Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Summer Honey Harvest

One of the girls on butterfly weed
I took some summer honey off the high hive today.

They'll keep two deep boxes and a medium for their winter lodgings, but that leaves another three boxes on top.  One was full of capped honey, one was mostly full of nectar and uncapped honey, and in one they are drawing comb - though in no rush about it yet.

a frame of capped honey
I took off the heaviest box and removed the frames - gently brushing off the bees.  It was a cloudy, breezy day, but the bees were placid - except for a few gung-ho guards, who resented the disruption.

I placed the frames into an old Coleman ice chest that I pilfered from my father long ago - and lugged them inside.

The last time we harvested, two years ago, was during the dearth and bees besieged the house, drawn by the scent of honey.  Today, with flowers still in bloom, they had other places to be.

We scratched off the caps and placed the frames into the extractor - a hand crank centrifuge that lets you spin the honey out of three frames at a time.  

Into the extractor.

Porter turns the crank.

 Straining out the beeswax,

and 30 pounds of honey sits in the jar.