Sunday, August 11, 2019

Our Very First Honey Harvest!!!!

For the second morning in a row - I was up before daylight!
And trust me - that second morning is harder than the first.
Louis Dean got up when I did and we sat with our coffee watching the morning sky.

He was nearly as excited as I was about today's adventure!
Sherry drove up right at 7:00 - just as we planned.
I was a tiny bit late so it was 7:10 when I was pulling my bee suit on.

Here we are fully outfitted!

Thanks to Dean for the pictures today of us working the hives.
Both father and son are so supportive of us!
We are back behind the hives getting the smoker going.
This is a talent and we are working on it.
Today we used waxed corrugated cardboard and burlap rolls. 
You can use twigs and grass and such, but you need a smoldering fire in that smoker that will last for the length of time you are with the bees.

Our smoker worked well today.

Sherry and I work well together.
I smoked the bees and she did the hard work of lifting each frame out - shaking it HARD to drop most of the bees off - and then I brushed the last few away with our bee brush.
THIS was probably the most exciting moment of the whole day!
Our first frame and it was yellow gold!!

We worked the gentle hive first.

Since it was early - it wasn't as hot as if we had waited until 10:00 or so.

Each of the two hives has a bottom brood box and then two supers (boxes) on top.
The lower super has the honey made from the spring flowers.
The top super is made of summer flowers - which around here include bitterweed.

We had four tubs and labeled them. Tubs 1 and 3 had bitterweed and 3 and 4 did not.
The bitterweed honey is still good and is of excellent medicinal use.
Still we thought to keep them separate.

We went on to the second hive which had the more aggressive bees at our last hive inspection.
However, the prayers of our friends and - I confess to praying for our bees - this hive was as well mannered as the first one.

By 8:20 this morning, Sherry and I were sitting in the truck by her house basking in the AC and so full of pure delight from the harvest that we just sat there for a good 5 minutes or more.
It actually took us less than 45 minutes to harvest these 36 frames of honey.

Frames loaded with honey!
We only had ONE frame that had brood in it - baby bees.
We left it in the hive and replaced all removed frames with new ones.
Tomorrow we will go down and do a 'bucket feed.'
You put a heavy mixture of sugar and water in a big bucket and then add some branches and grasses for the bees to crawl on. You do not want the bees to drown.
We just took a good supply of their honey and they are going to be diligently working to replace that.
There is not much blooming at the present time so they need a bit of extra groceries!

Our first honey harvest!

It was such a beautiful sight!
NO wax moths! NO dark frames. NO bee stings.

A totally successful honey harvest!

Harvest from box #4!
Ruth Ann gave Sherry the big vintage bottles on the far left and right.
Something tells me she's going to get one of those bottles back! 
FULL of golden honey!

All these jars are from box #1!

We even had some extra comb that was along the bottom of a frame.
We cut it up and put some in a few of the jars.
We leave the wax on the frames and after the bees  clean them off, they are returned to the hive so the bees can continue with their honey production. This honey will be their winter food.

All this honey is such a beautiful thing!

It was mess - but a controlled mess.
Sherry had plastic on the floor and we  had a system going that worked well for us.
What Sherry is holding in this photo is the beeswax from our harvest.
We could have had a lot more if we did not return the wax to the hives, but we think it is in our best interests to give the bees a head start so they don't have to work as hard.
Next year we may get two harvests! A spring and a summer one.

The honey from box #1 and #3 went into larger jars.
These will be used to make mead - yet another adventure awaits!

Today was such a good day!
Praise God and thank you for the prayers.
I'm going to bed tonight with a grateful heart......
God is so good to me.

While I wish I could give everyone a taste of our honey - I can at least do a honey giveaway!
Starting with this post and continuing through August, everyone who comments will be entered.

And now - I am going to bed after being up 17 hours with only sleeping 5 hours the night before.
I am so going to stay in bed tomorrow until noon!
But - oh, my goodness!!! 
This was so much fun!


Tammijo said...

That honey looks amazing!!!

Bluebird49 said...

It went so well with the smoke calming them. That honey is gorgeous.
A fascinating day.
Rest Monday!!

Denise said...

Congratulations, looks beautiful.

Small Kucing said...

That's a LOT of honey :) . Congratulations!

Kathy said...

Wow! What a great harvest. You and Sherry are brave to do this. I would be afraid. I am not a fan of honey but Joe loves it. I have to show him this post.

Linda R Stephens said...

I am so happy for you and Sherry and your wonderful harvest of honey. It is so good for you! God is so good!

Tina said...

So, so happy for you and Sherry that everything went so well! And very proud of both of you that you've worked so hard at learning to be beekeepers! The honey is gorgeous and anyone who receives some is lucky indeed! Hope you had good, restorative sleep last night and that you get to sleep in late this Monday morning! Have a wonderful day!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's a lot of work for sure but how rewarding! Love seeing the photos! Enjoy your day...take a nap!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What a wonderful harvest. Great to see the two of you working together to get the job done. I think it's good the the two of you are in thes together. Certainly makes it easier an d more fun too, I'm thinking. Enjoy the fruit of your labors!

MimiG said...

