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.



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


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


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…


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



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?


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.


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…


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