Did you know? – Collectively, bees fly 24,000 miles and visit three to nine million flowers to make one pound of honey
Today was honey extraction time!!!!
But first it was time for the beekeepers to check the well “beeing” of the hives. They are well and the good news is that we have a new queen! So one feral hive (that we captured over 2 years ago) has become two! They tell me the new queen is a beauty just like her momma.
Beekeeper D took out some capped 3/4″ frames. Then Justin and Jordanne took over uncapping and the honey extraction.
The honey was absolutely gorgeous – not your typical honey color. This honey batch was extra thick and “white” with a slight taste of citrus with a hint of lavender. We extracted 16 lbs of raw, unfiltered, unheated, and very thick honey (give or take a few pounds because we licked and ate a whole bunch while working). When the sun comes out we’ll see if we can’t solar extract the rest left in the combs – should be a few more ounces.
How sweet it is….
Seeing that almost white honey brought back memories of my childhood among the orange groves of central Florida (which are sadly no more). One story was the when Beekeeper D was selling some of his honey, a customer accused him of selling corn syrup it was so light colored. Bet he was just cranky or jealous!
I remember as child going to our local county fair and showing off our honey. Beekeeper D would bring along our observation hive and folks would crowd around our booth tasting and watching the bees while Beekeeper D would give people advice on starting their own hives.
Back to the present…
Each season and honey flow is different and that’s what makes keeping bees ever the more exciting. Not only are you providing your plants with beneficial pollinators, every time you open the box, the bees surprise you with a delightful bounty of nature’s nectar.
Now of course before you go jumping on the beekeeping bandwagon. Like I’ve said before nothing is worse than a fad that leaves sick, diseased, abandoned or neglected animals in it’s wake. Beekeeping is serious business since you are dealing with live animals. When it comes to keeping animals, insects one takes on ALL the responsibilities year after year after year through sickness, health and oopsies. Basically when you get bees you “marry ’em” Well, the good thing is they don’t talk back. The bad thing is they don’t care what you tell them, but the responsibilities are similar. In animal and apiary husbandry you are the keeper, steward and the animal’s health, well being is entirely in your hands and that’s a huge, daily responsibility. Of course the know how is good but the question before you jump in is: are you prepared to put in a lot of time and energy. You don’t just want to “HAVE” bees, chickens, goats just to say “I have such and such” It’s all about the “KEEPING” part.
Not to mention you’ll need clean space – room for storing equipment and processing the honey. For us that’s a challenge as it is with so many projects/operations going on in such a little space.
There’s a lot to know and learn about bees – the intricacies of a colony/hive, all the different diseases (foul brood, chalkbrood, stone brood and verroa mite), not to mention dealing with swarms and you really can’t stop them from procreating and fraternizing with (may not so friendly or diseased) neighboring bees. They are living animals, er insects and although they go about their business unhindered they do need constant and continued care and attention. You can’t just get a hive and forget about it or you will really have a mess on your hands. In his 35 years of beekeeping, Beekeeper D has burned his fair share of diseased hives and believe me it’s not pretty when a disease overtakes your hive.
So when we see a that our hives in good condition we say a grateful little prayer that all is well in beedom.
We are considering selling bee supplies on Peddler’s Wagon but like to know if there’s any interest first. Let us know.
Taking out the frames of honey
Heavy combs filled with warm, white honey
Out come more honey filled frames
With a hot knife it was time to uncap those frames
Scraping and cutting reveals beautiful, almost white honey
Jordanne wields the hot knife and helps out
What a sweet sight – yum!
In go the frames into the extractor
I help Justin pour the honey from the extractor into the glass jars
Out comes the honey!
Bee-utiful! (Just a few of the jars)