Monday, September 13, 2010

Honey day!

Saturday was honey extraction day! The weather was perfect, sunny and not too hot. The girls were very cooperative and didn't even attempt to sting us as we stole their honey.

Gordon made me stand in the blinding sunlight so I couldn't open my eyes. I am holding the inside lid of the hive, which I was about to put back in. We were too busy to take more photos outside! Next time I'll get a friend to take photos of us at work.

Me and the shiny new extractor. Bee suits are not slimming, nor were we dressed for fashion! It gets pretty sticky in the honey house.

A boy and his extractor. True love!

A frame of capped honey. The bees cover each hexagonal cell with wax when the honey is ripe and ready to store.

You have to scrape or cut off all the wax cappings before putting the frame in the extractor. The cappings are cleaned and eventually turned into blocks of beeswax, candles, you name it... I haven't dealt with that yet!

One frame in, 19 more to go! This extractor will spin 20 shallow frames at once.

All loaded and ready to spin. The extractor uses centrifugal force to spin the honey out of the frames. It goes to the bottom of the extractor...

...and drains out the honey gate! Here it comes!

This is a five gallon bucket, which holds about 60 lbs of honey. I think we got about 90 lbs of honey on Saturday. We extracted some honey in August at a friend's place and got about 30 lbs, so altogether this years' harvest is about 120 lbs. Not bad for our first harvest year!

We had lots of fun and as you can see Gordon is very pleased with himself. I would like to add that he does not normally wear socks and Birkenstocks. He slipped those on after taking off his boots. It was hard not to track honey everywhere!

Beekeeping rocks, and we are grateful to the bee-girls for supplying us with all this beautiful honey.


  1. How exciting! And 90lbs?! Wow. Just wow.

    I think you guys should adopt me and I'll be your bee carer and chicken patroler. My husband, on the other hand, not so much.

    Are you planning to sell your honey? Local farmers' market or shops? Maybe online? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

  2. I take it that honey will feature in your cooking for the coming 12 months! A great haul of deliciousness!

  3. Wow, that's a lot of honey! Can I buy a jar of your honey???

  4. Very sweet story!

  5. omg! this looks like such fun. we had a beehouse (is that what it's called in school, but the whole process was never really explained to us.

    cheers to the girls and their honey =)

  6. Busy as a bee to collect its honey. It's really true. From now on, I'll think of the hard work of beekeepers when I eat sweet honey. Great job!

  7. Hi Nat,

    I am impressed with your honey harvest.

    Hope we will see you soon and I could get some.

    Maybe honey for cinnamon buns?

  8. Michele, I think your boys (big and small) would miss you if you came to live here!

    i would love to sell honey online. I need to check out the regulations. For within Canada, I think I just need proper labelling...but first I need to get the stuff filtered and into jars. Also I need to figure out how to mail it at a reasonable cost!

  9. Jams, I want to sell the stuff! :)

    Monika, once I get it in jars, I would love to send you some.

    PP, you had bees at school? How cool! I must try some Sri Lankan honey when I am next there. Someone at my bee association meeting the other night had honey from Cuba. I think they extracted it near a cigar fire... it tasted like smoke!

    Claude, the bees work WAY harder than the beekeepers. :)

  10. I saw this post and I thought you might be interested.

  11. SugarCreek, I never thanked you for that link. THANK YOU! It's a great idea nad I'm going to do it.

  12. Anonymous12:29 pm

    WOW FASCINATING!!! and you look absolutely adorable in your bee outfit :)

    and there isn't anything deviant about socks with sandals ... it's just evil social pressure that makes us think so.


    but big CONGRATS on the honey harvest. that is just soooooo coool!

  13. Hi guys! it's Barb, your friend in honey. I love your blog Natalie and congratulations on such a big fat harvest. Those must've been some happy bees! isn't it so much fun? it makes me feel connected in a way that we seem to have lost sometimes. i look forward to seeing you again.

  14. Hey Barb, nice to see you here! I just love beekeeping, and my bees. I think of you every time I rescue one of the girls (like when I took some into the "honey house" by accident, then took them back to the hives!) :)


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!