Friday, November 23, 2012

Sticky to my armpits, worth it?

No one prepared me for this part of beeing a BEEK. I had thought about the end result of the year's worth of work & expense. Let's face it, of course you do! Since I had only 5 frames that I kept out, I thought how much work can this be to extract. My first thought as a TOTALLY self absorbed, instant gratification-drive-through-happy-meal American is, well, I'll take it somewhere and have it done. Now, where's the fun in that? Or the stickiness for that matter. Ha.
I pulled that honey about 3 weeks ago, and kept him-hawing about with it. Opening it, looking at it, making some phone calls or posts to friends (beeks) about how to go about processing it.... Finally, I was told for the small amount I have it's simply not worth it to go have it extracted. Uh-Oh.... now what? SO.... I got the instructions (out of a book, off of boards and asked my friend Greg @ Dakota bees) on how to do this. I assembled my equipment. Which consists of a sturdy kitchen spatula, a food grade bucket with a spigot (what do you know I had one from my days in the wine business!), a painter's screen, a large glass bowl, colander, a tub that I stored the frames in, and elbow grease.  I'm not all the way done, but here's the deal. Did I mention this is sticky sticky messy work? Well, it is.

I'm OVER it! Seriously. I've been fooling with it for 5 days now, because it gets cold and I have to stop because DUH... I couldn't figure out why it wasn't flowing, until Greg casually mentioned a space heater.... well, shoot, no wonder, my honey was cold. So.... take 2 or 3 I forget which. I finally decided that I will sacrifice the comb, I hate to do that since I really wanted to try to let my girls have it for next year or seed a new hive, but can't be helped. This year I'll start feeding them early so they can get going on the comb. I digress...

My Sainted son, Christopher took some amazing pictures as I've been dealing with this. So rather than bore the pants off you, here are the pictures. I will say I'm still not to the jarring point, I have yet to finish this monstrous job, and we had a holiday and I forgot to buy jars before black friday, not going out!
on try one, I tried cutting the caps off the top of the comb and letting gravity have it... em, nope. 

So, as you can see, I scraped it off the frame to the base. 
Really pretty! 

now I smooshed it onto the painter's screen 

I was captivated at how pretty it was 

add more elbow grease, you're not done yet! 

it's harder than it looks. 
sitting in the sun it dripped really nicely 

this is what was left on the frame, can't leave that. 

Yep, I'm very very sticky. 

gotta little jar from the stuff in the bottom of the tub

afore mentioned sainted child who loves honey and I did this for
him because he has such bad allergies. Let's see if the raw honey works! 

big pile of comb that is sitting on top of  the painter's sceen
atop the bucket, atop hot oven to drip 

And it's dripping quite well now 
I have about 3 gallons of honey so far, and the spent comb is in the colander still dripping what I can get out of that into the big bowl. Once the comb is as clean as I can get it, debating if I should press it through a new pair of panty hose (washed once to rid them of chemicals) or not. Once the comb is as clean as I can get it, I'll put in the tub for the bees to reclaim what they can. I plan on using the comb for lotion and lip balm. I'll post about that later. I'm dedicated to only giving local and home made gifts this year, at "worst" things made in the USA, because if you're gonna talk the talk, walk the walk. Somehow given the number of requests for honey I have gotten, I really don't think people will mind a gift I worked so hard on and is clearly full of love. You can't smell my house through this blog, but if you could you'd be amazed at how GOOD fresh raw honey actually smells.

Till next time when we foray into the adventures of lip balm and lotion....

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