People that have cats and dogs for pets call them their “children” and consider themselves their “parents”. For the past few weeks, I have been trying to determine the proper analogy for my relationship with my bees. I am not their mother, because they have a queen mother, and I do not feed them (really) or care for them (as we can tell from my previous posts, I mostly wreak havoc). After this weekend, I have decided to consider myself, their land lord. I give them a place to live, try to make it nice, sometimes make them miserable (like when it takes 2 weeks for your landlord to get you a new air-conditioner), and in turn they pay me rent (very sticky rent). If I’m not a good landlord, they will leave with no notice, and if I am a really bad landlord, I will likely do them great harm.
This weekend I harvested six frames of honey. Joining me in this adventure was my friend Han Nguyen, a freelance photographer who thought bees were cool (and surprisingly still does). This post will include some of his brilliant photographs which cost him three bee stings. (Yes, I offered him a netted mask, but he was a true professional with a vision and the netting would have likely ruined that). Han was like a war photographer, getting stung and then jumping right back into action.
The weekend started with a very valuable contact: Albert, a local beekeeper hobbyist who happened to have an extractor that I could use to extract my honey. An extractor is a very simple invention, as most beekeeping tools are. It consists of sheet metal box inside a stainless steel barrel. The box is perforated and is attached to a hand crank at the top. You turn the crank, which turns the square basket and spins the frames that sit on the four sides of the square basket. This draws the honey out of the combs with centripetal force and slings it to the inside of the barrel which drips down to pool in the bottom where there is a honey gate that lets it all drain out into your bottles.
I only taxed Delilah six frames, which yielded about a gallon and a quart. While the honey you buy at the store is processed, heated and who knows what else, natural honey requires no processing other than being strained before it is bottled to remove any small pieces of wax from the honey. Sometimes raw honey will crystallize in the bottle over time especially during seasonal temperature shifts. This is easy to remedy if you just heat it up in a pot of water on the stove (double boiler style) or in the microwave for 30 sec or so.
HONEY MONTAGE (Photo credits to Han Nguyen).: