Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Honey Extracting Party

I decided to celebrate Independence Day this year by liberating some honey from several of my hives. In all, I took nearly five full supers from four hives. Other hives weren't quite ready; whether they had lots of uncapped honey or were too young (swarms; hive cutouts) to have excess honey.

My longtime friends (a million years ago from high school, for cryin' out loud!) Rob and Catherine came over to lend a hand. Both were very interested in the process, and I was more than happy to get the help! Here's they are, learning to uncap the honey frames:

And here's a shot of one of the frames. We had approximately 40 or so that looked like this:

Notice the dark patch? We actually had a surprising mix of honey; ranging from very dark (I'm guessing California buckwheat, Hollyleaf Cherry and wildflowers/domestic flowers like red apple and lavender) to nearly clear (we had an awesome sage bloom this year, with at least three different sage types). Can't wait to sample what that eclectic blend tastes like!

We ran into some delay when the extractor started "binding," meaning the gears weren't properly meshing and it was nearly impossible to spin. Fortunately, Rob is the next best thing to McGyver, and he had it disassembled, cleaned, lubed and up and running again in no time.

We left a heap of cappings in the extractor to drain through the filter when we were done, and it looks like we just about filled the holding tank under the extractor--- meaning we got about 100 lbs; which is about what I estimated. Remember, I took honey from some of these same hives on April 10 of this year, so in just under three months they replenished their reserves quite nicely. Depending on how the summer/fall flow looks, I hope to do another extraction right around this date in October.

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