20 Dec THE SWEET THINGS IN LIFE
This past spring I finally realized one of my dreams and actually set up a beehive in my backyard. I must admitted that it was, and at times still is, a bit unnerving. I have a stack of beekeeping books and have taken a beekeeping class but I am still pretty much going through this blind and learning as a go.
Last month was my most nerve-wracking of bee endeavors yet…..it was harvest time (it was actually a bit past harvest time since it really should’ve been done the month before but like a lot else in my life it was a ‘better late than never’ thing- but I’m sure you can’t relate to that at all) .
I can’t tell you how many Youtube videos on extracting honey I watched leading up to the big day. I called my local coop and rented an electric honey extract. Then I gathered up all my tools, lit my smoker and put on my jacket and hood and headed out to the hive.
Next came the part that freaked me out leading up to this day. I now had to get the frames out, the bees off and the whole lot up to the house without collecting all the bees on it again in the meantime. I learned that having a large plastic storage container with a lid is a must. Once you take out each frame and give it a nice firm whack along with a gentle brushing to remove all the bees, you quickly put the frame into the container and close the lid. This way you have all your frames safely put away where the bees can’t get to them because if you don’t they will go back to them and try to get their honey.
To leave enough honey for my bees to eat and survive through the winter I only removed the top super (the small box on the top of the hive) and extracted the honey from there leaving the rest of the hive intact with plenty of honey for my colony to happily make it to spring. Now that the mission was complete and I could breathe again I was ready to get the honey flowing.
Once I got my box of bee-less frames into the garage I scraped the wax off the capped comb and put the frames into the extractor to get the honey out of the frames and flowing through the strainer and into my storage bucket.
From there I moved the operation into the kitchen and got to start the fun part – the bottling of my very own honey! I found the most amazing little jars at the Crate and Barrel outlet. They hold approximately 3.5 oz of honey and cost just over $1 each which makes them perfect for giving out as gifts.
I’ve already decided that my honey operation will be expanding this coming spring with the addition of 1-2 more hives. If you’ve ever considered getting a hive yourself, take the advice of the wise sage of sports and Just Do It. You won’t be disappointed as the rewards are exceedingly sweet.