Crazy Day Yesterday

So, we went to Hannibal last weekend to extract honey for the first time this year. Brooke pulled 28 frames from her hives here in Marshall and ended up with 8-10 gallons of honey. Her Dad had more like 70 frames, so it was a looooooooong day of extracting for them. The kids and I mostly hung out in the pool, so that was nice. ūüėČ

Anyway, with so much honey, including some we and Brooke’s Dad had left from last Fall, the conversation moved toward “how do we offload it?” The kids sounded amenable to putting a table outside our house, so we figured we’d give that a try. Frankly, I didn’t expect more than a few people to stop, if that. We also figured the kids would get bored and want to come inside. The temperature was actually quite pleasant for August 1st, so it wasn’t nearly as hot as it could have been.

They stayed out there for 6 hours. 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. They sold through $212 of various products, including candles, last Fall’s honey, and the more recent batch from this Spring.

They also got $10 in tips. People just dropped by and gave them $2.

I went out for a 20 mile bike ride as they were getting started, and as they were set up relatively far from the house, Brooke wanted to be in earshot of them, so she did some stuff in the garden, and also started picking peaches. We ended up with 10 gallons of those, too!! They actually taste much better than they did last year, and they were good enough to just bite through the skin and eat right off the tree.

They’re getting toward the end of their cycle though, so there were quite a few on the ground already, and as we picked some of them from the tree, peaches typically fell. For some reason, the japanese beetles have been much more mild this year, so we didn’t have to fight off many of those, though we did spot a few as we were doing some picking.

Brooke even put 10 at a time into paper bags to have the kids sell for $2 a bag. We think they sold 8-10 bags of peaches, too!

By the end of the day, we were ready to actually eat some of them, so Brooke put them into a crisp and we enjoyed them that way. Deeeeeelicious. ūüôā

All in all, we were very impressed with the kids. They were polite, they took turns coming in if they needed something like water or a snack, they didn’t complain about it… They seemed to have a lot of fun!

So much so, they earned a $55 table-top air hockey set. It should get here tomorrow. ūüôā

A Note on Honey and the Bees That Make It

Cutting off comb!

We took around 12 frames to Hannibal over the July 4th Weekend to extract some honey!  Ultimately, the process took a few hours and was mostly carried out in the garage in order to keep bees from homing in on their wares and coming to reclaim it.

This was the first time we’d extracted our own stuff (though we combined ours with 6 or 8 frames of Mark’s stock), so I grabbed a few pictures of the process, as we had multiple questions across Instagram and Facebook asking how this all worked.

The extractor.

After Brooke used her sweet serrated knife up above to scrape off the wax cappings on the frames, they were put in an extractor 4-at-a-time. ¬†Basically, the extractor is a metal barrel with a hand crank that acts as a centrifuge. ¬†The honey is pulled out using centrifugal force and it drops down to the bottom of the barrel. ¬†A spigot is down there to allow for draining into another bucket after filtration, as there’s a lot of extra “stuff” in there we don’t want (i.e. wax, dead bees, etc.).

After all of this was done, we ended up with around 6 gallons of honey, which was far more than we were expecting!

Well…that’s odd…

Anyway, remember the new hive? ¬†Well, Brooke didn’t put frames in it last weekend after we got back. ¬†So, she got in there today and we found out the bees have been kinda busy!

So busy, they made new comb in the empty spaces where the frames used to be…

Seriously. That isn’t supposed to happen in a week.

There isn’t a great solution to this, as the new comb had honey¬†and brood in it. ¬†Brooke ended up shaving off the comb into the super on top, then putting a “queen excluder” above the super (to, obviously, prevent the queen from crossing the barrier), and then put a¬†new super on top of the hive.

The crazy thing is that this is the¬†new hive that’s only about 3 months old. ¬†Apparently, they’re doing fine! ¬†Doing some crazy stuff, but still doing fine!