August 30, 2015

Early Harvest

I drove north to see my bees today. And much to my surprise, they were doing amazingly well. So well, I decided to grab a super (one box) of frames to bring home to harvest. And so well, that they were incredibly docile and didn't mind a ton that I was stealing it.

Once home, I set everything up outside. Since there were few bugs, and it would keep me away from Beasley's inquiring nose, it seemed like a good plan. I started by scratching the wax cappings off the frame to expose the sweet, gooey honey below.

Once I had two frames uncapped, I put them into the extractor. It's just a giant centrifuge that I crank manually on top. Crank it one way for a while (30 seconds-ish), and then crank it the other. Then check to see if they were spun out. If they are, I removed them and did it again.

After my 7 frames (The 8th frame in the box wasn't fully capped, which meant the water content was too high. Above 18%, and your honey will ferment!), I took the operation inside.

Which is where I opened up the honey gate and let it drain into the cappings tank. That way all the run-off is in one place. Plus, it strains out all the giant wax pieces.

From there, I opened up that honey gate and let it flow through a few sieves (600 micron) to get rid of wings and wax and other gunk.

Once strained, I pulled out a ladle and bottled 13 of them up where they can sit until the air bubbles settle out. There's still more to bottle (almost that much again), but I ran out of bottles. (Amazon to the rescue tomorrow!) But I feel a little drunk on the sweetness since I kept licking off everything it was dripping on during the process. Ahhh, I'm so happy things are going right so far.

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