• honey,  learning

    gone in a day

    . I sold a container of honeycomb to a friend a few weeks ago, and today she told me “It was gone in a day”. What a compliment! Comments like these make me want to expand my operation by about 4x.  It’s a big decision, though, because it takes time and energy. And I’m still learning. Some days I want to give up the idea of selling honey and keep it all for myself – yes, I’m greedy that way – and some days I want to get a few more hives so I have more to sell to all the people who want to buy more when they finish…

  • honey

    extracting honey

    . . I had one honey super with frames that had honeycomb acceptable to use in the extractor. So here they are, in the extractor ready to be spun. First I had to pick off the wax caps covering the cells of honey. There’s a special tool for that. Next, the frames are placed in the extractor in such a way that the extractor is balanced. If this is not done right you could end up with a hole in the wall of your honey house. Due to massive extractor banging around because it’s imbalanced. Fortunately I had some help – Steven was there to show me how to use…

  • honey

    out of place

    . Yesterday I showed some photos of honeycomb that was built perpendicular to the wooden frames. Today, I’m showing you the other half of the honey super – not quite so perpendicular, but still curvy enough that the frames can’t be put into a honey extractor. If you look closely on the left-hand side you can see the wires of the frame. These are supposed to be buried deep in the wax of the honeycomb, and provide support when the frames are spun in the extractor. Not working so well here. Hence the big mashing and straining ordeal. It’s been a sticky couple of days so far – I wash…

  • honey,  Uncategorized

    here we go again

    . I’m harvesting honey today. The hard way. Like last time. That’s what happens when you  let the bees build their own foundation comb. Since the comb is built mostly perpendicular to the frames, I basically need to cut it out and mash it to get the honey out. Beeswax candles, anyone? I’m generating way more beeswax from this honey harvesting event than normal beekeepers would. Normal beekeepers, I’m told, use plastic or wax foundation in their honey supers so that the bees will build where they’re supposed to. Hm. Well. I wanted to try a different technique that I heard about. I got mixed results. One of my honey…

  • honey

    what not to do

    . I made myself a cup of garden tea this morning, and I thought it would be a great idea to throw in a bit of honeycomb, since I’ve got two honey supers sitting in my kitchen. I grabbed my trusty hive tool and sliced off a bit of comb to throw in, and mixed it all up. Well. Not the best idea. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you like flecks of wax in your tea. Oops. I ended up straining it a few times, and did drink it with tiny particles floating in it. Live and learn. .

  • honey

    escape with no re-entry

    . I went for a visit to the beeyard yesterday at sunset. It’s probably the most unromantic place you could think of, what with all the buzzing and stinging and such. The sunset was nice but not memorable. The bees, however, were cranky (in a memorable sort of way). Go figure – I’m there to separate them from the product of their summer labours, and they’re not happy about it. I opened the first hive to find a layer of bees under the top cover, sitting poised with their stingers in the air – straight up – and already angry at the intrusion. AND – my smoker wasn’t working very…

  • bees,  honey,  video

    bees in a house

    .200 pounds of honey in a house. My guess is, there were probably about 100,000 bees there too. If you have 2 minutes: Video Link Yikes.Thanks to my friend Carolyn who sent me the link..

  • bees,  beeyard,  honey,  learning,  neat tricks,  preparation

    lowering heating costs

    On Saturday the 3rd, I went to the beeyard to feed one of my hives sugar syrup. They hadn’t filled out the frames as well as they could have, and it’s important for winter survival that they are full to maximum capacity. So, despite not wanting refined sugar in my life anymore, back in it came. In the top picture you see the hive with a honey super on top – I had to leave a space for the ziplock bag of sugar syrup between the frames and the lid. After Ken’s comment on a previous post, I thought I better follow his recommendations, so I built myself a rim.…

  • bees,  beeyard,  honey,  preparation

    ready for battle

    Yes, I tucked my pant legs into my socks, geek that I am. I was not interested in bees flying up my pants. This was my first visit out to the bees after being stung 9 times at once, so you can understand that I was taking every precaution. Including wearing my husband’s winter gloves. Yes, now I have to wash them because they’re sticky. It was worth it. I think I would have been stung otherwise, judging by the number of stingers I saw ready to strike, and the bees that were crawling on the gloves. I opened the lid, and there were about 20 bees there with their…

  • honey,  recipe

    onions and honey

    While I’m on the topic of this family, I have to thank Michelle for the winter onions (sometimes called egyptian onions) she gave me the last time we were there. I cooked some up with brown rice and finely diced veg, and a smidge of honey thrown in for good measure – since I was just back from the beeyard and thinking about it. Very tasty. The rest of the onions are planted in my garden – hopefully they’ll get a good start on growing before winter! Anybody want the recipe? No? Too bad, I’m posting it anyway. There’s the small version and the big version, go with whatever suits.…