Sunday, October 12, 2008

Digging for gold

Beekeeping is a humbling hobby. There is a college study course to become a Master Beekeeper. However, that title is pretty much of a misnomer. It seems pretty impossible to master beekeeping. There is just not a recipe that works. It is a lifetime internship of trial and error and a bit of honey. Sometimes a bit more honey than other times. This year during honey harvest, we encountered a new problem. We had honey that crystallized in the comb. My, oh my, try extracting that! The hot uncapping knife is a lethal weapon on any good day with perfect honey supers. Even our experienced uncappers have a few marks from this year’s brutal task.


Our main crew

Our cheerful helpers deserve the highest praise for the efforts of this weekend. Kevin and Nancy did all of the uncapping. Their hands will probably recover in a couple of weeks. Actually, they did much more than the uncapping. There is always work to do—scraping and cleaning and pressing. They worked double time all of the time.



Because we were working with some crystallized honey, the filters needed constant attention and cleaning. Kent showed incredible fortitude in sticking with this nasty sticky project for many hours on Saturday and again some on Sunday afternoon! We were so proud of him. He was a great encouragement. Not only that, he often cleaned out the cappings presser and did some scrubbing on the supers as well. It was a tough, yukky, tedious workday! Kent showed maturity beyond his years.


Jessica bottled and bottled and bottled honey—more than 300 pounds—seldom taking a break. She never lost her concentration and there were very few drips. Sometimes she even sang as she worked! What a privilege to have her on our team!


Bob and Kevin put the supers with crystallized honey on the back deck for the bees to work. The bees are excited to help. It is such fun to watch them! Within a few days the frames will be nice and clean.


And then my hubby—the overseer, encourager, extractor operator—on his feet, up and down a stepstool, for two whole days, doing all kinds of jobs. I am praying that he has a great sleep tonight with no leg cramps!



Bob is embracing the sweat.


More crew arrive.

Steven was otherwise occupied during part of the day being the goalie on his winning soccer team.

David will be 11 years old tomorrow and made cupcakes for all of us to enjoy. Susan, Morgan, Hale, Seamus and Kathi all came to celebrate with us. It is always fun for us to see the cousins together.




Yay—we are done harvesting honey! The garage is clean again. We have boxes of delicious bottled backyard honey—in four or five different sizes, fresh, and ready for sale. However, if we add in any labor costs, it is totally unaffordable.

This is newly bottled comb honey.


We are all a good kind of exhausted.
We will feel better in the morning!


4 comments:

Donna said...

Wow! What a job! I'm very impressed with all your helpers; sounds like it was a team effort. Has Bob thought about getting out of bee-keeping? Donna

Lynn said...

I like Bob in his do-rag....(I think that's what Harley riders call it!) I had no idea how much work honey extracting is! I will appreciate it so much more...300 pounds? It's so neat to see the young ones learning and getting involved!
love to you my dear cousin!

Debara said...

Brenda and Bob,
Oh how your blog makes me miss you!!!
What fun to see the process and Nancy too in one of the photos.

Debara

Debara said...

Brenda and Bob,
Oh how your blog makes me miss you!!!
What fun to see the process and Nancy too in one of the photos.

Debara