27 September 2015

Honey Harvesting

Sooooo much honey...
The leaves are changing, the weather is increasingly chilly, and that means it's honey harvesting time! For the first time since we moved in and gathered pounds and pounds of wild honey from a hive residing in our walls, were we able to collect an equally impressive amount from one of the hives we purchased earlier in the year.
There are now five hives total (thanks to the free swarm that randomly showed up one day) though two are a friend's. Since the swarm arrived late in the season, they'll keep whatever honey they've made to see them through the winter. The second purchased hive will keep theirs too--after a few years of experimenting with the type of hive, we've decided we don't like the design. So, next spring, the girls will be moved to a roomier place to hopefully make more honey to share.
Some of the unhappy worker bees.
As usual, Jack did most of the work. I'm admittedly still a bit apprehensive around the bees. Oh, and we only have one bee suit. So, I'm happy to stand back and supervise, making sure he doesn't get stung to death. Or drown himself in the delicious honey.
Combs FULL of honey!
I left briefly to fulfill a commitment and came home to the garage swarming with bees and Jack slicing the caps off the honeycomb to release the honey. Then, it was put in the extractor Jack commandeered from his parents, who were also once bee keepers, and with a few minutes of spinning, most of the honey was pulled out.
Here it comes!
We set the extractor on the table, filtered the honey and bottled it up for storage. So far, we've gotten about eight quarts and a gallon ice cream bucket of sweet, golden honey sitting on our kitchen counter.
Emptying honey from the extractor.
One of our favorite mottos around here is: Waste not, want not. So, in the morning, Jack drug the table we'd been collecting honey on out into the yard where the bees picked clean the leftovers.
The bees cleaning up the mess.
To take it one step further, Jack scooped up some of the dead bees who'd had a little too much of a good thing and died while gorging themselves on honey and fried them up. He said they tasted the way flowers smell. I'm just going to take his word for it.
Honey-soaked, fried bees, anyone?
Whenever we harvest the bounty of the earth, whether from our garden, raspberries, a friend's cherries, apples, or eggs to wood for heating the house, hickory nuts and asparagus, we are always so grateful for our many blessings and recognize God's hand in them.

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