Be true to who you are…..

And the family name you bear……

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Spoonful Of Honey...

Takes a while to get....

Did you know that it takes 560 bees their entire life
 just to make a pound of honey?

In our hives we use medium size boxes. The first three boxes are the official "hive"
Here the bees store their honey for winter and raise all the new bees needed to keep the hive alive. Any box above and beyond the three are called supers, a super is where you will find our honey.  After we have inspected the hive and made sure all lower boxes are filled for the coming winter we bring the rest to the house.

Most of our frames were bare when we started out this year.  This means there was no pulled wax for the bees to fill so they had to make their own.  You sacrifice seven pounds of honey for every pound of wax the bees have to make.  In other words we lost a lot of honey because the girls had to set up house.
In spite of this we still managed to bring in two and a half boxes of honey.  We were careful not to crush the comb so the girls can reuse it next year.

(above) the frame has drawn wax, you can see empty comb on the top row.
the rest of the rows of comb are filled with honey and capped. 
Andrews’ job was to slice off the cap, being careful not to squish the comb under it.  (Below) he did a great job. The honey was kept warm by the fire.  It began to flow as soon as the cap was removed.

(below) the cap is being strained for honey too.

If this had been a real documentary, someone would have thought
to take pictures of the inside of the extractor.
Instead it was just sticky, old us trying to snap shots and jar honey.
So you are just going to have to use your imagination.
Basically the frames fit down inside the extractor and it works like the spin cycle on your washing machine. Our extractor is a manual. 
He cranks the handle and the force pulls the honey to the outside edge.
It then runs to the bottom.  In the bottom is a spigot, the honey is drained from there.  I was surprised at how well it worked.  When I hear "manual" I really hear "lots o' work" but it was easy and worked fast.

doesn't he have a great smile?

He said I had ENOUGH pictures....

And then, he really got sick of pictures....

Normally he'd get his mouth slapped for that but today I am pretty confident that if I were to do so, as sticky as I was, my hand would be permanently stuck to his tongue and that would be a tad awkward....

The next step was Grace, who managed to escape all the pictures, 
drains the honey into a bucket and carries it to Beth.
Beth then strains it through cheese cloth to remove 
bee wings, legs, shards of wax and whatever else they left laying around on the frame. (yes ma'am. I said that)

we only got a half gallon of dark out of the whole five gallons!
dark honey for commercial growers isn't as desireable.  It can only be sold as
honey for baking, not table honey and it brings a lower price.
For us it will be used for baking and we are so thankful to have it we really don't care.  The honey pictured is table grade. 

My job, after the jar was full was to wipe it down
(no small feat)  and seal it. 
(below) some of the jars waiting to be hauled to storage.

After that the only thing required is to EAT it!!
Our family goes through between a half gallon and a gallon of honey
every month. So this year we didn't have enough to sell
but next year, if the Lord sends the flowers, 
we will be in business! We are all looking forward to it.
For now the ladies are snuggled safely in
waiting patiently for spring so they can start it all over again.