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Honey of a Day

And now for something completely different!  Yesterday we headed down to my mom’s house in Virginia to play with her bees!  O.K., we didn’t  really “play” with the critters, however we did get to participate in the yearly honey extraction from the several hives on their property.  She and my step-dad handled the actual bee wrangling to remove the combs we would be using from the hive, complete with proper bee-wrangling attire and equipment.Bees 2 2

Bees 8 2

Did you know that you should never remove all the honey from a hive?  Quite a bit is actually left in the hives for the bees to feed on over the winter.  Luckily, bees are hard workers, and always make enough to share.Bees 6 2 crop

Bees 5

Once the combs are removed from the hives, we bring them over to the tent for honey extraction.  We were fortunate in a rather overcast morning, which helped keep the bees a bit calm.  A few traveled to the tent with us but were very mannerly.

A hot knife is used to slice the caps of wax off both sides of the comb.  Any honey that drips out at this point is caught is a special filtered bin (wax stays on top, honey drips through) and will be added to the other honey we extract with the spinner.Bees 11 2

Bees 23

I very carefully give the hot knife a try!

I very carefully give the hot knife a try!

Once two combs are ready, they are placed in the spinner (think a salad spinner – same concept).  As the handle is cranked, the honey is pulled out of the combs to the sides of the spinner.

putting the combs into the spinner

putting the combs into the spinner

60 cranks, the combs are turned - then 80 more cranks.   Whew!!

60 cranks, the combs are turned - then 80 more cranks. Whew!!

A handy spigot at the bottom of the spinner allows access to the sweet liquid gold!  The honey is poured from the spigot over a filter into a bucket.  After sitting for 24 hours, it will be filtered one more time before it is put into jars and canned. Bees 19 2

Bees 26

Virginia  Wild Flower Honey – Absolutely Divine!!!!

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