When we walked out the front door, we could smell the sweet aroma of pure honey.
We knew we couldn't put if off any longer...
The hives were overflowing with honey.
It has been a really long time since we have robbed the bees.
Several years ago, Daniel developed an allergy to bees, so this really isn't the safest venture.
He loves the honey...just hates the process.
I can't say I blame him.
No one every really gets excited about the possibility of ending their day in the hospital.
So, we dug out all the equipment and got everything washed and ready to go.
And the EpiPen was ready and waiting.
Our intention was to have Daniel teach Isaac and Walker how to rob the bees so Daniel can completely remove himself from the process. But, Isaac had a science project
So Walker suited up to learn the process and help his dad.
I talked Walker through all the signs of an allergic reaction, so if Daniel got stung, he would know exactly what he needed to do.
I spent my time running back and forth between helping Isaac with his project and standing on the porch making sure everyone was still alive and breathing.
This is one of those days I am glad I have my new zoom lense. For some reason the bees like to get stuck in my hair and sting my head.
First order of business is to get the stinky board all nice and stinky. I don't know what that liquid is...but it stinks!
The bees don't like it either.
The smoker is filled with pinecones, newspaper and grass.
Smoking the bees is like a sedative.
It calms them as you invade their home.
They head out to the hives.
Pull the top off.
And put the stinky board on.
The bees are so eager to get away from the stench, then move down to the lower portions of the super.
This allows Daniel to remove the honey while minimizing the number of bees disrupted.
While they are waiting for the bees to move down, they smoke the bees to keep them calm.
They pull out the frames.
This is no easy job. These boxes are "glued" together with honey.
He gently brushes off any bees remaining on the frame.
The frames get placed in a plastic tub and the lid quickly secured, so the bees stay out.
When they have removed all the frames from the top super, they move down to the next one.
This late in the year, we need to be sure to leave plenty of honey for the hive to survive the winter.
The bees are NOT happy!
Once they finish the first hive, they move on to robbing the next two.
All the supers are put back together and the totes full of honey filled frames are moved to the garage.
They peel off their suits and get ready for the next phase of the project.
The frames are full of honey.
At this point, most of the bees are outside, but there are always a few straggles left in the totes.
Walker and I were on "kill the bees" duty. Daniel's suit is off, and he can't afford to get stung.
Sorry bees...but I don't want to go to the hospital.
That yellow tool is like a fork with sharp tines.
The bees fill each section of comb with honey, and then seal it with wax to keep the honey in.
The uncapping fork breaks the wax caps, allowing the honey to seep out.
Two frames are placed in the extractor...one on each side.
Walker is turning the crank as fast as he can.
The extractor spins and the honey flies right out of the frames.
We open the valve on the bottom of the extractor.
We have three different filters that sit on top of a five gallon bucket. All of the honey comb and debris stays on top and the pure, clean honey flows down into the bucket.
The valve on the bottom of the bucket is opened and the pure, sweet honey pours into the bottles.
Screw the cap on and we are all done.
Except for the sticky clean up.
But...it's always fun to lick your fingers.
Daniel and Walker suited back up to put the frames back in the supers.
We left the totes outside for a few days.
There is a lot of honey left in the totes. The bees will clean up the totes and put the extra honey back into the comb.
They have been busy little bees this week...getting everything sealed back up and ready for winter.
Just don't go near the hives...because they are still mad at us.
Bees are amazing creatures.
From what we may consider a weed in the yard, they make the sweetest substance.
My favorite snack...
Just a spoonful of honey.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.