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Williamsport, OH, 43164

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

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Summer Honey - The Journey

Honeyrun Farm

-Posted by Isaac

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. 
 It's a decent crop. Not incredible, but it sure beats the misery of last summer, which was a mere 27 lb / hive average. We have at least doubled that and we've still got the coming goldenrod this fall.
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.
But it's so fun!

The honey gets stacked in the drying room / hot room. This year, most of the honey has been coming in at 16.5 to 17.5% moisture. No drying required.


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...


...then is taken out to the bees. 
Honey bee cappuccino.
I have resisted buying a cappings spinner because I like watching this.

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...
Empty frames go back into the supers.

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.


For store shelves and the markets, the honey is pumped into the bottling tanks, never heated above the natural temperature of a beehive (we never go above 100 degrees), and strained through a cloth filter. The fabric still lets the pollen grains through and under this low heat, the honey remains raw with the enzymes intact.


The summer honey takes other forms. 
It's the one we use for the granulated, spreadable honey. It is also bottled around chunks of comb and sold as chunk honey. 
And it can be steeped with herbs for a couple of weeks and turned into infused honey:


All material for future blog posts.

So unti next time...
Enjoy!
Maizy likes her summer honey with Lucky Cat bread.

Beeswax Processing

Honeyrun Farm

-Posted by Isaac

It's been a tough week for the Barnes clan. All of us except Mommy came down with the flu or a bug of some sort. So Jayne had to play the role of nurse in a house filled with coughing, hacking, spitting, gagging, vomit, urine, tears, crying, moaning, whining, outright screaming and gnashing of teeth...
And, after me, she had three sick kids to tend to. Sometimes I just don't know how she does it.

But now it's Saturday morning, the weather has turned warm and beautiful, Mommy is up at the Worthington Market and I've got the kids. I think we'll go on a picnic to Hargus Lake.
 Before we go, I thought I would get this up -- the long awaited beeswax post. I've had these pictures stored since September, so it's about time. Sometimes we get questions about how the beeswax candles are made, where the wax comes from, if they're pure, etc...
So here you go, in more pictures than words, our wax processing:

The bees have a gland that produces wax, and they have an obvious purpose for it; building of comb. The comb not only serves as their home, a place for larvae, and rearing of young, it also serves as food storage. This is where they put the pollen and honey. When a frame of honey is dried down to around 17%  moisture, the bees will seal it off with a wax capping.
When the honey comes into the honey house, the first job in extraction is to remove this wax capping so that the frames can be spun and the honey will flow out:
Cappings wax
After several weeks of draining, I take the nearly dry wax outside and let the bees eat the little bit of honey they can get to.

 The wax is then put into a melter set at 180 degrees.

The burlap bag serves as an initial filter, straining out dead bees, wood chips from frames, leaves, etc...
Dripping a few minutes
The melted wax is then ladled off the top:

...and poured into forms which will sit and wait for further cleaning:


 After several rounds of this, what comes off the bottom of the melter tank is basically burnt honey. This, we sell as our high priced Christmas blend.
(Kidding!)
Melter honey
 At the end of the season the further cleaning part starts:
Additional filtering
 The wax is remelted (160 degrees), again ladled off the top, and this time run through a 400 micron filter in order to catch some of the smaller pieces of dirt. You can see where the "clean molds" end up, awaiting their fate:
 Candles being the fate for most of the wax. Although a fair amount is just resold in smaller sized blocks to people doing their own craft.
 The larger clean molds are chopped into small pieces then put into a double boiler for the final pour.


 December is a busy time for beeswax candles as everyone seems to want that perfect unique handcrafted gift.
-posted by Isaac