-Posted by Isaac
I walked in the kitchen yesterday evening and found our four kids fighting over a square of cut comb. It wasn't the typical screaming fight with tears. It was more of a giggling fight.
gerund or present participle: giggling
laugh lightly in a nervous, affected, or silly manner.
"they giggled at some private joke"
As in, 'Dad will never miss this!'
We've been withholding the candy lately. I guess they found an alternative- the natural candy.
We're just about done with this year's comb honey and I thought I would take you through the process of producing this delicacy. As with the normal liquid honey production, some years are better than others. This happens to be a down year. But we don't know that when we start assembling the comb boxes in February.
We do about 45 boxes total, half cut-comb and half Ross Rounds. I'm guessing 20-30 hours go into the assembling, as usually Lafe can finish the project in under two weeks in addition to all his other tasks. Unfortunately I don't have a single picture of this tedious winter work. Because... I like to ski.
Once spring arrives I pick out the strongest hives from about four nearby yards and take them down to one deep super. This happens during the normal spitting process.
The above hive produced two boxes of Ross Rounds and got a good start on a regular medium super. It was one of the few that didn't swarm. When you pinch all the brood into one box, the swarm tendency is strong because you have a population explosion in limited space. Some years you can time it right- where the bees are thinking about honey production instead of swarming. Some years you strike out. This year almost all of the comb producers swarmed!
But at the very least, with any kind of nectar flow, they'll get a good start before they go. And once they've started drawing that delicate wax foundation, you can add another brood box to prevent swarming, or simply move the comb box and let another hive finish it.
It's all very dependent on the nectar flow. And of course having strong hives. This year the bees were looking great, but our spring flow was intermittent. We didn't finish with most of the comb until the soybean flow came on in early July.
And even then, not everything was filled out to the brim.
The comb continues to be tedious and time consuming after coming off the hives.
Every section needs evaluated and either packaged as a single piece...
... or cut into chunks and put in a chunk honey jar.
The rounds are packaged "as is."
The squares get cut into 4.5'' by 4.5'' sections.
And everything then gets put in the freezer.
For various reasons it's best to store comb honey in the freezer. Last year we needed to buy another deep freeze after running out of room. Over 1000 sections came off the hives. This year I think we'll be somewhere in the 600-700 range.
Which means you'd better get it while it lasts!
Plus, if we continue the candy embargo, our kids will need at least a couple hundred sections just for themselves.