Aug 27 2016
A big thank you to the approximately 180K girls in bee form who contributed to the honey harvest this year. And a big thank you to the 3 girls in human form who also contributed to the honey harvest this year.
Yesterday at about 12:30pm it was 88 degrees outside and I, my niece and 2 cousins locked ourselves up in the hot and sweaty bee shed and commenced harvesting honey. None of them had done this before so it was all new.
We had both windows open across from each other with a fan sucking air and honey smells out of the bee shed and to the front yard under the trees. It didn’t take too long before we had a little cabal of bee girls floating around right outside the screen trying to figure out where the honey smell was coming from.
The bee shed smelled like baking cookies because of the hot knife that uncaps the honey from the frames. It’s so hot it kind of cooks some of the honey left on the knife and there’s this toasty honey caramelized smell.
There was uncapping going on; moving sticky oozing honey frames across to the extractor; placing them in just so to the bin; closing the lid; then cranking and cranking and getting that thing whizzing around; bucket and filter under the gate just waiting for the honey to first start oozing out. Then it became a production line.
One cousin decided the production line could be more efficient so she rearranged things to get them closer to the source – there we go. A quicker process. We had 4 western boxes of honey, which was 32 frames. After we extracted, I put all four of the boxes with the “wet” frames on the hives, giving the purple hive 2 boxes for the ladies to clean out.
It took just an hour and a half and then we started hauling 5 gallon buckets with their filters into the house and on to the counter. Each girl went home with a quart and a pint of honey (and more if they want it).
It took me a half day on Thursday to clean and sterilize the equipment, hose out the bee shed, get the equipment set up and organize it all. It took me half a day on Friday and all morning Saturday to clean up all the equipment, get the honey off everything, hose all the honey off the floor of the bee shed, clean all the sticky honey from the floor in the kitchen and get everything all back in place and packed away for next year.
NOTE on the FlowHive: It was definitely WAAAAAY easier, cleaner and faster to extract from the FlowHive. No mess, no fuss, no cleanup.
However, I do like the sweat and the rhythm and the old fashioned work that it takes to hand crank out the honey, 4 frames at a time. I sort of feel like I could be back on a farm in the 1800’s doing the honey harvest.
2016 HONEY PRODUCTION:
A total of 94.5 pounds of honey, which was 21.5 quart jars and 21 pint jars.
Add the 24 pounds extracted earlier in the year off the FlowHive and that’s a total of 119.5 pounds for 2016 off 3 good hives.
This crop was very sweet, but not cloyingly sweet, went down smooth without a stinging or harsh flavor like some honeys when they’re too sweet. It has a bit of a kind of nutty flavor and also takes a little like mock orange blossoms smell. Really flowery, fruity and nutty. Mmmm.
Thank you – you sweet girls.
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