Harvesting honey for us

As the bottles dwindled you could see the panic in my husband’s eyes. He finally said “You better save us at least 7 pounds of honey! I had to curtail my use because we ran out so fast last time!” Oh brother. It’s true that the boys went through the honey quickly and now the new harvest seemed to go WAY faster than last year. I had sent out the Honey Harvest email to my neighbors, friends and coworkers and filled those orders. I gave some to sell at our bee booth at the 4-H fair and about 7 bottles remained at home. But then I remembered some of the nurses at work who would want some, then someone else wanted a jar and THEN the one jar I was saving for a new client, who had mentioned a few months ago that she wanted honey, turned out to be not enough as she wanted 4 jars… So I find that I’m in need of twice as many jars (14) as I had saved. Hm. I had a little left in the bottling bucket so I bottled that up which was at least another 3 pounds. I’ll know after the fair is over how much I have left. You know what sells the honey? Word of mouth. It’s incredible. I wish I could sing its praises but I don’t eat or like honey. So I leave it to the honey lovers. It seems to work.

There were some frames in the hives that weren’t completely capped: parts of one side or all of one and none of the other. I knew the bees wouldn’t finish capping them and I needed to start feeding so I took that off planning to use it for the household honey. There were 3 frames of drawn foundation and 4 foundationless frames. I planned to crush and strain the foundationless ones and let the drawn comb drain upside down. Here is what I did.

I used the pan on the right to hold the frames upside down.

I used the pan on the right to hold the frames upside down.

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You can see how the frames were unevenly capped.

Using a paint strainer

Using a paint strainer instead of filters just for ease. Wash these first.

Foundationless frame destined for crush and strain

Foundationless frame destined for crush and strain

Used a brace to make uncapping and cutting comb easier and more neat.

Used a brace to make uncapping and cutting comb easier and more neat.

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Lifting off the cappings to preserve the comb cells underneath.

Lifting off the cappings to preserve the comb cells underneath.

Placed the frames upside down in the oven with the light on to provide a little more warmth. Good idea?

Placed the frames upside down in the oven with the light on to provide a little more warmth. Good idea?

No, not a good idea. Should have left the light off. At least it was just 3 frames (that's why I didn't want to use the extractor). Oh well.

No, not a good idea. This is what it looked like when I woke up. Should have left the light off. At least it was just 3 frames (that’s why I didn’t want to use the extractor). Oh well.

Honey comb crushed. I'll strain this and save the wax of course. I need to start making candles.

Honey comb crushed. I’ll strain this and save the wax of course. I need to start making candles.

Strainer just waiting for the wax and comb.

Strainer just waiting for the wax and comb.

My iPhone cover. Isn't it cool?!

My iPhone cover. Isn’t it cool?!

Honey extracted from the frames left overnight in the oven.

Honey extracted from the frames left overnight in the oven.

I estimate this harvest session resulted in about 9 pounds of honey. That should hold the boys over. I don’t mind taking the chance on this honey fermenting since it’s just us (and I don’t think it will). But I wouldn’t sell it. I’ll bottle it tomorrow and make some biscuits!

Sometime soon I plan to make some blueberry mead, stay tuned!

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