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Busy Bees

Posted by Tammy Chapman on

Tim is the "busy bee" today.  It is getting to be close to harvest time for honey and he is off researching facilities to extract.  We have an extractor, but have learned that bees are very upset when you "steal" their honey, and you need to separate them from the extracting facility or they will come and take it back!  Oh yes!  That is their honey and they are very stingy with it!  The first year Tim put the extractor in the garage (perfect scenario) except that he started extracting the honey and didn't close the garage doors.  After a few frames, the bees had found their honey and were swarming to take it back.  A lot of bees died in that war (got into the extractor and got stuck, couldn't get out), and it did hurt our honey supplies that first year.  BUT, live and learn... or so you'd think!  The next year Tim moved it into the sun room of my kitchen.  Great idea again.  Except that it was too easy.  He and Nick took off and left the extractor draining.  I had no idea.  I thought I heard running water, what I found was the honey barrel FULL and running all over my kitchen!  Such fun!  Last year he set it up down in the loop building.  He moved the bees to a nearby field and zipped up the loop building.  It worked pretty well, but by the time he was about done, the bees had found him!  I am telling you they should work in the CIA!  Since we have exhausted our extraction resources, he talked to a friend who just retired as the local butcher.  He has the facility!  Tim is going to take his extraction equipment over there.  He will still move the bees to another field because they will follow the truck when he pulls the honey combs!  They will only follow a few miles, then they are on auto pilot and return to the hive.  He does not take all their honey.  He leaves them plenty to eat and then when we bring them into the loop building for the winter, he has an auto feed system that helps supplement the honey for the winter.  They aren't very active, and do hibernate.  Once it hits 40 and stays there, they will surround the queen to keep her warm and stay put.  They don't even leave the hive to go potty!  When it hits 40+ in the spring...you better get out of the way and open all the doors because they take what they call a "cleansing flight".  Bee poo is the worst!  You do not want your vehicle near them!  Birds have nothing on bees!  Trust me...there will be no pictures of that!

This picture is from our first time bottling honey for a Farmer's Market.  We didn't even have labels yet.  I love how you can see the beautiful honey showing through the bottles and I even love the shadows of my family as I took the picture with our field in the background.  I have this picture framed.  It is one of my all time favorites!

Have a wonderful start to your week all!

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Sane!

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