Sunday, July 18, 2010

Croesus' Gold

There's so much of it and it's all mine, mine, mine! .... Well no. It's ours... all ours.

I felt like Croesus with his gold and I wanted to keep it all. Our precious bees had worked so hard to make all the honey that I didn't want to part with it.

Then Dad reminds me once more that we have so much honey we should be selling it. "We need labels," he said. He has not given up on his label making campaign.

Actually our jars do have labels. That is if a piece of masking tape with the year and a couple initials written on it counts. I think it should.

Our honey has three flavours. The first batch has a distinctive taste of a vegetable nature but it's quite nice and the vegetable part is very subtle.

The second batch has primarily a clover flavour with a floral trace and the third, my favourite which we extracted today, is pure summer flowers. It's pretty wonderful.

This is really our first time at this since last year was literally a wash out with all the rain we had.

As well, the hives had started from nucs so they didn't produce much honey.

I've learned that honey has it's strongest flavour and smell when it comes fresh from the combs right after the caps are cut off. Later, it's still great but there's something special about eating honey from still-warm combs. The vegetable honey I mentioned before was quite strong that first day we extracted it. I wasn't so sure about that honey. But two days later it had mellowed considerably.

We did an extraction yesterday and again today on hives #1 and #2. The bees have been great both days. Yesterday a pop-up storm came in and we had claps of thunder and dark clouds which showed up just after we took the hive apart. Figures.

I tried not to rush and keep being gentle with the bees. The storm just passed us to the east and we had another hour of clear weather. Then a second storm came in with wind, etc., just as we were finishing. During all this the bees remained calm and gentle with no stings. They're so amazing. I thought they'd start to panic with a storm approaching and the hive opened up but they didn't. They were more calm than I was.

103 lbs our first extract a couple weeks ago, 60 lbs on our second (yesterday) and 65 lbs on our third--this is 2 hives and we've still left 1 full super on each hive which we'll extract in the fall once I'm certain the bees have enough for themselves for winter.

I'm pretty certain Hive #2 swarmed because of low numbers. They still had lots of honey filled frames but it wasn't all capped. We left half of it for them to finish capping. Our honey is very thick and dry this year (moisture at 16%) so a little uncapped honey added shouldn't be a problem.

We stacked our jars on the counter. Dad said, "We can't eat all this. We need to sell some."

I looked over the rows and rows of jars, thinking about the giant pails we'd filled that day that still needed bottling. "This is more than we can eat," I said.
"Yes," said Dad.

I think I'm going to have to get to work on that label.
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