Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Day with the Bees

Golden wax 8

Is it me or does anyone else see the great states here in the honeycomb? :-) Today was extraction day finally since rain, travel and illness prevented us both from doing it sooner. It was my first time to extract so I wasn't sure what to do or expect but I had a blast. Tiring, but I think it was because we were both not at 100% as it was. Luckily for me no stings! No so lucky for Mark since one of the backyard hives was pretty mean. He got multiple stings but handled it well, as always. One sting on me and I puff up. Needless to say, we suited up appropriately today and were sure glad we did. Above is honeycomb Mark pulled out from one of the feeders. I loved the colors of it all so I took a ton of shots I really enjoy looking at now. Below is Mark pulling out some frames for extracting.

Getting frames from the backyard hives

Here's a shot of Mark uncapping a small frame. I learned that means breaking the wax seal on top of the frame so that the honey can flow freely. It was really neat. And occasionally, we'd chew on a bit of the wax and honey...just like gum. Once the frame is uncapped, you place it in the extractor, which you can see in the bottom picture. You put four frames in at a time and then there's a handle for spinning the frames round and round, flinging the honey to the side of the drum and then it drips down to the bottom.

Extracting honey

And then...the wonderful honey starts to flow. Oh my gosh, it was wonderfully sweet! Even though it was a really tough year for the bees, there was a good amount for them to share with us. Sadly, though, Mark did mention he has lost several hives. Don't know if it's the heat, drought, colony collapse or what. Or maybe all of that. At any rate, thank you little bees for our delicious harvest!



Ineke said...

i love honey. Looks like you had a great day.

Thiên said...

We did! :)

E @ Scottsville said...

Wow, that is so cool Thien!

We just had the one hive and NEVER extracted the honey. Y'all have the whole set-up, huh?

Now can you sell it and make ya some money?

Very cool photos and I'm glad you didn't get stung. Ugggh!

Thiên said...

We're going to give some to the man who let Mark put his country hives on his property and then I think we'll see about gifting to family. THEN we'll see what's left. :) And yes, NO STINGS!! Woo hoo. I suited up and Mark warned me when they got fiesty.

Antjas said...

This is wonderful and brings back so many memories of my dad and his honey. Bees were a big part of my childhood. Just last year the last of my dad's hives died (due to whatever is killing them all off in Canada) and so I greatly treasure the last few jars I have. We are in the process of taking out our swimming pool and my son says I should put in some beehives instead.

Mark Gretchen said...

Antjas, I lost half of my hives this year -- maybe the heat and the drought. Will try again next year, hopefully under better conditions. I like the way your son thinks. And thanks for your Sudbury daily photo blog -- very enjoyable.

Thiên said...

I agree with your son also, Antjas. Put hives in the pool and then we'll come visit! :)

Also, I think I also know that feeling you have about the specialness of the honey your dad harvested. I look at our jars and I feel a little sad to see them go even though I want to share them with other people.