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It’s been two years since we last harvested honey. Tom pulled off the supers last week and then this past weekend, the potting shed was converted into the honey extraction chamber. The portable electric heaters were placed out there to bring the potting shed and the honey up to a warmer temperature. Much like syrup, cold honey does not flow. Since Friday night, (off and on) Tom has been uncapping the frames and then placing them in the extractor and spinning them out. We have been very fortunate to have about 11 1/2 gallons of honey from this harvest. There is one five gallon bucket that will sit in the basement and another that was siphoned off into smaller jars (about two cases worth), plus another five half-gallon mason jars of honey. That is a lot of honey.
The thing about honey, is it is great to put up. It’s filtered several times and then jarred — that’s it!
- Honey Cinnamon Buns (wordpressreport.wordpress.com)
- Bees make blue honey by harvesting waste from M&Ms manufacturing (boingboing.net)
- The Sweetest Thing – Moisturize with honey-infused beauty products (theinsider.retailmenot.com)
- covered in bees (and honey)! (rebeccainthewoods.wordpress.com)
- Honey: A Food fit for Gods (idyllic.wordpress.com)
I just read about this over at Good and it is pretty interesting. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is the first United States airport to host beehives. The airport land is presently home to a 2,400 square foot apiary. There are presently 23 beehives along the eastern edge of the airport property. The land upon which the airport presently stands was an old apple orchard (and coincidently that is why O’Hare’s airport code is ORD) which may explain why the pairing of bees and planes seems right. Evidently this has been done in Germany for a number of years already and is pretty successful. It makes use of the vacant land which is necessary for the operation of an airport, but leaves such big, vast spaces empty.
The airport joined forces with a community program called Sweet Beginnings which trains prisoners in the art of beekeeping, as well as creating bee by-products, such as lotions, candles and the like which are being marketed under their own line –Beeline. It is anticipated that the products will be available for sale in the airport.
- O’Hare Airport Welcomes Beekeepers with Felony Convictions (Video) (treehugger.com)
Today I dug up the potatoes from the garden. The other day I dug up the carrots.
Today I washed up a bunch of both. Cut up the carrots into bite sized chunks
Added honey from our bees and dill, mixed it together and roasted them for one hour at 350 degrees.
As for the potatoes, I cut them into bite size pieces also, added kosher salt, black pepper, chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, onion powder and garlic powder. Tossed them with olive oil and put them in the oven at 375 for one hour.
The finished product —-
The bees were happy, the kids were happy, we were happy. The honey flowed. This afternoon, we figured that we’d take advantage of the heat and do some impromptu honey extraction. It was another hot afternoon, good for honey flow, bad for people.
The bees were more than happy to help with the leftovers and suck in that last little bit of honey left in the comb.
Swarm, that’s what we had today and I’m not making some wisecrack remark about the heat. We had a swarm from one of our bee hives. Swarm, for those of you who might not be as bee proficient as others, is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee hives. A queen takes a bunch of the worker bees and pretty much up and leaves the existing hive in search of new and better quarters. We figure that this happened because the hive got too large.
In the prime swarm, which is what appeared to happen today, about 60% of the worker bees leave the hive with the old queen. A new queen and the remaining 30% of the worker bees stay put in the existing hive. As Tom was outside this morning watering the garden, he heard that distinct and very loud buzzing. He looked up to see a very large, very black, very buzzing cloud of bees over the goat shed (where the hives are located) and followed them across the field and into one of the pine trees. It is common that when honeybees swarm they only fly a short distance from the original hive and take up residence temporarily in a tree on a branch or in shrubbery. They cluster around the queen and send out scout bees to search out a new hive location. It may take a couple days for the bees to pick a new spot or as in our case, they can be captured into a hive and will usually make it their own. Since the bees do not have reserves of honey (which were stored in the hive that they left) they are very vulnerable and can die if a new hive cannot be located and honey production restarted.
Later this afternoon, he and a friend who is also a beekeeper, suited up and climbed a ladder into the tree where the bees took up residence. They cut out the branches and were able to recapture most of the bees and evidently the queen as well. The bees are now in a make-shift hive and seem content.
Looks like a trip to the bee guy over in New Hampshire is in the cards for this weekend to secure another hive set up. Also, we’re going to most likely extract the honey from last year’s hives (all the bees died off from them) and bottle it. Interested to see how much honey we end up with this year. Last year was 48 pounds or about 5 gallons of honey.
So sick and tired of buying containers of Arizona Iced Tea (which by the way are NOT recyclable here PETE 5 so it’s a gigantic pain in the butt) experimented with our own iced tea. While I was in Iowa, I drank a lot of unsweetened iced tea, which was really good and decided to make some at home. I know that the boys prefer sweetened. I made two batches, one English breakfast sweetened with our homegrown honey and lemon and one Earl Grey unsweetened. Both were good, and the boys even delved into the batch for me (so go figure). This afternoon, Tyler announced that my iced tea “was pretty good”. Curious, since their great grandmother was known for her homemade iced tea, which they grew up with for many years, I asked him how my tea compared with Nanny’s. He drew me a chart, with Nanny’s on the top, undrinkable tea on the bottom. I am pleased to say that I rank right below Obby, which is about 2/3 up the “Tyler Tea Scale”. He told me that with “some practice” I might be able to be as good as Obby. Her tea is better, he said, because she’s been doing it for LONG time. (His emphasis Obby, not mine). His advice was I better make more and “practice”. He also wanted to know if maybe I could get Nanny’s recipe book for iced tea — Ah, if only there was such a thing! I often have wished for the same for some of my grandmothers’ and grandfather’s recipes!
18 pints and 12 half-pint jars or 4 gallons. That’s how much honey we processed and we were hardly neat with it, being our first foray into honey processing. We harvested the hive Saturday since the new bees were arriving. Saturday Tom spent the afternoon spinning and then Sunday we were sieving and filtering and yesterday, we jarred. Amazing how few people use honey, we tried giving a jar here and there to some friends and neighbors and a lot of people said “no thanks, we don’t use honey”. The bees will be devastated. More for us, I guess. I am psyched that I found a “Cooking with Honey” cookbook in the bookcase which “came with the house” and I might be able to put it to good use with all this honey.
We have the beeswax out by the hive getting cleaned by the bees so that I can use it to try my hand at beeswax candles. I feel so “Little House on the Prairie” but this is really cool!