Friday, July 30, 2021

Bees, Food and Honey Harvest!

It was dusk on Wednesday evening when we arrived at the house in Abbott to look at the bee situation there. The lady is a friend of Dean's - or her husband was. She is a widow now and is worried about the bees and the fact that she can't get a plumber out to look at her water leak because of the bees swarming right around that area.

Sherry did, indeed, find the bees and they were gentle ones.
This bee retrieval should not be too difficult.
Dean and Sherry will follow up with her on when to come get the bees.

It was after 10:00 by the time we were back at the ranch and Louis Dean had a nice campfire waiting on me. We did some 'Front Porch Sitting' before going to bed that night.

Gazing into a campfire can certainly relax you and make you sleepy!

I woke up Thursday morning and Louis Dean was shelling purple hulled peas with the same diligence he uses when he shells pecans.

He's been staying busy with mowing and gardening, organizing and doing one small poject after the other. Keeps him out of trouble! He takes plenty of water breaks so he doesn't get too hot!

Thursday night Dean and Sherry came down for dinner. This starts off our weekend since Sherry is off on Fridays.
I cooked a pot of the peas that were as fresh from the garden as it's possible to be.
Baked potatoes in the big crockpot and the peas in a smaller one. I also made up a tray of pepper poppers using cream cheese and shredded cheddar as the filling seasoned with a sprinkle of Slap Ya Moma Cajun seasoning.

We love this stuff!

It was a late dinner and then we were all off to bed as Friday was an early morning for us.
I was asleep by midnight but awake from 3:00 AM and finally got up at 6:00!

Once you suit up, you can't get to your face!
That didn't stop Dean from getting one last sip of coffee before we headed for the apiary.

I was so excited I even put on some make up for the occasion! 

Early morning before the bees are awake or right before dark when they are all in from the day's foraging - these are two of the best times to do bee work.
You can see the red roof of the camper cabin back in the distance.

Love all the wildflowers!

We worked our way around the bee yard, starting with Hive #6 first.
This was our most productive hive this year and the only one with a super full of honey.

We had put 'Ross Rounds' on this hive but the bees totally ignored them.


This is what they are SUPPOSED to look like!


It's a good idea and we will try again next year.

Sherry keeps a notebook with a section for each hive making notes after inspecting and working it.
We only have 6 hives - we lost one hive to wax moths recently - so we take a personal interest in each one.
Beekeepers with a large number of hives are more impersonal as they have too many to take copious notes on like we are doing. This is one way we are documenting our bee adventures.
We may need to add another notebook for our hive removal adventures!

We ended up with 10 frames heavy with golden honey to harvest this year.

All the equipment is set up in Sherry's kitchen.
Last year it was a much bigger operation!
We used plastic on the floor and this year opted for cardboard. MUCH better!

This is like a perfect frame of honey!

The first step is to decap it......rake off the top layer of wax.

And this is how you do it!

Next you spin the frames - three at a time - in the extractor.
We have a hand cranked one. 
Spin. Stop. Turn the frames around and spin them again
This slings the honey off of both sides of the frames.

Then open the honey gate and pour it our in a busket with a strainer on top.

The strainer filters out all the wax particles as well as bee wings, legs and such.

At last you pour the filtered honey up in the jars!

Pure honey gold!!

We ended up with around 40 pounds of honey - that's a little over 4 gallons.
Last year we produced 15 gallons so this was not a normal year for honey harvests.
Still, any harvest is better than no harvest.

Sherry served a cold cut tray with deli meats and cheeses, olives, onions, sliced tomatoes and crackers for our lunch. Plus we sampled the honey. Delicious!
We taste tested it compared to a bottle of last year's honey - and proclaimed 2021 even better!
The coloring of the honey is about the same which stands to reason since they eat pretty much the same kind of flowers each year. We are planting more wildflowers and roses, clover, trumpet vines and honeysuckle all with the bees in mind.

We took the frames out to the shade trees not far from the apiary for the bees to clean then up.
There's still a good little bit of honey in them so the bees will take that back to the hive and they will build up another supply of honey which we will leave in the hives for them to winter on.

