Saturday, September 24, 2011

Imperfect Harvest

Today was the day that it finally stopped raining and dried up a little (a very little) and I could finally harvest honey.  It's already getting late in the season, so I did not harvest a lot.  I want to be sure they have enough for the winter. 

I took 2 frames that were full, but they were only really full on the fronts.  The backs had little on them.

My very scientific method of gathering was this:  open the hive, pull out the frame, shake all the bees off, brush the remaining bees off, and walk away very fast so the bees couldn't get me.  Then quickly put the frame in the bucket in the house and close the door.  Repeat.  Add smoke fairly liberally throughout.

I didn't get stung.  Happy day!

That part worked pretty well--it was the uncapping that was not pretty.

It is WAY too easy to cut the comb right off the frame without meaning to.  I need a lot more practice.  I did what I could, over the bucket, and got a bunch of it in.  However, I did remove more comb than I would have liked and it's now sitting in a strainer over a bowl on the warm stove, so it can drain.

This was pretty messy.  I didn't get much on the floor, so that's good, but it would have been nice not to get so much comb.  I can see the allure of the extractor.

After I was done and got as much honey off as I could, I brought the frames back to the bees  to clean and repair.  I did not get stung, although they were more ready for me this time.  Happy day!

And that's the honey harvest for this year.  You know something?  The honey tastes like flowers.  More bees next year!  No doubt about it.

Edited to add:

The results are in!  After letting it set in the bucket overnight, this was the take:

That's a 1/2 gallon jar, so it was about 1/4 gallon and a cake of wax, which I rendered afterwards.  Not a bad haul for what turned out to be one complete (front and back) frame of honey.  The taste is incredible, and I am so happy.  I am surprised at the color of it, though.  It's so much darker than I would have thought.  I wonder what those bees were eating??

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  1. I have so much respect for those who raise hives, I'm far too chicken of bees to try. Your batch looks wonderful! So glad it turned out for you.

  2. Looks great! I have some friends who got off tons of honey was this your first year raising bees? We are raising ours for the first year but didn't take any honey off this year we are waiting until next year....just curious.....Thanks for the post!

  3. I am just amazed at how many people who blog have bees. My hats off to you all for doing this...I'm simply amazed.

  4. We have bees for the first time this year. I got two hives and I had found used equipment (from a reputable person) so I had already drawn comb. We were blessed to get over 200 lbs of honey this year but we didn't leave any for the bees as it is very hard to overwinter them this far north. Someday I want to try but this year I am following the advice of those that say not to up here.

    Anyway- I was wanting to know how you rendered your wax cappings? I have a bunch of them but haven't figured out how to do that yet! I would love to hear about your experience!

  5. I would love to see a post on how you rendered your wax as well! We are in the first year of keeping bees and could use any helpful hints, tutorials we ca get. Your honey looks delish.


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