oh honey, honey…

We spent a hot, happy July 4th doing something entirely new and different.

This year we extracted honey from two of our three bee hives. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect…beyond getting sticky…but it ended up being a lot of fun.

honey frames

Stephen began the morning suited up in his bee suit and retrieved two hive supers from hives Barney One and Barney Two. Being terrified of the “Barnies,” I faithfully stayed inside and ate a bowl of cereal and watched an episode of Leave it to Beaver.

We set up our honey extracting operation on the  back porch, using a honey extractor from our local agricultural extension office. As Stephen brought in the honey frames, I would cut the wax cappings off of the honey comb.

once the cappings have been removed

Two frames at a time are loaded into the extractor, which is turned until all of the honey has been pulled from each side of the honey comb. Extracted honey then pools into the bottom of the extractor where it is allowed to drain into a bucket strainer system.

Frame in the extractor before being turned

Stephen turning the extractor and honey draining into the bucket

Wax cappings are left to drain over cheesecloth for the afternoon. Once they are sufficiently drained we will run the extra honey through the bucket strainer and the cappings will  be rendered into refined bees wax.

Once the honey has been strained of any impurities (extra  pollen, dead bees, and honeycomb) it is ready to be bottled. Stephen attributes the dark color of our honey to the local yellow poplar trees, clover, and sour wood trees that his bees have been frequenting.

As far as taste goes, its good. The honey has a mildly floral scent and a pleasant sweetness. Its not overpowering or sickly – its just nice. And this assessment is coming from someone that doesn’t really like honey all that much.

We spent from nine in the morning until nearly midnight to complete the entire process – but it was time well spent, once again carrying on a Pleasant Hill bee keeping tradition. We did a lot of hard work, had a lot of good fun, and ended the day with a final product that we can be proud of.