This is my portion and Sherry got the same amount.
We just divide it right down the middle.
To make it simpler, we poured it all up in quart jars and we can rebottle into smaller ones later for selling or gift giving.

We were completely finished by noon - and since I had been awake since 3:00 AM,
I came in and took a nice 4-hour long nap in the girl bunk!

Tomorrow we will finish up our bee work with putting the frames back in the supers and treating all of them for hive beetles.

Honey Harvest 2021 is DONE!
Now plans are afoot for buying more supers and brood boxes to enlarge our apiary!


Mary in Colorado said...

I have a present for you but I don’t have an address for you. I am quite certain you will like it…I bought it with you in mind.I so enjoy your blog and all your adventures!, Mary in Colorado

Linda said...

My email address is
Send me an email and we can exchange addresses!!
I’ll check to see if I have yours! But I’m not sure of your last name….

Mary in Colorado said...

Hi Linda!! I JUST JUST WROTE YOU A LONg WINDED MESSAGE THAT SOMEHOW DISAPPEARED AFTER I WROTE IT. MY ADDRESS IS 303 SAN JUAN AVE. IN ALAMOSA,COLORADO 81101 I wrote you a fan mail a couple years ago and you wrote back. I AM AN 80 year old lady who doesn’t feel old…have 2 adopted kids I am raising and am a therapist who runs a Program called Kids Place serving grandparents who are raising their grandchildren…and work with the children as well. 85 percent of all kids who are no longer in the custody of their parents{in theUSA} are in the custody of grandparents…due to parental use of opioids,herion,etc.. A national epedemic for sure. My adopted kids are not my own grandkids but are kids I knew and loved. Another too long email!! Hope to hear from you…Mary Hennessey

Vee said...

So much to bee keeping! The thrill of the harvest keeps you going. And adding even more? You and Sherri are go-getters.

Enjoy the honey. 🍯

Arlene @Nanaland said...

Beautiful honey!! Glad you all got some honey this year. I think it has been a hard year for all bee keepers.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love the advice! And it's a lot of work but you sure had a successful year! And how do you look so pretty even in a bee suit? Inquiring minds want to know! heehee!

Changes in the wind said...

Love learning the in's and out's of your bee keeping and the honey looks beautiful. So happy you will be able to help the lady with her bee problem and they won't have to be killed.

MadSnapper said...

oh wow, that is what i thought watching the honey videos and it is just amazing to me. now I know why fresh honey cost so much... a lot of work but worth it. you all are doing so good with it and helping people get rid of unwanted bees if fantastic. in the distant past daddy would have simply burned them out, i have watched him burn hornet nest that way... your way is saving the planet. have a yumm week end. don't forget to wear your mask again.
i got an email from the nursing home where bob's son lives, they new varaint has hit them, 4 staff 2 residents are down with the new covid varaint, in St Petersburg. and another email from a friend who lives in st pete, she has it also and all of them were vaccinated in march....

photowannabe said...

All the work involved in the "making" of honey is fascinating. That Pure Gold is amazing, and you look fabulous in your Bee Outfit.
You are Busy as a Bee for your week down on the Ranch.
Stay cool and enjoy your time there.
Sue of photowannabe

Lady Samy said...

You are very cute, And what a beautiful harvest of honey.
I love honey. Beautiful creation of God! I've already put your blog on my favorites list. Pay me a visit.
A nice weekend!
Lady Samy

Miss Dishywoo said...

I have enjoyed every word and picture you have posted on your beekeeping experiences. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

I am always so intrigued when I read about bee keeping. Though Im sort of afraid of bees, I would love to have a few hives for honey. I love honey but its hard to find good stuff around here. When I do find some fresh honey, they price is outrageous.
I love the new look of your blog.

Carole said...

bees lookk like hard work but you get an output! Cheers

jujupage1 said...

Thanks for sharing this interesting process. My mum would like to get a bee hive and now I'll be able to give her all the information that she needs!🙂💜