Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Extracting Honey, Slow As Molasses

Vacuuming remaining bees out of the supers with the Bee Vac 5000. OK, it's not really called that, but it is the special vacuum for bees. It's basically a modified shop vac with a box to collect the bees alive without harming them.There was a fume board with the stinky Bee Go under it driving them up to the top. It reminding me of the Wack A Mole game at Chuck E Cheese.Bees in the rafters. Don't mind the cobwebs. Removing the wax cappings with the uncapping plane. It has a very, very hot blade.
The basement smells sort of like toasted marshmallows and burning wax. Kinda nice.
Scratch open the rest of the cells with the cap scratcher thingy.Into the uncapping tank. The homemade uncapping tank. The one we want to replace. But the Cheap Executive Officer will not release the funds.Into the extractor. I know it looks dirty, but it's not. Everything gets scrubbed and bleached and thoroughly dried. I am especially anal about the drying part because water is no good for honey. Makes it ferment. Unless you are looking to make mead, it's not a good thing.Round and round they'll spin.Also looking to upgrade the poor old extractor. This is a little, used 4 frame extractor. It takes just under 3 1/2 forevers to get the job done. And this is our upgrade from the first extractor!Unfiltered honey. It will go through a sieve to remove wax and bee parts. Other than that, no processing. Unprocessed, unpasteurized, raw honey. It's the way to go. Boy, we have a long way to go. Our rule of thumb is to stop whatever chore we're doing once one or both of us start getting delirious tired. So more to come.


Michelle Johnson said...

I envy you that honey. It looks so good. I wish I could have some but alas I will have to admire from afar. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post. I've never seen how honey was processed before. Have a great day.

OsageBluffquilter said...

How much honey do you all harvest in a year? Such a sweet deal. I am enjoying mine on my toast most every morning.

Annette said...

Gives me a whole new appreciation of the stuff.

Anonymous said...

I am SO IN AWE. And fascinated to boot! Way cool!!

I had a friend years ago whose husband was a bee-ologist, whatever the word is (sorry, I'm too lazy to even Google it), at a big state university, and she would gift us every Christmas with "research byproduct." THAT was a great gig.

Sara said...

It is a "sweet deal!" :) Can't say exactly how much we get, only because Mark keeps adding more hives every year. We're pretty small but I'd say we're on track this year for between 800 and 1,000 lbs. We got around 400 on this extraction and Mark said there was probably another 300 still on the hives but uncapped.
We'll see what we get in the Fall!

Sara said...

Oh! And fraught, my sister's sister-in-law had a similar university gig. Lots of honey for Christmas from her too!