8/18/10

Liquid Gold

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember last year my Dad brought us two new hives of bees and promised to teach us all he knew about beekeeping. I was so excited about learning from him, since he has kept bees since I was old enough to remember. Hubby was a little apprehensive at first about beekeeping, (don't tell him I told you that) but quickly fell in love with the process of working with them and watching them work as well.
Sadly, late last summer we realized something was terribly wrong in one of the hives.... only young bees were coming in and out of the hive and soon we found several piles of dead bees at the entrance. I was very upset but Dad assured me that it wasn't our fault and that any number of things could have happened. Then, after having a terrible winter this past year, we opened up our one surviving hive early in the spring only to find they had swarmed and were gone.
Needless to say, I was heartbroken.
However, after talking to several local beekeepers, we found out they had also lost several hives in the past couple of years without any warning, sometimes losing what they thought were healthy hives.  This gave me some consolation that it wasn't our fault, but I still miss my little bees....

On a much brighter note, the hive that Dad started for himself last year really took off and now it is thriving. So much so that he called a few weeks ago and told us he was ready to take off some honey. Dad brought the "supers" (the part of the hive with the honey) to the house and we got busy.


Dad isn't really moving as fast as this picture would lead you to believe- the lighting was just bad. *grin*




Oooops! A stowaway on the ceiling!





A frame waiting to be "uncapped".... the bees cap off the honeycomb with wax so the honey won't run inside the hive. (Aren't they smart little critters?)



 Dad's new toy, an electric capping knife. The inside of the knife has a thermostat-controlled element that heats up the knife and melts the wax as it uncaps- making quick work of what once was a painstaking job.



Hubby loads the uncapped frames of honey into the extractor and gives it a spin- slinging the honey out where it will eventually drain to the bottom.



The honey is drained from the extractor into a collection bucket with a strainer on top to filter out any remaining wax.
Then from the collection bucket, it's rendered out into jars.

 
Dad was very pleased with his little worker bees- they had made nearly 8 gallons of honey.


Now all that's left is.... *ugh*... the clean-up... any volunteers?


Since my job was uncapping the frames, I managed to stuff a pinch of honeycomb in my mouth once or twice.

Okay, I had honeycomb in my mouth the whole time. 
(I had to sample the product, you know.)

And yes, it is soooo good....




Oh, and speaking of honey- guess what I got on a trip to the feed store over the weekend?

4 little honey-colored fuzzies.... sigh*
I know...
Do you think I will ever get over my Chickie Love?
Nah, me neither...

36 comments:

  1. Wow - that is a lot of honey! That must have been great fun working together on that project. I love the new chicks too - how sweet! Hope you have a great evening Paula.

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  2. Ok I have to say I never knew how you got the honey. What a fabulous lesson to teach a city girl....lol. That is really SOOOOO neat! Sorry about your hives losing the bees. Can you get more?

    Those little fuzzies are so CUTE and I hope you don't get over your chickie love. I LOVE seeing your posts about them!

    Hope you are having a wonderful summer. I am SOOOOOO ready for some cool Fall weather though.♥

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  3. What cute fuzzies Paula and that honey looks SOoooooo good!!!!!

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  4. I have never got over my chikie love either..cute! The bee thing is so interesting to me and boy oh boy do I love honey! That is just awesome! :D

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  5. Hey, hey, Paula,
    those chicks are adorable! I know the surrogate Momma is happy tonight! Congratulations!
    The honey process does seem to be involved. Now you need to find out how to make those nifty beeswax candles!!!!
    It truly is 'liquid gold'! :>
    Will you get new bees? Do bees just come to your hives? How does this work?
    ★Linda★
    I do have a giveaway over at my blog. Come on over and enter......

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  6. OH! That honey looks DELICIOUS! (i am crazy over honey-the real stuff from local farmers-not the stuff in the grocery stores...) I love your new little chickies...so sweet...I love their color..

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  7. Hi Paula, I love your new little fuzzies!
    We bought a repo house about 4 mos ago on a avocado grove next to us. In the walls upstairs there was a beehive. I had to get rid of it so I called around till I found someone that would come and vacuum up the bees and move the hive and not kill them! There was over 100 lbs of honey in the walls! You could put your ear to the wall and hear a loud hum!!! Everyone thought I was nuts because I was so firm on not killing them. They are getting less and less around and I just didn't want them killed but just relocated! Now that we are getting our avocado trees nursed back to life, I am thinking about getting a beehive for the grove! You make it look so easy! So how do you get the bees to come to your box?? Buy a queen???
    Ann

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  8. when will you get another package(?) of bees? your Dad's honey looks like liquid gold - beautiful and so good for you since it is produced close to where you live. - your chickie love is well documented and I'm sure those will be some happy and well cared for chicks.

