Saturday, October 06, 2007

HONEY HARVEST 2007

WOW! It certainly was a long day today, the entire day spent extracting and bottling honey. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day though it was really warm so the honey "flow" was great, ran really quick and smooth.

Because I don't have all the equipment I need to extract two of my fellow beekeepers brought their equipment over and helped me with the entire process. I took pictures and I will put a little glossary of terms at the bottom, in case you have questions about terminology. ;)

Last night I had to remove the *frames I would be *extracting honey from today, letting them sit in the house overnight would give them a chance to get warm so that the honey would be thinner and flow better. THIS was the difficult part the bees had worked so hard that they made *comb on the *comb foundations between 2 *supers so they were just like being cemented together. It took alot of pulling pushing and wiggling to get the *frames out of there. Once I got all of them out I put them into a storage bin with a cover to sit for the night. Getting the bin into the house without all the bees following me was tricky too plus it must have weighed about sixty pounds!



This morning when my fellow beekeepers got here we set up shop for the day, of course the *honey extractor was the most important but the first thing we needed to do was uncap the honey to do this you use a *uncapping knife that heats up as you run it down the *comb it takes the "cap" or the top layers of wax of so the honey will come out.


























Next we put 4 frames in the extractor at once. Because I am just a hobbyist we only needed a small hand cranked extractor so we took turns cranking it. As the extractor spins the centrifugal force pulls the honey out of the comb where it all collects in the bottom of the extractor


































Once all the comb forms are spun we can pour that honey into a separator or a colander, in here the honey will separate from the wax





































Even though it was quite warm, the honey is still thick and it takes quite awhile to run through the strainers. Much of the time was spent sitting and waiting for the honey to run it's course but once it did I was rewarded with beautiful, yummy honey. I think I tasted more than I should have because I have been in a sugar coma for most of the evening! My yield for 10 frames was about 3 gallons, it was about 50 lbs! I realized as I was putting the honey into jars that I didn't have enough so I had to run to the store to pick up some more canning jars, a 1 gallon container and 2 half gallon containers. As you can see my yield was pretty nice.

















Now I have just the wax left to take care of, right now it is on my stove in a strainer over VERY LOW heat, slowly melting. That honey is not as pure as the honey I bottled so it will be used for things like baking. I am hoping I will be able to use the *beeswax for some of my art.










Well, like I said it was quite a day. I am so thankful I got as much honey as I did. Not bad for my first harvest. Now I am off to bed since I can barley hold my eyes open to type this.
Have a great night!


*muah*


GLOSSARY


*Frame - four pieces of wood designed to hold honey comb, consisting of a top bar, a bottom bar, and two end bars.


*Extracted honey - honey removed from the comb by centrifugal force.

*Comb - a mass of six-sided cells made by honey bees in which brood is reared and honey and pollen are stored; composed of two layers united at their bases.


*Comb foundation - a commercially made struc ture consisting of thin sheets of beeswax with the cell bases of worker cells embossed on both sides in the same manner as they are produced naturally by honey bees.


*Super - any hive body used for the storage of surplus honey. Normally it is placed over or above the brood chamber.

*Honey extractor - a machine which removes honey from the cells of comb by centrifugal force.

*Uncapping knife - a knife used to shave or re move the cappings from combs of sealed honey prior to extraction; usually heated by steam or electricity.



*Beeswax - a complex mixture of organic compounds secreted by special glands on the last four visible segments on the ventral side of the worker bee's abdomen and used for building comb. Its melting point is from 143.6 to 147.2 degrees F.


32 comments:

Rosie's Whimsy said...

That is so fantastic. Thanks for sharing the process. I am so proud of you....and, what a delicious reward for all that hard work....

FarmHouse Style said...

Oh, what sweet rewards, now I am really inspired to get started! I will have to get some books on the subject and learn all I can so I will be ready in the spring!

Thanks for sharing the info:)
Rhonda

NeereAnDearCreations.com/wordpress said...

Wow Michelle,

Not only is the whole extraction process fascinating but the idea of honey straight from the hive..yuummmm what I would do for a jar of that PURE nectar fron God's garden

HUGS JO

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

wow!! I've never known anyone who harvested thier own honey, how cool!

Kimberly Ann said...

What an interesting process! Thanks for posting it and letting me experience it vicariously.

Meggie said...

Oh Michelle, what a facinating process, thanks for the honey extracting lesson. I learn the neatest things from you. Thanks also for providing the glossary of terms. You are such an interesting young woman....xena bena!

Alexandra, Writing & Baking Enthusiast said...

What an interesting and yum yum process. Was thinking about you and your bee keeping...because I was thinking about the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. The spooky pictures are great. :)
Alexandra

Kari & Kijsa said...

Thanks for the wonderful blog today...we always learn something new from you.

smiles, kari and kijsa

Lilac said...

Michelle...you are amazing! Look at all that honey! Yum!!

Rosemary said...

Michelle,
Thanks for visiting my blog, so I could see this ever so interesting process. I have never seen that before. That honey must be wonderful.
I think that is so cool that you know how to do all of that.
So does your 107 year old house have any ghosts?? Tis the season you know.
Rosemary

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

WOW. that's looks so interesting! I would love to see the hives. So you're a real beekeeper....that is neat.

Thanks for visiting me. I appreciate your kind comments.
DerbaK

Jennifer Froh said...

That is so cool.. I've had "fresh" honey before(when I say fresh, I mean not store bought, but from a honey farm) but never seen the process or have experienced it in person ... how cool.. Okay.. right now you're like the most amazing person I know! :)

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Michelle, that was an awesome tutorial! I am in such awe of you! I love honey, and I can only imagine how wonderful that is going to taste on an english muffin!

BTW!!!! Come to my blog and pick up your award! You have been awarded the "You Make Me Smile" award!!
Hugs,
Penny

Jen r. said...

I think this is so cool! I learned a lot!

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

Hi Michelle,

I am so impressed! That is the coolest thing that you know how to do all of this! Thank you so much for sharing the process with us, I really learned a lot :)

Hugs,
Dena

Nunnie's Attic said...

Are you kidding me?? Honey doesn't come from the grocery store?? I would never be able to do that. I am so impressed!! And for a first timer, geez louise.

Love,
Julie

the feathered nest said...

Very cool to read about the process first hand! The honey must be so delicious. If only I wasn't afraid of bees....

Manuela

Back Through Time said...

That looks like SO much work but well worth all your efforts! Your jars of honey are beautiful and look yummy!
Michelle

Jen said...

Well, I'm in awe! What a hobby. I never would have thought to try something like that. I think it's great.

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

That was a fascinating post! The smell of honey is yummy! Hope you manage to make something with the beeswax!

Esther Sunday said...

Wow! Interesting! But, where is the heck did I put my epi pin? Feeling a bit nervious about now...

Britt- Sparkled Vintage Charm said...

wow! soo cool!!! :-)

Cre8Tiva said...

thanks for the walk thru the procesws...i will appreciate my honey more aftr this...honey...blessings, rebecca

Counting Your Blessings said...

All I can say is... You are one amazing gal!!! Blessings... Polly

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