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9642 Randle Rd
Williamsport, OH, 43164

Honeyrun Farm produces pure raw, honey, handcrafted soap, and beeswax candles in Williamsport, Ohio

Blog

Summer Honey 2018

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Well, we couldn't play around forever. There's work to do. Although I'm reminded of Montana continually. Yesterday I was in a bee yard and came across this:

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Four years ago we paid a visit to this honey company in the far north. It was about the most beautiful setting you've ever seen. Beehives on the vast prairie, a blanket of flowers, yellow and purple, the rising wall of the Rocky Mountains just to the west... I love to reminisce.

So the honey season is in full swing back here in Ohio. Just a minute ago Jayne was leaving for market, saw what I was doing and asked if this was a "happy" blog.

Of course it's a happy blog! We're in the honey!

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Here's a little video she put on Instagram yesterday-

Lafe spends his August days in the extractor room, I spend mine in the bees.

Because the summer honey pulling / extracting process takes about three weeks, I think I'll deliver the good news in three segments. Starting with the outside work.

Out in the yards, most of the hives have one to three supers caked full of honey. Forty pounders! These have to come off and be loaded on the truck.

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It's a process. Usually takes about an hour per yard. But it's not just about the honey. Half the time is spent lifting brood boxes, treating for mites, feeding protein. Basically taking care of bees. 

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It won't be long until the protein isn't necessary. I see the bright ragweed pollen is just starting to come in. Goldenrod is just around the corner!

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Speaking of goldenrod, when I leave a yard it looks like the picture below- one (empty) super left on in hopes of collecting that rich fall honey. 

 They'll be using those grain bins eventually... honey harvest beats grain harvest by two months.

They'll be using those grain bins eventually... honey harvest beats grain harvest by two months.

When the supers get back to the honey house, they're immediately put in the drying room. 

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We can fit about 150 supers in this room full of fans and heaters and dehumidifies. 

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This isn't something we had to worry about in Montana, but here in Ohio with our humidity, honey moisture is a major concern.

Depending on how fast Lafe is moving with the extraction, they'll usually sit and dry for 12 hours or more. 17% moisture is perfect. The bees know when fermentation is no longer a danger, and they'll cover the cell with a wax capping. Anything that's not capped could potentially draw moisture.

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We have scrupulous inspectors every step of the way.

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Next week we'll talk about the extracting. Starting with the removal of the wax capping that the bees worked so hard to build.

We found it.

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

This past week we found Montana.

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The Montana we know- mountains and trails, bees and trees.

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We're in love with this state.

We love it, and we miss it, and we get back any time we can.

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Big Sky Country!

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The mountains, the forests, the rivers, the water, the snow, the air, the people, the wildlife. All magical. All lovely.

And love was certainly in the air on this trip.

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So was music.

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Jayne was quickly in her element at the Red Ants Pants Festival. This was in White Sulfur Springs, a summer music festival that attracts thousands. One of the headliner bands was her latest favorite- Shovels and Rope.

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I kind of think the whole trip was planned around seeing these guys. Jayne has been a Shovels and Rope groupie of late. And I'm happy to tag along. Next stop, West Virginia.

But we'll say we did it for our kids. This trip, I mean. We'll say that we planned it specifically for them to experience the wonderful west. And to get them off those damn devices for a while.

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We dumped the youngest two on Grandma and brought the oldest, Mason, 10 and Maizy, 8.

We thought they were old enough to handle some real hiking.

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And real camping.

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As you can see, they're slackers.

So Mama led the way.

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We hiked just about every day, camped just about every night. Each morning, I'd take a run and almost always come across some beehives.

Sometimes it was worth coming back for a photo.

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As you may know, beekeeping is an industry out there. And as you may also know, I worked in the industry for about a year. 

In fact, I got so excited seeing a commercial bee truck rumble by, we stalked the guy several miles until he pulled in to the extracting facility.

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By this point, Maizy was so mortified that I was planning to jump out and talk bees, we decided that we'd just pass on by and leave them to their work.

But we still kept finding the same company's bee yards scattered throughout that beautiful country. Worth at least another picture.

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It was obviously a big operation. Surely multi-thousands of hives.

When I worked in the Bitterroot Valley for Wayne Morris, we had a smallish operation- around 5000 hives. This was in 2005.

While I labored away in the bees, Jayne was getting her masters just north in Missoula. 

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We of course had to pay the university a visit and show the kids. We secretly hope we have some future Griz in the litter.

But we didn't linger. The mountains and trails of Glacier Park were calling. I have to say, the kids handled it as well as could be expected. One day was a twelve miler. Not bad for an eight year old.

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Mountain hiking wasn't the only thing on the menu. A couple days after that monster hike, we were scrambling up to some hidden hot springs. 

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Perched high and dry in the hills, these springs were a favorite of ours in 2005. It was romantic... a bottle of wine and a tent. 

Bringing two kids has a way of dulling the romance, but it also presents an opportunity to discuss Rocky Mountain geology and the bedrock configuration that leads to these geothermal processes. Maizy was spellbound. 

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Not to mention the opportunity for a geothermal selfie. (Not bad for a 38 year old.)