal, Bees, Halloumi

It was well after midday before we started getting back to normal at HHF. The previous day our northern friends returned and the four of us attended the funeral of a mutual friend. As previously mentioned housework is not the greatest priority for us. The short notice resulted in a 4am start  to prepare the house for visitors and ensure their overnight stay would be comfortable. A meal was partially pre-prepared as we assumed it would be a long day and we may not feel like cooking on such a sad occasion. It was amazing how much housework we completed in 4 hours.

The large church was packed as you would expect for a person who came from a big family and then there were the many friends and of course all teachers touch the lives of such a large number of students. Always sad to see the end of a life early and suddenly.

The four of us retreated to HHF and ate, drank and talked until late into the evening. Then spent the morning breakfasting and talking. We hadn't seen each other for more than 5 years and there was a lot of ground to cover. A warm farewell at 1pm and we went back to normality.

Normality involved robbing the hive. The girls had excelled themselves and not only filled every frame but were scratching around for space and started building comb in any free corner. Originally the plan was to take only 6 frames but the accelerated activity resulted in removing 8 frames. Two full frames left behind just in case. I processed 4 frames immediately and returned them to the hive so that the girls could start the clean up process.
Overloaded frames

The rarely used spinner needed a good clean

A full frame

We don't over filter. Just a simple sieve to keep out the worst of the chunks
Both of us were working in the cave. Jean churning cultured cream into butter. We thought we understood what causes the cream to turn. But not so. This batch took forever. Possibly because we didn't have time to churn earlier the cultured cream had been placed in the fridge after 24 hours for an extra couple of days before we finally had time to attend to it. 

In the kitchen there was a batch of haloumi being formed on the stove. After renneting, cutting and stirring the curds were draining on the sink and the whey was slowly coming to temperature for the final step. I ducked across the river to setup the irrigation for an overnight run leaving Jean to finish off.
Draining haloumi curds

And the finished product cooling before brining
After returning from setting up irrigation the last 4 frames were processed and being late the stickies were left for a morning insertion. The harvest was good with two stainless steel buckets well filled.
The capping's draining

The comb after spinning

 The frames after spinning

Two buckets well filled

Say 7 litres per bucket?
And then finally sit down, glass of HHF 2013 sparkling Semillon accompanied by smoked salmon trimmings and enjoy a really good DVD “The Help”. A wonderful tearful film.

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