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Continuing on with the ‘abundance’ theme, Ken harvested his honey this past Labor Day weekend. After two seasons of beekeeping we were anxious to see what we would get. We knew it was not a lot but after last year when some other bees robbed all of our honey we felt like any that we could harvest would be a bonus.

Ken had ‘supers’ on top of the bee hives. These supers hold frames where the bees store honey after they have filled the main box and that is the honey that we get. The honey in the main box is for the bees – to get them through the long winter months. Ken took the super and all the frames that had honey in them over to Dave S’s house. Dave is a long-time Methow Valley beekeeper who has mentored many a new beekeeper and he said we could use his honey house and equipment to harvest our honey. The honey house is actually a greenhouse or hot house and it was HOT. This makes the honey flow easier and faster.

The first step is to cut wax caps off of the honey so it can get out. To do that you use a hot, electric knife. The caps fall into a screen and any honey there drips into a sink and then into a five gallon bucket. Buckets are important. The frames hang over that sink til they go into the extractor.

The extractor is an 80 year old machine that works very efficiently. Dave said he can still get parts for it and of course, there are no expensive electronic components to fail without notice. What a refreshing idea. I miss machinery like that. It spins the frames and using centrifugal force, pulls the honey out into the big barrel where it drips in to another bucket! It took all night for the honey to drain so Ken picked it up yesterday and we put it into jars. All told we got about 1 3/4 gallons. Not enough for a whole year for us but enough to get us started and have us looking forward to future years when, hopefully the hives will be stronger and make more honey.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. I love your enthusiasm!

  2. What a wonderfully educational and beautiful collection of photos!

  3. How fun – do you get a chance to keep the bees wax for your encaustic projects?

    • I am amazed that any small beekeeper has enough wax for projects like encaustic or making candles or salves. Most beeswax must come from LARGE beekeeping operations. From the one super I got a muffin sized cake of wax.


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