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Topic: Harvesting Spring Honey  (Read 4675 times)
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MissingWillow
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« on: June 02, 2011 10:28:51 AM »

We harvested the first of our Spring honey this week.  Our bees are doing very well in the little bee yard we've set up by our pond.  We've seen a bear in our back yard, thankfully it's never made it down to the hives! 



Here we are gathering up the honey supers to bring into our kitchen for processing.  A honey super is the shallow box where bees store honey in beeswax frames of drawn honeycomb.  We always leave one super per hive for the bees.  It's what they eat over the winter.  Anything above their super is ours.   Smiley



They store honey in drawn beeswax honeycomb and cap it with beeswax when it's full.  A super full of honey is very very heavy. 



We use a knife to remove the beeswax cap that keeps the honey stored.  The beeswax cappings get melted down.  I use it for crafting candles, soap and solid perfume.   



We have a small extractor, which is just fine for our operation.  It's basically a plastic tank that holds two uncapped frames which are spun via a handle crank.  Centrifugal force spins the honey from the frames into the bottom of the extractor.



From here, the honey is strained into a holding tank.  From there, it's ladled into jars.   If you look carefully, you'll see newspaper spread on our kitchen floor.  It's potentially a messy job.




The best comb gets set aside for comb honey.  Instead of uncapping it, we cut it into chunks to fit into a jar.  Here is some cut comb waiting for honey to be added to the jar.



The finished product, ready for the Farmer's Market!  We'll harvest again towards the end of the Summer.  Our sourwood trees are just starting to bloom so the next batch will be sourwood honey, a local delicacy.   Any questions?  Ask away!

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mrsflibble
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011 10:43:56 AM »

I fricking love honey.
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SunflowerSmiles
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011 11:03:44 AM »

I wish I lived near you...I'd be scooping up some of that for sure from your farmers market Wink

I love your blog! I get to live vicariously through you and my dream of living on a self sustaining farm. Bravo! to you!
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011 11:06:09 AM by WildBird » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011 11:17:02 AM »

Beautiful! I can't wait to have my own land for bees. Local honey is the end all be all of foods.
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MissingWillow
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011 11:27:14 AM »

Thanks so much, WildBird!  It's so nice to know some of my Craftster friends follow our adventures as new hobby farmers.   Smiley  

LovieDovieAnn - some neighborhoods allow rural beekeeping, and I know a lot of beekeepers who keep their hives on other folks' property in exchange for a little honey.  I'm not sure if either would be an option for you but thought I'd mention it here in case anyone reading this is yearning for bees and hadn't considered it. 
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011 11:45:32 AM »

This is so awesome!  I wish I could come visit you!
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MissingWillow
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011 11:55:47 AM »

I'd love to meet you, atsuko.    Cheesy  Shop the Swap is a fun group of Craftsters! 
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Myrdda
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011 12:25:57 PM »

missingwillow, I follow your blog as well - if only to erase former unhappy farming memories. Your place looks so healthy and lovely - and as afraid as I am of bees, I adore using honey when I make bread and cook. How many times a year do you harvest honey? I thought you could only harvest once?
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MissingWillow
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011 12:51:57 PM »

Awesome!  I'd be the first to admit farming is not all peaches and cream (although we have both   Wink  ) but the good days far outweigh the bad.  We harvest twice a year here.  The first honey is taken right before our sourwood trees bloom.  Before then, the bees are taking pollen from anywhere they can find it.  Blackberries, tulip poplar trees, clover, our vegetable garden, flower beds, etc.  We market it as 'Spring Honey' and it's sweet as can be.  Once the sourwood trees bloom, the bees favor them and the honey has a slightly 'sour' taste to it and that's our second harvest.  It's local to our area of the country and people love it.  These harvests are approx 6 weeks apart.  This is typical of our location, other areas may only harvest once. 
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011 01:29:34 PM »

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing.
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