That is such a process - I never knew it took quite so much to get it to the jars! Y'all had a really great harvest - happy for both of you! I'm terrified of bees as I'm allergic. I do love to eat it though.. LOL And, you - you are a worker girl! Up at 6.. I am impressed. But, then again, it brought such fun and joy to you..
Glad that Dean and LD are such support to you both. Enjoy your well deserved rest. Oh, and I've add Mead - delicious!
Your Santa paintings are looking great - I've been reading, but not had time to comment - my nephew had to have emergency heart surgery, 4 bypasses and Afib and valve work. He's up in a chair now and walking after 4 days. We're so proud of him.

Arlene @Nanaland said...

You all got quite the harvest. We are supposed to get one more hive harvested before fall. Someone tole us that we should not use the wax but I tole them, hey, we have plenty of honey for us and this way, we just get one harevst a year which is all we need. And I love playing with the wax too. I look forward to seeing your mead adventures. We had some mead at Savannah Bee. Marvin was not a big fan but it is very interesting. Honey can be used for just about anything. So glad you had to stings and that extractor made harvest a breeze. My kitchen is sticky for

Deanna Rabe said...

I just love hearing your delight and excitement in the video! You and Sherry did great! And what a wonderful harvest!

I'm already looking forward to next year's harvest! Fingers crossed for two!

Vee said...

Congratulations, everyone! What gorgeous honey! Everything went so smoothly...praise be to God... Your hives are healthy and happy. Guess praying for the bees works.🐝🐝🐝 Enjoy the fruits of your labor in good health.🍯 (I think I need to find my honey man stat.)

Susie said...

Linda, Honestly I almost and Sherry did a great job, no stings or craziness and your are beginners. Hooray for both of you. I love seeing all the pretty honey so perfect in color. You two may have to start selling honey in little jars. :) Congratulations to you both. I bet the men were proud as could "bee" of Sherry and you. Blessings to all, xoxo,love you, Susie
P.S. Seems you girls might be teaching the oldsters a thing or two.

Changes in the wind said...

Fascinating!! Such a beautiful golden color and how wonderful that you and Sherry experienced this together. Can't imagine how you will ever use all that honey but it does last forever:)

Diana Ferguson said...

Congratulations on a successful harvest! So rewarding.

VintageCrafter said...

I loved learning about your honey harvesting! So fascinating. Enjoy your rewards.

Belle said...

That looks like so much fun! You are a brave woman, and what a beautiful honey harvest!

MadSnapper said...

LOVED the video of the first honey. wow. and after seeing all your post on harvesting honey, now I know why it is so expensive, in stores or at fresh produce places. worth every penny.. make that dollar...looks yummy and so glad it all went well with no stings. you are both very talented and brave.

photowannabe said...

Linda...You definitely Struck GOLD !!
Praise the Lord for hHis bounty. What beautiful honey and your harvesting went just as planned.
Thanks for the UTube videos too.
I certainly hope you slept well and stayed in bed just as long as you wanted.

Ginny Hartzler said...

Hurrah, so glad it went this well!!! Absolutely perfect! And I am looking forward to the fun possibility of maybe getting some honey! This is yet another thing about you that I are always so open to new adventures and learning new things. I look forward to the mead adventure this fall!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda! Linda in Keno, OR here. I loved reading about your bee adventures. Please sign me up for the honey draw. Fingers crossed here in southern Oregon.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks, Linda, for explaining this entire process through this post in words and photos. I do like honey and did know it took a lot of work on the part of the bees and humans to harvest. Glad that both you and Sherry had such successful, safe and obviously bountiful harvest of honey. Anyone who wins your drawing would be glad to receive that gift ��

Luann said...

This was an amazing adventure. You can also use the bees wax for sewing thread. I still have the gadget my grandmother gave me way back in the 70's with the original bees wax in it. The purpose is to lubricate the thread when hand sewing so that It glides through the material easier and doesn't get tangled. Congrats on your very first harvest!

BeachGypsy said...

Oh Linda my friend what a 'SWEET' post!!! ha ha LOL--couldn't resist! Love seeing the whole process and the jars of golden honey are just beautiful. For beginners, y'all are sure doing a great job! I've learned alot from these beekeeping posts for sure!--things I never knew. I do love honey, always have. I mean, who could not love honey!? LOL Grew up eating it on my Ma-Maw's big delicious biscuits, that is--when I wasn't eating the biscuits smothered in her amazing GRAVY!! lol

Kathy M. said...

Your honey is beautiful. My husband eats a teaspoon of local he met every day to help with seasonal allergies.

Chatty Crone said...

That honey is just gorgeous - such a beautiful color. I know you are excited because I was excited for you. They are such scary things to me. I have heard that we can't live life without bees. So tell me why do bees make honey - what do they want to use it for? Do you know? Great job!!!!!!!!!!! Sandie

Jan said...

Thank for the giveaway. What a bee adventure. Great. Please enter me in the drawing.

Carla said...

2 questions - When Sherry was shaking the screen to get the bees off that didn't make them mad? and How do you know the between the summer and spring flowers?

Cute blog background. And mead in the future. Fun

Hootin' Anni said...

How THRILLING!! Definitely work, but the outcome?...perfection.

1PrairieGirl said...

I am just thrilled to have found your blog. I am a lifelong homemaker and a Christian. Love the posts I have read and look forward to reading all. My interests are hand spinning, knitting, reading, and all things home related. Your bee hives and honey collecting were delightful to read about!

Linda said...

I am so pleased to meet you! Are you on Facebook by any chance?