Update: August 16, 2013
The first harvest of honey!
Hard to believe that my last update (see below) was a year ago. Time does fly!! Over that year there is only one bee-related event to report. That is a swarm. Yep, a GIANT swarm of bees over our backyard. I was so upset thinking that our bees had deserted me and their hive. I quickly ran to check on them and was relieved to see there was a lot of activity at the hive. Bees coming and going. Frantically entering the hive, their pollen sacs full of bright yellow pollen. I figured all was well, so I let them continue undisturbed.
The last time I had actually opened the hive to check on them was right before winter, when I put their sugar top in place and gave them a generous portion of bee pollen to see them through the cold months ahead. They did more than survive, they thrived!
Yesterday, my husband and I donned our “bee gear” and went out to see what was going on in the hive and to see if there was any honey we could nab! I lifted off the top, as my husband manned the smoker. These little Italian bees had made lots of honey. We took out the 4 heaviest frames and brought them inside to harvest… that may sound like an easy statement, but the actuality is quite different. The frames are sticky and we weren’t prepared with something to set them on, so that required a trip back into the house, complete with bee attire still on. Mind you, it’s about 90 degrees outside. Once back outside with a big tin-foil covered baking sheet, the frames had bees on them that did not want to be elsewhere (more smoke please). All in all, we finally got the frames bee free and in the kitchen. I was very happy that this was a team effort.
Once inside and ready to harvest some honey, I cut the caps off the honeycomb. The color of inside was a rich golden amber and I could not wait to take a big spoonful of the honey. It was the absolute most delicious honey I’ve ever tasted in my life!
Next, I got to use our new Italian Honey Extractor. It worked wonderfully and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It holds 4 frames. I only cut the caps off one side of each frame and placed that frame, facing outward in the extractor. Spin away by hand and then repeat the process for the other side of the frames. I was amazed to see how much honey came out of each frame. Happily, we got way more than I was expecting!
After extracting the honey from the comb, and putting the honey through cheesecloth to get rid of any beeswax, I began to fill the sterilized jars. I put honeycomb in some of the jars and surrounded it with the golden honey.
It was nice to get everything finished and take a hot shower to get the sticky syrup off of me. Now time to relax with a hot cup of tea… I’ll take honey in mine. 😉
For a great honey recipe, try these Peanut Butter Honey Brownies (there’s a gluten free version, too).
I’ve become a beekeeper. I decided to take a Beginning Beekeeping Class at MTSU. The class provides you with the things you need to start your own hive… including the Bees & the Queen.
Since the end of the class I’ve spent about $600.00 on additional things I needed for the hive, and a honey extractor… in anticipation of a harvest.
There’s a lot to beekeeping and I’m thankful to the internet for helping me along past the class that I took. It’s been challenging so far, and I don’t think we’ll be rewarded with any honey this fall. I’m just eager to keep my bees alive through the winter.