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We have two beehives. We got them in October. Stephen went to examine the hives about two weeks ago to see how they’d survived the winter, and discovered that one of our hives had died. What a disappointment!
The top super was full of honey, so we took all the frames out and brought them into the house to extract the honey. Our kitchen was a sticky mess! We had honey everywhere. It tastes SO good – and SO much better than the stuff you can buy in the stores.
We found out that ours is tulip poplar honey. It’s very, very dark – looking more like molasses than honey. It also has a very rich, kind of dark flavor. It smells and tastes a little bit like cinnamon. It is phenomenal in wheat and oat bread.
Here are some pictures of the process:
A full jar with a lot of honey still mixed in with the comb
A jar that has drained more – not much honey left with the wax
This is how we had our jars set up – some cheesecloth and duct tape. It really worked well.
We ended up getting just over two quarts of honey from the one hive. We gave one pint to Stephen’s sister and the rest we’ll save for ourselves. We didn’t get the hives with the intention of selling the honey – though that would be nice if we had an excess. We actually got the bees so that we could pollinate our garden better. :O) The honey is definitely a plus.
I couldn’t resist playing a joke on Stephen though. When I went to get the cheesecloth out, I discovered a baggie of little plastic ants that someone had given us (it was a wedding present – everything needed for a picnic – paper plates, plastic spoons and forks, napkins, plastic tablecloth, and plastic ants, lol). He had stepped out of the house for a moment, so I quickly lined up the ants across the stove leading toward the frames that we had placed on the counter. There had been a couple of ants on the frames, so I figured this would be funny. It was.
Stephen walked back in the house and did a huge double take. He told me later that his first thought was, “How in the world did they find the honey THAT quickly?” I laughed so hard!
This weekend a local beekeeper is coming over to help Stephen split our remaining hive. It is strong enough to split into two, so we’re pretty excited about that process. We’re liking this beekeeping business more than we anticipated – it kind of makes us want to have a whole bunch more hives.