I've been wanting to post the pictures but as usual time is an issue around here. We always seem to have more to do than there is ever time for. But finally here are the pics!It was messy but not as bad as I thought it would be and if you put down some cardboard you can carry the whole mess outside and let the bees clean it up!
First we had to put on our suits and veils and go out to the hives to take the honey supers off...... which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds like it should be. Bees are very protective of their homes and their honey. Once we had the frames of honey we took them into the kitchen and here's how we extracted our honey.
Bees are so cool! They make their own little pantry out of wax to store their honey in, all we have to do is give them a frame to build the wax in. I had to cut the wax out so I could crush the cells that the honey is stored in. If we had bought an extractor bucket we could have just put the frame in there and spun the honey out but those can be pricey so for now we are crushing the comb and straining it.
The white coating means that the bees have evaporated the right amount of water off of the honey so it won't ferment. Honey that has a moisture content higher than 18% will ferment and I don't think I want to eat that! Not all of the honey we had in the hives was capped so we will have more to come later on.
(I apologize for the pictures being kind of odd... Fred is just learning to take them)
Then we had to crush the comb that the bees built so that we could get the honey to strain out. I tried several different things but so far my old tater masher works best.
The kids bought a bottling bucket and strainers that sit inside the top. It takes the honey a little while to filter through all of the strainers.
Caleb is not patient enough to just wait for it to filter either. He sat there about half the time catching and claiming the drips.
12 ounces of honey is a pound. Here is the kid's first six pounds of honey. So far they have harvested around 20 pounds. They won't be selling any this year, but we have really enjoyed the honey we've gotten so far. I think next year we need more bees!
And here are the happy little beekeepers! We melted down all the wax in our old solar oven... now turned solar wax melter. The kids will use that in their soaps and lotions and salves and whatever else they can think of to turn it into.