honey!August 20, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Adamah, adamahniks, farming, food, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
by: Julia, Goat & Pickle Apprentice
the summer is winding down. it’s no longer so unbearably hot during the day, and the nights have a little chill to them. but it’s not over yet! there are still many exciting summer things happening, such as: honey!
we’ve got a colony that overwintered on beebe and yesterday jaimie decided that it was time to extract. I wasn’t there for the actual extraction, so I have few details on that, but many details on the uncapping and spinning (and clandestine finger licking).
to start at the beginning, here are the bees in their happy bee life on beebe hill:
they forage all around, but over this spring and summer they’ve especially been buzzing in the buckwheat that was planted as a cover crop around the raspberries. since honey is named after the pollen the bees collect while they make the honey, that would make this (mostly) buckwheat honey.
so jaimie, along with the able assistance of some adamanikkim, opened up the hives and removed the supers which the bees had been stockpiling honey on.
the supers are wooden frames with a plastic insert to help the bees know where to start making the honey. the bees make the hexagonal cells, fill them with honey, and then cap them with beeswax. our job yesterday was to uncap the comb and extract the honey, which we did with the help of a heated knife and a honey spinner.
the layer of beeswax is very thin, so the goal is to tread lightly and try not to scrape any of the honey off with the wax.
the heated knife is slightly controversial, since the ideal is raw honey and the knife does slightly heat the honey, but it sure makes it a lot easier to uncap the comb.
lots of combs to uncap. everyone got a turn.
then the spinning, which yonah is a total pro at.
the inside of the extractor has a metal mesh cage with space for two supers to stand upright facing each other. the centrifugal force sends the honey flying out towards the walls, where it eventually drips down to the bottom to form a delicious pool.
here’s nachshon and bonnie showing off a uncapped super with the honey spun out of it. you can see the comb shapes and the plastic interior.
then after all the uncapping, spinning, and general stickiness, the honey was free flowing.
we got almost two gallons, not bad for one hive and a late harvest – the first one since 2006.