Bad news first. My bees did not survive the winter. Good news second. I got to harvest the honey/wax and order some more bees. My new package of bees arrived a couple of weeks ago, and they (like so many of us) are ready for some warmer weather!
I had never harvested honey or beeswax before so I thought maybe my quilting friends would enjoy a sneak peek into the messy process.
Here is my hive. The bottom blue part is where the queen resides and all of the action happens. The top green one is just for honey storage.
This is a frame full of capped honey. I'm a little biased, but I think it's pretty beautiful and remarkable.
Once you scrape the cap away, look at what comes pouring out. Sweet, golden deliciousness!
Then, we put it in the double strainer and wait and wait and wait. (This is a good time to begin cleaning up some of the stickiness.)
After much patience and sticky everything, this is how much honey I ended up with. These bees were new last spring, so they did an awesome job! They say that to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. Busy bees indeed!
Then, time to jar it up for friends and family.
Pretty cool, huh? That was the easy part! Many of you know that Marcia has been getting into making soap. She "NEEDS" beeswax. OK, I think to myself...shouldn't be too much trouble. One day dawn until dusk, 3 changes of clothes, and one super sticky kitchen later, and she has her precious beeswax. Here's how that went.
You start with collecting all the honeycomb...the good, bad, and the ugly. I had a 5 gallon bucket full.
Add water and melt it down in a double boiler.
As it cools, the wax rises to the top, and the yuck and guck to the bottom. Three times I went through this process of melting and cooling to end up with this measly cake of wax for Marcia's soap-making.
The honey harvest was pretty fun, cool, and enjoyable. The wax...not sure if she is worth it. What do you guys think? I guess we will see how the soap turns out!
Stay tuned for more adventures in beekeeping.
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