So there we sat with our not thirty pounds of honey. It seemed like it was so little honey that it wouldn’t be worth renting the honey extruding equipment from our local bee supply store, Bee Kind. Looking back, if I only had one solid frame of honey I would have opted not to rent the equipment, but anything more than that it is a definite YES. It’s not that expensive and getting the honey from the comb is a bit troublesome. I am sure other beekeepers have fantastic ways of doing it manually, but I have zero patience. I will Google it later.
Rachael and I set up the extruder in the kitchen with large pieces of cardboard protecting the floor. Good thing to, it turned out to be a messy job. We experimented with different ways to up-cap the comb, starting with an electric heated knife meant to melt through the wax and open up the comb. That proved to be quite difficult. We butchered the comb pretty bad and made a huge mess. Another tool that was included in the rental was a metal toothed scraper. It looked like a comb, and proved to work okay for us. Still a little messy, but much less brutal than the heated knife. Watching a YouTube video a few days later showed us that we were using it backwards..err um… lesson learned. We did find a needle roller that looked like it would be pretty easy to use. Next year we will be sure to buy one. For now we had our brutalized yet uncapped frames ready to be placed in the extruder. With three frames set inside at a time, we got to spinning. I spun that thing so fast I was hoping it would go forward in time and get more honey.
Ya.. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but I wanted as much honey as I could get. Grinch, remember. I also had a very long list of friends and family that were hoping to get a jar this year. These are the same friends and family members that have had to listen to me talk about our bees at every gathering. I also filled their ears with bee facts that I found to be the most interesting thing in the world. They earned this honey and it was payment time.
We cleaned out all eight frames and filled our five gallon bucket about six inches high from the bottom. Those five gallon buckets are pretty tall huh? Yup… maybe it will fluff up like bread does. Nope.. it didn’t. It was about then that I wondered what the hell we were doing. A year and a half later and all we have to show is six inches of honey. I took a breath. Reminded myself that next year we will be harvesting from three colonies, and this was just the first year. We still had a ton of wax that we could use to make lotions, lip balms, and candles, so there was still a lot to work with.
We put the lid on the bucket and set it aside so whatever debris did make it in could rise to the top leaving the beautiful honey below. Life got in our way, as it does and the bucket was left for a month or so. In that time we did clean the wax which was a huge process in itself. I will write of that next.