Friday, September 5, 2014

Pulling Down Honey

Monday morning, we headed out to Justin’s parent’s house where our honeybees reside to steal their summer’s toil. We were robbing honey for our own use.
I spotted this dragonfly on the day lily stems and couldn’t resist snapping a picture of its fancy iridescent body and translucent wings.
I was able to get a photo of Justin smoking and dusting the bees off the frames before I got stung. One of the bees got tangled up in my hair and stung me right at my hair line. It hurt like a beast and I immediately popped two Benadryl (even though they were years out of date).
I woke up Tuesday morning like this:
Sorry I know it’s gross, but apparently the venom from the honeybee traveled down my face and made my entire eye swell shut. I quickly made it to the family clinic in town and walked away with a prescription for steroids, prescription antihistamines, and fresh Benadryl that wasn’t out of date. I slept most of the rest of the day. I was better enough on Wednesday to be able to drive and head off to the Governor’s Tourism Conference in Augusta.
***Now back to the original programming***
With the exception of the  one of her scraping honey combs, Sami took all of these pictures. I shamelessly use her photographic genius for blog material with her gracious permission.
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This is what the uncapped frames look like right out of the hive. The bees seal each compartment with beeswax.
We scraped, scraped, scraped. Usually pros use a hot uncapping knife and load their frames into a centrifuge but we haven’t become that high tech. We just scrape the cappings and honey into a colander. We let the honey drain out of the wax and into a giant Tupperware bowl.
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Our frames have plastic foundations to build their combs on. We stack the scraped frames up and put them out by the hives for the bees to clean off. They will clear every bit of honey out of the pots and frames in no time!
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After that, we strained the honey a bit more. I like to get as much of the cappings and beeswax out of the way as possible.
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Amanda squeezed the cappings to get every last bit of honey out. I think she was just having fun making a mess too! Justin said eventually the honey will drain out of the cappings on its own.
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Catching every last drop. It’s a messy business and we don’t want to lose any of that precious honey!
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While we were scraping the honey from the frames, Mrs. Desiree popped some biscuits into the oven. There’s nothing better than hot biscuits that have been rained down upon with fresh-from-the-hive honey!
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After we finished scraping all of the honey, Sami snapped a few pictures of the kids and Mr. Sheldon digging sweet potatoes from the garden. Some of them were bigger than two hands!
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Later that afternoon, we had a cookout at my Mama and Daddy’s house. We wanted to get a picture of all three boys together and some with Mimi and Pop. This was probably Sami’s hardest session ever. Wyatt and Liam were being ornery and neither would smile on cue. Thankfully, she was able to get at least one good picture of the three of them—even if it took some considerable Photoshopping skills!

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