Sunday, September 25, 2011

Operation: Sting

Also known as: Our First Honey Harvest and Extraction

How about some good news first? About 30 pounds of pure liquid gold “clover with a smidgen of wildflower” honey was harvested this weekend.

Casualties: 1 sting for me (over my eye when I took the water hose to rescue Mr. W) , and numerous stings for my Mr. Also, 3 plus stings for the Fiddler (and he wasn’t even on extracting duty, but splitting wood several yards away). We are all fine, and the Fiddler even boasts that his allergies are much better after several stings to the head. Ouch, but maybe a good dose of apitherapy is all he needed?

I have a ton of pictures to take you along with us on the photo story of Honey Harvest 2011, then I’ll close with a list of things we learned.. and also a quick update of what we’ve been up to the past, oh.. month? Good grief, how time flies! Please pardon what is sure to be a record-breaking lengthy post for me as I try and catch up.

Pulling the frames. This method was a good back-saver too (more on that at the end). Frames were pulled individually from the super, and we used the smoker and a turkey feather and bee brush to “tickle” the bees as I called it ;) It actually worked pretty well, and the nine frames were put into a large rubbermaid box. Much lighter to carry back to the ‘honey house’ than the entire super would have been.

honey1

honey2

Back at the ‘honey house’ (garage), each frame was scraped with a regular serrated knife to uncap, in preparation to place in the extractor.

honey3

Cappings were placed over an old oven rack to drain into a plastic box. (Definitely should have used a screen-type cover instead).

honey4

Uncapped frames (four at a time) were placed into the basket inside the renovated antique honey extractor.honey5

Cranking away as centrifugal force spins the honey to the sides of the extractor and…

honey6

…out the honey gate. Here are the first drops of pure raw unfiltered honey, dripping into the filter over the honey bucket.

honey7

honey8

The drained cappings also produced an amazing amount of honey. Some bottling was done tonight, but more will be done tomorrow after it settles a few hours.

It is delicious, and beautiful, and oh-so-addictive. Did I also mention we’re firm believers in the healing powers of honey?

honey9

It was a little bit of work, mostly in preparation. Things definitely did not go as planned, and as we look back on this experience, those boo-boos seem so funny.

A few things we learned:

  • those velcro strips on the bee suits are meant to be closed. do not question this!
  • do not wear holey britches to the bee hive area, especially when bees are already irate because you’re removing ‘your’ share of their honey.
  • quickly remove empty frames back to the bee hive area for the bees to clean out. do not tarry on this one! The bees WILL find the remnants of honey, and they WILL then take over the entire yard.. and hold humans hostage until they finish it!
  • Irate bees who invade the yard in search of honey remnants like to bury themselves in your hair. This produces a little dance we call “the bee dance” and gives the neighbors something to talk about as they drive by.

All in all, I think we did great though.. and we are looking forward to next year’s beekeeping experiences.

******

Now, a quick update of what we’ve been up to the past month. Mr. W had his second back surgery of 2011 earlier this month. He is doing great, and plans to return to work in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, he’s been doing everything he can possibly do that doesn’t involve lifting, twisting, pushing, pulling, etc. Including coaching the wood-gettin’ team.

wood1

We also had a wonderful two-day visit with Osage Bluff Quilter and Blacksmith a couple weeks ago. Read about our Amish trip here on Patti’s blog – she’s a much better blogger than I am. Oh, how I wish we would have taken pics of those wonderful fried pies.. but we snarfed them right up! And, the same thing happened with Osage Bluff Quilter’s homemade Peach Salsa (the BEST in the world!) – all I have is an empty jar to show! We even got to visit with them the following weekend at the Heritage Festival – check that event out here.

If you’ve stayed with me this long… bless your heart! Thanks for stopping by.. and hope all is well in your neck o’ the woods!

Till next time…

sig3

Updated to link to:

Barn-Hop

28 comments:

Catherine said...

Very interesting photos Tammy.I love honey and yours looks so good! have a nice week, Catherine

Windy Meadows Farm said...

Thanks for a terrific bee tutorial! I'm "itching" to get my own bees...sorry about your stings, definitely the down side to all that glorious honey.

Debbie said...

I sure enjoyed your post. I love honey! Though I know where it comes from I had no idea what we go through to get it and now I do. Forgive me for laughing, especially about the 'bee dance' which I believe I have performed in the yard a couple of times too.
Debbie

Down On The Farm said...

The "bee dance" made me chuckle! I love hearing about your bees . . . and your honey. Are you selling honey, or keeping it for yourself. I can just imagine all those clear jars of beautiful honey! And I am so jealous of your Amish trip. Sounds like you had a GREAT TIME! Enjoy our beautiful fall weather :0!

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

I have missed you!

My fave part **A few things we learned** Hilarious!!!!!

You have been quite busy! Fall and Winter are coming and things slow down. J looks forward to this time of year with great anticipation!!!

So happy to have you post today :)
xo, misha

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi Tammy, this is a very interesting post. I'd love to see a post on the healing powers of honey, too! Hint, hint! Have a great day!

libbyquilter said...

oh yes, the healing powers of honey and even bee stings is fascinating and i do hope that you write more about that at some point.

so enjoy reading about your bees and all that you're learning as i'm an aspiring bee keeper myself.

:-)
libbyQ

McVal said...

Oh yum yum yum yum!!!! That stuff looks delish! Too bad about the bee mishaps and your husbands back!
Every day contains a learning experience, no?!

