Jason has gone off now for shows in Madison, then Chicago (Lucky you guys) but I think it only fair we have one last picture of him, and wave good-by, here at the start of the Bee Post. By Jason! We'll miss you! Here he is yesterday getting covered in honey and being a good sport about helping me scrape frames.
I had not thought there would be a Bee Post this early in the year, but as it turns out there was a LOT of extracting to do. Sadly, the Kitty hive died earlier this winter. We think she did not have enough bees to keep warm enough. We brought the boxes back up, but didn't realize exactly how much honey was capped and stored in them! Until, well, two days ago, more or less. Boss mentioned it to me, and I thought, oh, a couple frames, whatever, I'll get it.
Nearly full, about a box and a half, 15 frames full on honey. That translates into "A Big Bucket of Honey" We have an extractor, but have not had too much success with it, and as I am the designated Extractor, we have been using the "Bucket and Cheesecloth" Method. STICKY!!!!!!!!!
Ah. Here it is. The picture of the Bucket. You scrape the honey and wax in, the honey drips, and there you have it. Stop me if this gets too technical for you....The wax can then be boiled, commonly known as "Slumgum" and the icky bits tossed and many fine things made from it. If one knew how. Which I don't. Yet.
In yet another bit of bad news, the Kelli hive, our last, also died off this winter. It's pretty obvious looking at the boxes that what happened was it got WET. This can happen if the snow is too deep. Good news was, it was FULL of honey, and most of it perfect. Bees cap the honey, and in its capped state, it will last a really long time. On the right there, you can kind of see the box, with the mold on it. The mold was only in the wood on the sides, and on one side of one frame, beside the wall. I didn't take that one.
This makes for a LOT of honey. I am kind of wishing I knew how to use our new fangled extractor. The Birdchick says the problem seems to be it need to be bolted to a floor or something heavy, before it will work right.
Speaking of floor, here is a shot of what your floor will look like during the extraction process. The floor, you, walls and Dog. Everything will be covered in honey.
Since the hive died, (RIP Hive) there are naturally a lot of dead bees. All over the frames , that one must sort of scrape off. I did not enjoy this part. Poor sad bees. The garage looks like some sort of Bee War has gone on, with none left alive to tell the tale.
I stacked the scraped frames up outside in hopes that a wild hive might come along and clean them for me. No takers yet. The bits I didn't scrape were bits that were just comb, or had un-capped honey, which might not have been good.
I can't believe how much honey there was. I am not sure Boss and Birdchick quite believe me, but look! Here it is. AND I still have three buckets going in the garage for jarring tomorrow! I feel a LOT like Winnie-the-pooh and his honey pots today....
I told Jason the tale today about how honey, in this country, is not really regulated. "Grade A" honey does not mean anything. Or clover, buckwheat, organic (Hello? Do you follow your bees and see where exactly they GET the pollen from???) There are no "Honey Inspectors" Grading honey. He mentioned we needed labels, and I said, how excellent he was here. Well, half an hour later, down he came with one!
Which made me laugh. Vegan Honey????
I am sorry the hives died, but that happens in the bee world. We are starting over soon, and due to a strange ordering mis-communication, we will have SEVEN hives this year, Four Italian and Three Russian. Each in their own bright colour, with their own personalities.
And plenty of Adventures.
Love and Honey,