Monday, April 30, 2012

Honey time

My husband can get into some crazy things, y’all. Last year at the Georgia National Fair, we visited the bee booth that had a live hive sandwiched in plexiglass and he announced that we needed to get some honey bees. I have to admit he has dabbled in wine making, hard apple cider making, and has preserved a myriad of canned items and they have all been successful so I didn’t object-too much.  Since the hives are behind his sister’s house, I was terrified that one of the kids would get stung a million times like that boy on My Girl. More on that later.
One weekend in February, Justin stopped at a local apiary and bought two hives already set up with bees and all. He put them out and checked on them weekly. This past Friday, I took off work and it was time to extract the honey. It was a little tough and we learned a lot as we went along.100_1308 100_1309 
Remember I said I was terrified of the bees swarming and attacking? Well, we only have two bee suits and a friend came over to watch Justin get the hives. I stayed back for the most part but one time I was a little brave and was able to sneak up behind Justin to snap this shot with shorts and flip flops on. Apparently we have docile, happy little honey bees.
Justin really impresses me with his knowledge of how the hive works, what all the technical terms are, and his ability to figure it all out. He even talked to the apiarist we bought the hives from and found out that a light dusting of powdered sugar will treat mites in bees. (That little bit of info is free for y’all.)
It’s a little difficult to see but those little shots of glistening is actually honey!
We took the frames home and scraped the beeswax and honey into a cooler that had a screen built into the bottom. More professional honey folks have centrifuges that spin the honey out to separate it from the wax, but we always have to figure out things the hard way instead of spending cold hard cash. It actually worked pretty well.
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We let the honey filter through the screen into another bucket that was topped with cheese cloth. Let me just tell you--Justin and I couldn’t help dipping our fingers in there and eating it right out of the cooler.
We ended up with more than five FIVE 5(!) gallons of honey. I don’t think I typed that big enough:
We have to let it settle a bit more and pretty soon we’ll get to enjoy the hard work. Next on my project list is making beeswax lotion bars and candles. I have about 15 pounds of beeswax to work with.

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