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oh honey!

Sweetest honeybee I ever did see. Elsie put on her honey bee costume after we spent the morning with Adam, the friend who has mentored us along on our bee keeping adventure. You might remember that we ended up losing both of our hives, one collapsed late last fall and the other didn't survive the winter. If we're completely honest, I was really disheartened by the loss of both hives. I worked hard last summer, felt like I was doing everything right, and even then I lost both of the hives. Bee keeping is quite a bit of work. And when it came time to try it again this spring, I didn't have it in me to start from scratch.

Rory took over, and I was so grateful. He has written about his bee keeping at length at The Grovestead Blog. The thing about beekeeping is that it takes two years to get a hive to produce enough honey for you to eat. The entire first year is spent building and strengthening the hive and ensuring the bees will have enough honey to live on all winter long. It is only in the second summer that you get to add honey supers (the smaller boxes with shallow frames) to the top of your stack, and it is only out of those supers that you can harvest your honey.

But because both of our hives died, we ended up with frames full of honey. Some of those frames Rory actually gave to the new bees this year to help get them started and up and running. Some of those frames I have stuck my own finger into and eaten straight out of the comb (the best!). And Some of those frames we recently brought to Adam's house so they could be spun and we could have our first honey. We'd rather have living bees from last year, but second best would be some of our own honey.
Adam used a hot knife to cut the wax off of the comb, and then a fork to break up any comb he didn't uncap. And then he set each frame into the extractor that then spins the honey to the sides, down the bottom and out the tap. It was pretty awesome to watch, and delicious to sample. In a crazy twist, it was a very cool day in July, which is bad for spinning honey. You want that honey warm and flowing, but because it was so cool it was thicker than usual.

It was fun to watch and I was proud of our little contribution. Rory is doing an awesome job with our bees this year and we're hopeful that maybe next year, we'll have honey bees healthy and strong, on year two.
Until then, this 2-year-old honey bee will keep our life very sweet.


Unknown said...

Could she be any cuter?!?!

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

She's adorable! And obviously so proud of her pink nails! Love it. (Love the bee story too. Wishing you guys lots of "honey luck" this year!)