Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Gift from Bees Past

   We lost both of our hives full of bees this past winter.  We have since replaced them with new packages. When we went to clean out the hives of dead bees before the new ones arrived, we found many frames of capped honey.  We had no idea what we should do with this treasure - leave it for the new girls to give them a head start?  Well we left a few frames in the hives for the new girls, but ten remaining ones we put in a large plastic bin and asked our local bee guru what we should do.  He sweetly smiled and said, "Why don't you  just harvest it?"  Funny how simple answers are often the most easily overlooked!
   So yesterday and today we have been harvesting with the crush method.  Because we have plastic-cell foundation, we are not merely cutting it all out, we are more scraping it off the foundation and straining the honey from the wax.
My daughter scraping the cappings off into a pot

getting the last bits into the pot
beautiful, dark fall flower honey - golden rod to be more  precise

 This method means the bees will have to rebuild the wax in order to store more honey, but it also gives us more wax for candles than just the cappings available when we spin out the honey.  

Wax and honey in the strainer

Rinsing the wax after the honey has drained out
    We now have some beautiful dark honey from the golden rod of last fall.  It is a richer, heavier tasting honey than the spring flower honey.   Such an unexpected gift.  Thanks, Bees!

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