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  9. I have lived in the country my whole life, but this is the first time I ever saw honey extracted. (grin) What great photos for all of us. Thank you for sharing. I found it quite interesting, but not enough to get bees. LOL Hope you can get your hives to going again. Cute chickies. Nope, you will never get over the love you have for chickies. (grin) Have a wonderful week, my friend. Winona

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  10. I love honey. I eat it every weekend when I actually cook breakfast for us. I buy honey everytime I travel. I have three different kinds of honey in the pantry right now. I would love to be closer so I could swap you a jar of you honey for the peaches I just canned.

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  11. Thank you for sharing the pics....what a fascinating process. I have always wanted to know more about this but don't know anyone who keeps bees. I was sorry to read about your hives; will you be getting new hives?
    Congratulations on the new "babies!" The chicks are beautiful!
    Blessings,
    Pam

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  12. I love honey! Our little town is known as Sourwood City and Sourwood honey is a big favorite. We just had our annual Sourwood Festival. Here is an article about Mr. Edd Buchanan, who we go to church with. http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20100815/NEWS/308150051
    Those little fuzzy are so cute!!1
    Blessings, Patty H.

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  13. Of course, you had to be quality control! I think the whole bee thing is fascinating and people have been doing it since Old Testament days!! Do you to anything with the bees wax? I bet that's a whole different ball of wax! LOL
    Love you new fuzzies!

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  14. This is a wonderful lesson in bee keeping and honey. It looks like a lot of work---but sooo very worth it! How nice to see your dad at work, too.
    Enjoy that honey!
    The little peeps are sweet, too. Can't blame you a bit for bringing them home! If I were 40 years younger, I would love to come work a summer on your farm!

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  15. That honey sure does look good.
    I remember our neighbor had bees when I was young and I would watch him. I would help him clean up and then he would give me a jar of honey.
    I have not been able to find honey that good in any store.
    I love the chicks too.
    Have a great day.

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  16. Fantastic photos! Wow! It looks like a lot of work, but the rewards are 'sweet'!
    Sorry to hear about your hives, but it's nice to know that sometimes things just happen that we can't control. Next year will be a great year for your hives!!

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  17. I've never been a bee keeper. But I've heard stories of how honey bees have really been doing poorly. I heard there was some sort of parasite that was killing them off. That's sad. I love fresh honeycomb honey.
    ~Randy

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  18. Wow, Paula - this is so interesting about harvesting the honey! I buy local honey and have thought it would be fun to learn bee-keeping. This was great! I'm sorry to learn about losing your bees - I guess you're going to have some more next year? That's alot of honey - what are ya'll gonna do with it all?

    Cute little chickies!

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  19. Paula, I enjoyed the story about the bees and the honey. I wish I could have a bee hive...and most of all wish I could have some chicks :o(.. but I made the mistake of living in a development and they aren't allowed..:o(...Thank God for those blessings..
    I didn't know what a country girl I was until I lost the youngness :o) have to be satisfied with what i've got.
    Ginny

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  20. Paula, your Dad has all the "toys" for bees my husband has, and your Dad's honey is very pretty. Mt Husband lost 2 of his hives last year the very same way you did, and it was sad. But he also has other hives and has harvested a few gallons of the prettiest honey I have ever seen. I hope your 2011 hives ( you are getting more, aren't you?)thrive and make you very happy!

    )n a fuzzy note, I have allowed my bantams to hatch chicks, can't get enough of my chickie love either.

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  21. I love honey, but I have a fear of bees, although having a garden the past couple of years has helped me a bit with that. I remember an old gentleman from my childhood who kept bees. He was a neighbor of my grandma's and I remember going over to "Pop's" house to see his bees. That was before I was old enough to be afraid of them (or before I was stung for the first time). They were fascinating to me then. Loved your photos...that honey looks delicious!
    Blessings,
    Marcia

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  22. Paula, that is really fascinating how you get the honey from the hives. Those bees are pretty smart. Sorry for your loss of your bees.
    Those chicks are just adorable. Makes me want to say "Ahh" lol.

