Saturday evening, I looked at Youtube videos -- disregarding the elderly beekeepers, gloveless and in shirtsleeves with their placid hives, and gravitated toward the suited-up folks youngsters diligently jetting smoke between each frame; re-learned the technique of striking the full frames hard on a stone to dislodge the bees onto the ground (rather than using the bee brush to turn them into an airborne cloud of stingy anger). I learned the importance of having a container at hand to stash the frames, so the bees aren't swarming around the combs to steal back the honey. I talked to an old beekeeper and learned that bees do indeed get irascible before a storm. In short, I did what I should have done Saturday morning.
I suited up with boots and winter gaiters and flannel-lined pants, two shirts, a veil and gloves. I practiced with the smoker until I could keep it going. I took out the old Coleman ice chest we keep "forgetting" to give back to my parents. And then, diligently jetting smoke between every hive body and every frame, I took out 17 frames of capped honey to go along with the four I'd taken yesterday. There was more in the boxes, but not all fully capped with wax, and I didn't want to strip the colonies bare and have to feed them sugar. Most importantly, there were no stings and not a barb to be found upon my armor.
Porter and Jake were fascinated with the extractor, and the heavy frames of honeycomb, and they were a huge help with the process of spinning and draining off the honey. I had a big glass jar, about a gallon and a half or two gallons, that I thought I would use and see if I could get it close to full. But the first six frames filled it. We ended up pulling over 5 gallons of honey (about 55 pounds) by the end. It's a pretty good haul from 3 first-year colonies.
I sent Jake home with a couple of pints of honey, for his help,
and I think I know what I'm giving people for Christmas this year. . .