Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Concentrating on honey

I spent a good part of Sunday concentrating on honey.

I got together with Jim and Delores Brown on Sunday afternoon to help them extract their more than 400 pounds of honey. Jim has about 10 hives that have been amazingly productive this year, and I needed to participate in the process before trying to do it on my own.

Once you get the honey off the hives (and make the bees as mad as they can be), you store the frames in a plastic bag for a few days. Then it's a three-part process: decapping, extracting and filtering. Decapping is done with a heated knife. You run the knife along the side of the frame, taking the wax cappings off the cells. With the honey beginning to run out of the frame, you set the frame into the extractor. We used a four-frame, manual extractor. You turn the extractor handle for about a minute to a minute-and-a-half, and then turn the frames over and repeat the process. When you draw the frames out of the extractor, they will feel noticeably lighter. Their honey is not at the bottom of the extractor bin.

Filtering can be done with just about any sheer-like material or cheesecloth. And that's it. You are ready to put the honey into clear, clean jars.

And speaking of that -- the other part of the day was spent designing a label for our jars of honey. We have decided to call it Frog's Farm honey, honoring my late father-in-law whose land we are fortunate enough to occupy. I have included a picture of the basic design for the front label and something I cooked up for the back label. We'll see if that works.

We'll also see if I get any honey -- next week. Jim Brown and I are scheduled to get into the hives on Monday and see what's there.


The Bee Tree said...

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Brent Walker-Little Rock said...

Jim...why put the combs in a plastic bag for a few days? I've not heard of this before.