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  23. That is so cool! The whole process of getting the honey from the bees! I love honey, I would have been sampling too, lol!

    Can't blame you on buying the babies! I was surprised to see some at Tractor Supply the other day. I thought they only had them in spring?

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  24. I love your new little fuzzies!

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  25. How cool!!! I love it.
    This might be something to get my oldest grandson into

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  26. Wow bees, as much as I love honey you think we would thought of doing bees, NOT, I will stick to letting others do all the work, I will pay for mine, heehee, Hugs and I bet it is good, Barbara

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  27. My Daddy has been keeping bees for more than seventy years and taught my brother how to keep bees as well. Me? Well, I'm the girl and I learned how to clean house...hate it, hate it, hate it...but I get honey from Daddy and brother Steve so it's not too bad.
    There are those who think all the road spraying is killing off the honey bees. Try telling that to dept of highways though, they say nay but, then, they would, wouldn't they?

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  28. HELLO MY NAME IS SUMMER AND I AM HAPPY TO SEE THAT YOU HAD VISITED MY BLOG AND MADE A BEAUTIFUL COMMENT..... I MUST SAY I ENJOYED READING ABOUT THE BEE ADVENTURE AND MUST ENCOURAGE YOU TO PERSERVERE ..... MY HUSBAND AND I WILL ALSO START A HIVE NEXT SPRING ..... WE ALREADY WENT TO THE LOCAL SEMINAR AT THE PENNSTATE COOPERATIVE CENTER ..... THE HONEY LOOKS SO SWEET AND DELICIOUS AND THINK OF ALL THE BENEFITS TO THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ..... GOD REALLY IS A MASTERMIND AT EVERYTHING !!! HAVE A GREAT MONDAY !!

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  29. Hey Paula,
    Thanks for schooling me on the process of doing up honey, very interesting indeed...

    Hubby, speaks of be hives, but he is terrified of bees (bad run-in with them as a child)about the time he sees them coming from the combs and landing on the ceiling, it'd be all over.

    You have babies :) they are so adorable.

    Rusty,(turns out he's a rooster) is now alittle over 2 months and Itty-Bitty (think, is a hen)is just over 1 month. With temps starting to dip we hope they'll winter over well.

    Beeswax candles, I'd so love to learn how that is done...

    Blessings, Mel

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  30. I'd love to get bees - but I'm allergic and each time the reaction gets worse. That's fantastic that there was that much honey in there!
    Kris

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  31. So sorry to hear your hive moved away, but the little fuzzies are just darling! Blessings,Kathleen

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  32. This was so interesting. Thanks for sharing on how the honey was processed.
    Love your little fuzzies! They are just too cute!

    Irma :)

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  33. Sat. - Hi Paula, I have posted a photo of John's grandma's honey dish. I wonder if you are your dad have ever seen or heard of one?

    You all have a nice night!

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  34. Paula I am soooo happy for you guys! That was a really good turnout on the honey! I have over the years really learned to appreciate "GOOD" honey! Not all honey is good you know! Yours really looks good......yes it is liquid gold! My husband found some localish honey a couple weeks ago that was almost the best we have ever had!! Yay!

    I used to love the clean up cause you can lick your fingers all you want!!!! Enjoy!!

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  35. I love reading about your farm. I know there are high's and low's but I pray the high's are more. Your father looked like he was in warped speed. What kind of honey is it, its so beautiful? What a blessing it is for this city gal to come visit your blog to get her spirit lifted.

    I love bees, they come every year to my patio where I have several water fountains. Summer before last I saw none and it bothered me. I wondered where they went, each day I looked out watching for them. In years past they would drink and fly over the house in the direction of a ravine, creek and many trees, some dead. I wondered if that was where the hive was. Finally this summer some bees came. They started in around April but by July they no longer came. They were different than the normal honey bees from past years. Their body color are all dark gray with a tuff of buff at the back of the neck.

    A friend of my husband's started a hive last year, with this cold winter we are having I need to check to see how his hive is doing.

    After reading about your experience, Its got my interest up and I will check out some books on bee keeping. Without bees, where would we be? Perfect creation from God.

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  36. So Awesome! My husband was to have bees on our land, but I don't know. I'm so worried about how it will impact us while living on the same acreage. I don't know a THINK about it. But, we sure love local honey!
    I'll be back to read some more. In fact, I'm taking my husband on a blog date so we can come look at your posts about bees again, together.

    Lana @ www.farmlifelessons.blogspot.com

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