It's harvest time. For the past two weeks I've been pulling the summer honey. It's gorgeous this year. Beautiful and light. On the right is this year's Summer:
|We seem to have a fan of last year's honey.|
Two or three bee yards and about a thousand pounds of extracted honey per day has been status quo of late. If we can keep this up until the end of August we'll keep the kids in clothes for another year.
The clover went crazy this year, as some of you have mentioned.
I think this may be the reason this year's summer honey is lighter. More clover, less thistle and soybean? I don't know... it tastes about the same. It's definitely been drier this summer. But still cool. One of these years it may actually hit 90 degrees-- then we'll really have a crop!
During last year's summer honey extraction I showed you some of the different forage that the bees seek out... from flower nectar turned into honey. Now we'll take a tour of the honey processing... from hive to table.
Here are some pictures taken over the last few days.
A bee yard: ten to twenty hives depending on the surrounding forage. We're up to 29 bee yards.
The upper boxes are the honey supers-
Just as it is with people, some are go-getters...
...and some are slouches.
Don't you wish they could all be Boomers?
So the honey-laden supers are taken off the hives and loaded on the truck. Some days are harder then others. I won't get into the specifics.
This load happened to come off the golf course:
They hate it when I drive across the greens.
The stack can get pretty high when we get behind on the extracting.
Eventually the frames come out and are run through the uncapper. This takes the outside wax capping off the honey so that the extractor can "sling" it out of the honeycomb cells.
|Petyn and Bridger- our honey models.|
The liquid honey goes into a large settling tank...
And is drained into buckets or barrels at the end of the day:
|Light, Pure, Raw... High Quality Honey!|
If we turn our heads just a second, Bridger takes an opportunity to sample.
The boy is uncontrollable.
The honey is weighed,
And put into storage.
Here it awaits bottling. Could be now, could be next year...
The wax capping I mentioned earlier takes another journey.
The honey-soaked wax drains for a day or two...
|Honey bee cappuccino.|
They chew on this little treat for another day or two, "fluff it up," and the loose wax gets rendered, filtered and poured into bucket molds:
From this point it can take about any form.
One thing we've been doing lately is dipped candles.
The wax is remelted:
And the wicks are "dipped" over and over.
Jayne will explain this in depth on a future post.
Back to the honey...
Some "wet" supers go directly back on the hives with the hope that the bees will fill them with fall honey.
Others are cleaned out by the lucky bees here at home.
What a morning treat!
They make short work of it.
|Maizy likes her summer honey with Lucky Cat bread.|