Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guess What We Did Yesterday?

We did our best to make counter, tables, floors and three people as sticky as possible.

Yep, we extracted honey.

Above is the extractor all set up and ready to go.

First the caps have to be cut off the cells of honey in the frames. This waxy substance is placed in a big colander in a bowl so the little bit of honey taken with the caps will drain off leaving mostly wax in the colander.

This blurry picture is truly an action shot taken by Chicken Mama. Papa Pea was turning the crank on the extractor so fast his whole arm disappeared in a blur!

Opening the spigot on the bottom of the extractor and letting the honey flow into a two-strainer device to filter debris from the honey.

Then this is the golden flow of the filtered honey into the jars for storage. (Photo by Chicken Mama.)

Chicken Mama had a nannying job yesterday but not wanting to miss out on any of the sticky fun arrived in late afternoon to provide some relief for her mom and pop. Here she is putting the honey into jars which was a big (drippy) job but one she could handle even though she was lacking most of the use of her left hand and forearm. Ask her what she did to almost incapacitate herself. (Arrgh, ugh, ouch and why mothers continue to worry about their kids even when they're big people.) She has a blog post up today explaining her fall-down-and-go-boom which has left her temporarily with a slight handicap. (Not that she'll let it slow her down much.)

While the honey harvest was nothing to brag about (total of just over 100 pounds of the precious, golden nectar), we were happy considering all the problems bees are having in general and the especially challenging ones ours up here near the tundra face. We appreciate every one of our little busy bees and keep trying to do better by them so that some year we'll have strong colonies that can give us a little more return on our investment.


MamaTea said...

Did I miss something? Let me get this straight: You're doing the middle of remodeling? You my dear are a complete Goddess of the northwoods!

dr momi said...

I'm with Mama Tea on this...your doing honey in the middle of remodeling? ..... :-)

love the pic of the armless Papa Pea!!

(...and I'm jealous you have honey)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

*Only* 100lbs.... I'm still impressed! Just how much do you expect to get when the bees are thriving?

(PS - Fess up: the debris you were filtering were paint flakes or sawdust, right?)

Sparkless said...

That sounds like a lot of honey to me! I can't believe all the work you two get done all while in the middle of a major house renovation!

Mama Pea said...

Mama Tea - No, no goddess in residence here, I'm afraid. It was just something that had to be done. I thought of it as a day off of remodeling! ;o}

dr momi - Up here where we have no farmers' fields of blooms for the bees to work, they have to do it all on the wild flowers so they really work for all that hard won honey. The kitchen is currently in a state of looking a little barren because of all the old stuff torn out . . . and new pieces not yet in. So maybe it was a good time to extract!

Jen - Well, back in Illinois (where the livin' was easy for honey bees) we used to count on 100# per hive. But we'll never get that up here.

Regarding the debris filtered out . . . so THAT'S why there was so much more in there this year!!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Thanks for the props but you have no idea what this joint looks like right now!!

We've both not been having good nights of sleep and we've decided it could be because we don't have any "wind down" time at night before bed. Why? There is no place to sit other than the kitchen table!!

Sue said...

Ya know, I could bring you up some of that Salvia along my sidewalk and you could have SPECIAL honey that my poor bee guy is probably getting right now.......LOL!!!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Meeow-wow! (That means no thanks!) ;o} You really should get a report from your bee guy as to the flavor of the honey.

Jennifer Jo said...

How sweet!

Jane said...

Now will you use all this honey yourself or do you sell some. How nice to have a years worth in storage. Is that a years worth?

The Apple Pie Gal said...

NICE! 100 lbs ought to do ya a while, huh?

Loved this post! Thanks for sharing cuz now I can show Pig Pen how you do it too and how yours looks.

Certainly looks darker that what we have here. What is the taste akin to???

Chicken Mama said...

Ooh, ooh! Mom! Can I answer Ms. Apple Pie's question??

"What's the taste akin to?"

I know, I know!!!


(Sorry. Simply could . . . not . . . resist.)

Mama Pea said...

JJ - It certainly is that!

Jane - A hundred pounds is at least two years worth. We don't sell any of it, but give a bit away. There could easily be a year when we can take no honey from the hives (seems to happen a lot up here) so having a couple of year's supply is not too much at all.

APG - I'm sorry. I can't do a thing with her and no longer take any responsibility for her!

I'm putting a sample jar in the mail for you so you can compare it with yours.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

CM...hardy har har!!! goofball can only do so much!


Susan said...

So, let me see, you are doing a major full house remodeling, including painting ceilings, woodworking, plumbing, electric, construction, you squeeze in non-gardening and pie baking and now honey extracting? Are "we" classifed as a family of over-achievers???? How DO you do it? All of it?

Mama Pea said...

APG - How right you are!

Susan - Truth to tell, friend of mine, I don't feel like I'm doing enough! When there is so much to do, I keep thinking if I just worked a little harder I could get more of the "must/should dos" done. (Yes, I do realize I'm not mentally/emotionally stable. Can you help me?) Do over-achievers ever win?? :o}

cindy said...

Always wanted to raise bees but just never seem to have the time.
I’ll just enjoy looking at yours.

Lorie said...

Looks like sticky fun and a much needed break from the remodeling....maybe?

Erin said...

Looks beautiful! What are the bees foraging/feasting on this year? You are amazing for being able to get this done in the middle of a kitchen remodel, but I guess the bees aren't going to extract it for you LOL...
Do you sell your honey locally?

Prairie Cat said...

Only 100lbs! Holy cow.

If I were you guys, I would not have been able to resist the temptation... I would have just stuck my head under that spout and drizzled the golden stuff straight into my mouth!

mtnchild said...

Mmmm - love honey! Ice tea, hot tea, on hot cereal in the winter ... Love that honey.

Mama Pea said...

cindy - I know the honey bees take more time up north here where the livin' isn't so easy for them. They were not that time-consuming back in Illinois.

Lorie - I was a change, lets' say that. And the harvest was well worth it.

Erin - We don't have enough of a harvest ever (well, so far!) to sell any of it. We don't even get a harvest every year so having enough for two years doesn't feel like too much. What do our bees get their nectar from? 99% wild flowers . . . and whatever we can provide for them in the garden. Hmm, if only we could provide little jars for the bees and they would pack the honey up for us!!

Prairie Cat - Welcome and thanks for commenting! I know some people just LOVE honey, but (don't tell anybody) it's a little too, too sweet for my taste. I bake with it but never drizzle it on toast or anything like that. A peanut butter and honey sandwich makes my teeth hurt to think about it. But my hubby makes up for what I don't consume!

Yvette - And you don't find it flavors anything you put it in too much? My taste buds think it over-powers everything you mix it into. Weird taste buds?? (Mine I mean, not yours.)