Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Bug Budies Honey Harvest !
It always amazes me when you have these lifelong visions for something. Then one day they come true, that feeling is truly untouchable!
Recently I had one of those powerful days when Jim and I set out to harvest our honey. We were happily accompanied by close family and all of us were on the same page of joy and gratitude. We set off to uncle Harry's where our bees have been enjoying the summer sun and abundance of wild flowers.
All suited up we lit the smoker and headed to the hives. For the first time holding a jar of stink (bee gone), a product that we used to remove the bees from the honey supper that we were intending to take. The removal of bees from a honey super may be done by shaking the bees off, using a feather or brush, a bee escape, or something like "bee gone" that sticks. We put drops of the "bee gone" on a piece of fabric that went over the honey super and waited for the bees to go down into the bottom of the hive. After 5-10 minutes we took the honey super off, covered up the hive, and took the honey super to the truck. Bees were still buzzing around us in confusing and shock but we drove off and headed home.
We used a brand new global bread knife to remove the capping's from the frames. Spinning only capped honey because uncapped honey has a high water content and could ferment.
Our hand crank extractor fits two frames at a time. All of us enjoyed hand cranking out the sweet smelling honey. As it spins you can see honey hitting the inside of the extractor like rain drops. Hard to believe that it adds up to be much but we ended up harvesting 20 pounds. Not much in the bee keeping world but for our first year we were thrilled!
When all the honey spinning was finished we celebrated the abundance of family and honey with Champagne, "Black Current Honey Wine"
made by our dear mentor beekeeper, Todd at Honey Gardens (www.honeygardens.com) in Ferrisburgh VT, and a big pot of Choucroute, with Red Hen Bread (www.redhenbaking.com/).
Plus lots of French Mustard! We toasted to all of the many people that graciously guided us along the way.
All of this outside, dining next to one of Jim's rockin' bond fires.
Choucroute is a famous Alsatian recipe for preparing sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats, and often potatoes. Riesling is added with juniper berries, caraway seeds, and bay leaves. It simmers for 40 minutes and is served hot with crusty bread! This is a great recipe to make for a crowd and is best served on cold nights.
Grateful for this opportunity to share our story with you.
Bee well and keep in touch!