Now...I know what most of you are thinking...I have had the baby! Well...I hate to disappoint you but the baby has not seen fit to make an entrance into this world yet.
NO! The big day for us was harvesting our first full season of honey. We only have the one hive with a single super collecting honey for us. However, we were so excited to get out there this morning with the help of Marie and Larry.
The plan was to get out to the hive early in the day to beat the heat, but I don't think that is possible in Texas in August. So, it was hot but it made it easier to harvest.
|Beetles and their larva|
We uncapped two frames at a time to place in the extractor. We did this uncapping process over a five gallon bucket to catch any honey that flowed out. Then we cranked the machine up to spin the honey out of the frames. It did not take much from these eager boys to get the extractor going! We then flipped the frames to extract the other sides. Sometimes we would need to scrape comb that had not been uncapped the first time.
The first time we opened the spout at the bottom of the extractor the honey flow was so fast we almost lost the flow onto the floor instead of into the bucket. We had set up an additional five gallon bucket with a net to catch the honey and other particles that would flow out from the comb. The net would collect the waste, which often included beeswax and bees that had flown into the extractor to recapture the honey.
The main bucket that was collecting our honey was reworked by Larry to have a spigot at the bottom. This was nice as we can not bring the entire bucket into our house and remove honey as needed. He was so kind, refusing to take money to pay for the supplies.
The nets were then pulled up and honey was allowed to drip out. The main bucket collected about 2 gallons of honey and the cap bucket collected an additional half gallon. That is not bad for a single super hive. We were pleased. We never planned to sell our honey so is was just the right amount for us to enjoy over the next year. We might even be able to share a little with friends and family.
This process was slow going for us amateurs. We were outside in the heat for about 3 hours. Larry was really feeling the heat and watched the boys in action. It was good for the boys to have this opportunity to work with Marie who is so patient. So with the combination of Larry's expertise and Marie's patience (along with lots of bottled water!), we survived our first real honey harvest. We cannot thank our beekeeping friends enough for their hard work. I would have never have been able to do this with the boys without their help.
Our faithful beekeeper cat was also around for the adventure! He just could not stay away from the honey harvest. He was good and did not get in the way. He did not even get honey on his coat. I really need to write a children's story about our beekeeper cat!
Another fun adventure that was made possible from our 4H adventures. I am always so amazed at how many doors that have been opened to our family through the 4H programs.