Honey Harvest

It was a beautiful warm September day…
our honey bees were out buzzing with delight, bouncing from goldenrod to the leftover flowers in the gardens alongside the house …
it was time to harvest the honey!

The main thing we have learned this year in bee keeping is to respect the bees. They are truly doing US the favor … pollinating the flowers, making the honey, helping out nature … we cannot take any credit for the honey and we are certainly grateful for any honey the bees will share with us. All the work is done by the precious hive. I can see, now, how bee keepers become attached to their little buzzing friends. You learn to work around the energetic bees, being careful not to step on them in the summer as they gather nectar from the purple and white clover around the house …. the girls would always be the first to rescue any possible drowning bee that had found it’s way into our small pool, scooping them out gently and placing them on the fence to dry  … when you keep bees, you  being to take notice of the bees, collecting nectar, all summer long and see them flying about, buzzing here and there … we never swat at them or felt quick to run. The bees were just doing their job. And they were doing it well.

I must admit, though, that Abby has really turned into the bee man.
He is the one that opens the hive to check on it and he has been the one to really get up close and personal with our bees.

For our honey harvest, we were told:
1) wear the bee suit (something we had not done up until this point)
2) be prepared because you WILL get stung.

Well, Abby did wear his bee hat, but, surprisingly, he did not get one sting through the entire process!

Did you know that bees only see fast movement? This means you need to work slowly and with patience when opening the hive and walking around the bees. Abby’s great at this – he’s a patient man, for the most part, and likes to work slowly whereas I would probably rush in, freak out and cause a panic and a bee swarm! Abby has done a great job in opening the hive each time, without creating a big problem for our bees.

The frames were full of honey and very heavy!
We drove them to his garage on our golf cart where we shut the door so the bees would not follow the scent of the honey.

The girls had already seen a friend harvest honey so they were quick and happy to uncap the combs.

Look at that beautiful golden honey! Well done, my bee friends, well done!

Everyone wanted to help …

Once uncapped, we put the honey frames into the spinner, which was generously lent to us by Abby’s uncle.
These spinners are expensive so we have yet to purchase one.
{Anyone know of someone selling one?!}

The seperator spins the frames quickly and allows the honey to run out of the spigget …

…isn’t it beautiful?

We strained it through cheesecloth (twice) and then jarred it in any size of jars that would work. This is sticky work and I would not want to do it inside the house.

Lovelyn LOVES honey – she could not resist a few finger licks …

My mom stopped by and snapped this picture of Abby with part of his first harvest – looking mighty proud there, boy …

All ready for gift giving or finger licking, ready for smearing on toast and savoring the sweetness in the cold bitter winter to come.

We will help the bees keep their hives warm this winter and thank God for a sweet, beautiful harvest.
Keeping bees has been so fantastic – we are so glad to have started out on the bee-keeping adventure!

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24

October 6, 2015 - 4:38 pm

Lauren That’s really neat Jillian!! I would love to be able to do this one day. it looks like your girls … And your hubby.. are having so much fun doing this hard work! ( I love Lacey’s kapp!)

September 30, 2015 - 8:53 am

Kristina Wow, this is so cool! And I know firsthand how good that honey is, too! 🙂

September 29, 2015 - 10:24 am

Lynda Lu Gibb Your family makes everything look so wholesome and natural, that is food for the soul. Thanks for sharing.

September 29, 2015 - 8:16 am

Chris Mccoy What a wonderful first crop of honey! I’m sure it was a very sticky process! Abby did amazingly well to not be stung. The labels are beautiful too. Missing your beautiful family, but so very grateful for your updates.