Country Dreaming said...

I am glad that you are ok. Yuck--stings.
Looks good. Yum....

Glad the surgery went well.

Take care and get some rest.

Melinda

edenhills said...

That honey looks so good. Yummy! You've certainly been busy. Hope your mister recovers and doesn't need any more surgeries.

Teresa

Rita said...

I'd have to be in a space suit! (Afraid of bees and wasps.) This was fascinating to read, though, and loved the pictures. Looks like liquid gold!! :):)

Good luck to your hubby with his surgery. Prayers!

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Hi Tammy,
Your hone looks W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L.!! I'm so glad to see others getting honey... my first year of beekeeping was a sad one, but I learned a valuable lesson and will try again next year, Lord willing. A friend who started with me had mercy on me and brought me a jar today from her extraction. What a sweetie!

And look at your firewood!!! Woo hoo!! We could go into business if we just lived closer! I can see it now... "Two Gals Firewood - Cut and Stacked"! LOL!! Tell Mr. W I hope he recovers quickly!

Walking on Sunshine... said...

The honey looks beautiful and so delicious! We love honey in this house, well hubby and I. My kids have no clue what they're missing! Sorry you all were stung! Not fun!

Glad your hubby's surgery went well. I had an epidural about 2 months ago and it went really well also. I was able to walk all over the campus and help Olivia move in.

Glad you're back!

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch Ouch and more! I can reemeber bee stings from my childhood and they hurt!
Your honey looks beautiful. Look like you gathered at least a 5 gallon bucket????
Thanks for the shout outs!
Love you guys!
P & B

Kristen said...

So glad you found my blog so I could find yours! I'll need to bookmark this post, since we plan on starting up a couple of hives next spring. I had to lol at "the bee dance" - thanks for the giggle AND the advice! :)

Kristen

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Wow! Congrat's! Thanks for the very funny visual of the bee dance too. :-)

Jenny said...

Wow. Although I feel slightly crawly now with imagined bees in my hair, etc. I loved this post!

What gorgeous honey. That color is amazing.

A million years ago when I had bee hives and did a lot of jelly making, I remember putting a little display of jars on the kitchen counter...black raspberry jelly, honey, red raspberry jelly, etc. (anything clear) and putting white Christmas lights behind the jars. It was the most beautiful stained glass effect...and your jar of honey reminded me of that!

Thanks for a beautiful memory.

And for sharing your adventures!

Jenny said...

Darn. Test. Where did my comment go?

Sue said...

Tammy I found this to be so informative, as we have been thinking about bee keeping.,The only thing stopping me is the stinging part. lol Your honey does indeed look like pure gold. And I might add a job well done!.

So glad to hear the good report of your dh's back surgery. My dh had it years ago, and it was a life saver for him, I will pray for continued healing.
Thank you for coming by, and for taking the time to leave me such a sweet note.
Sue

Farming On Faith said...

That was great ~ I sent the link to My Brian. He thinks we need to give this Bee Keeping a try. Now he has been warned. LOL

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Hello Tammy!
OMGosh your honey looks delicious...makes my mouth water just looking at the picture. I'm getting a visual of the 'bee dance' LOL...ouch! This is wonderful advice for those of us thinking of getting into bee's in the future. At the moment we only have wild bee's in the corn crib but one day we may just have a hive of our own. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us. I feel for your hubby...my hubby has had two back surgeries also ...the last one in the early 90's. He's doing fine but has learned to deal with the bad days when he over-does it or there is a change in barometric pressure. By the way that's a good looking wood pile! Have a wonderful Thursday :)
Maura

Lynda said...

Very impressive education that included pics! The honey does look delish - - but I will settle for buying if from our local producers. Bees scare the dickens out of me - - - especially since I have had allergic reactions to them. You all are to be commended for a job well done - - and knowledge on how to do even better the next time.

Nezzy said...

How very interesting this post was and the honey looks marvelous. I've always been enchanted with bee keepin' but I'm allergic to the bee stings. Probably wouldn't be a good idea huh?

Your woodpile reminds me we need to stock up for the winter. OOps, I said that nasty W word.

God bless and have a terrific Thursday!!! :o)

Kilauea Poetry said...

Incredibly sweet update from start to finish!! We only (I was really too young) had bees for a short time. I can only remember my brother running around the backyard all swollen (lol). Anyway- precious and as you say just like gold. I'm happy for you Tammy- how jazzed you must be! I can certainly understand the bees being a little testy! Wonderful photos today.. ~blessings~

Kilauea Poetry said...

I'm really hoping my comment didn't disappear..just incase, I loved this (sweet) update- what a fascinating process and work! They work so hard (as you say gold) and they are so precious..we can't do without them! Enjoyed the photos from start to finish!
Thanks Tammy, have a fabulous weekend-

Dog Trot Farm said...

How satisfying to harvest your own honey, or otherwise known as "liquid gold." I enjoyed your photos and text, I certainly learned a few things too. I find bees to be so fasinating but intimidating. Sending Fall greetings from Maine, Julie of Dog Trot Farm.

timbuck2mom said...

What a beautiful honey harvest you got! It must feel quite satisfying to know it came from YOUR bees. :)

I enjoyed all your tips, too. Sounds like it was quite an adventure that day with lots of dancing going on. :)

Donna S. said...

Awesome. Will you be selling any of your honey?

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