I may have to go to the doctor to get some treatment for my honey show withdrawal pains. I spent far to much time (and money) preparing for the show which is not a problem. The problem is I enjoyed the preparation too much.
I had only ever placed a single entry in a honey show before. The problem is that it won last year’s Novice Class, first out of four, and I acquired compulsory honey show exhibiting disorder. I set myself the target of entering nineteen out of the twenty one classes this year. Not the novice class, I’m hardly that any more, and not the mead class as this is a complete waste of good honey.
I took great delight making bees wax candles. A sentence I never thought I would type. I even started making my own silicone rubber moulds. Another sentence …. I even made rolled candles to look like Japanese sushi. I thought they were my best bet for a prize. They weren’t.
I managed to just scrape enough wax together to enter the both 8oz and the 1oz x 5 wax blocks classes. I made my own mould for the large block and put a cheeky message on the top expecting it to raise a laugh. It didn’t.
I had a bit luck back in the summer when I opened my Flow Frame hive to find a perfect near full frame of honey with just a couple of dozen cells uncapped. I rushed home in order to buy a honey frame display case. Now these Flow Frames are huge. Lanstroth deeps and 51mm (2”) wide. I can’t find a case but that is not a problem, I’ll make one, out of Perspex. I saw one online and thought ‘that’s cool’. I ordered the Perspex cut to size on line. Have I mentioned I can’t saw straight? Anyway, I went back to the hive a couple of days later and the little bug***s had built brace comb across to another frame. Somewhat disappointed I decided to enter it anyway even though it had no chance of getting a place. It came first.
I know honey shows have been going for a long time and things are usually done for a reason but a local show like ours should be more accessible to newish beekeepers. How we do this will need some thought.
I am confused, not about the Judge’s decisions they were fine. There where some I disagreed with and many I agreed with. It was that some things on the schedule of class where deemed to be important where others where effectively ignored. The best (worst?) example of this was that both wax block classes specify a weight but where not weighed while the black jar class, which is supposed to be all about the flavour of the honey, had two jars rejected because they where in larger jars.
I was a disappointed that I lost track of my honey. The Judge gave a commentary while judging but I have no idea if he even opened my jars. Message to self: next year write down the numbers.
I know part of the function of a local honey show is to encourage members to enter large shows but if you find out during the judging that there are ‘hidden rules’, like the colour of wax, it can be disheartening. Perhaps we could make things clearer to entrants, stewards and judges. I think we could make the schedule clearer. I have no idea what a wax block 7-9oz (+ or – 10%) can weigh.
I would also put in request that the recipes should centre on honey, perhaps with no granular sugar? Lets be honest here, no one could taste honey in that chutney.
I have had a good moan but I would still encourage members to enter as many classes as possible. You don’t give up looking for a job if fail your first interview. Enter and learn. This is what Mrs Beekeeper will be doing next year even if this year’s judge said her honey cake was undercooked. It wasn’t undercooked, it really wasn’t. It was cooked just right and delicious and very tasty and …