Summer is drawing to a close and it’s time to take some of the sweet nectar from our hard working dependents (our honey bees), who have been residing in our hives. This year as we opened the hives to do the dirty deed of removing their hard earned honey, it was hard to miss the thousands of little eyes watching us with curiosity. You can sense they are asking, “What are you doing with our honey?!’ I know Darla felt it too when she audibly groaned in sympathetic remorse for their loss. I on the other hand was excited to see the abundance of beautiful white capped honey frames as I began pulling them from our first hive. I know my response didn’t alleviate her sorrow as I retorted callously, “Hey they have to pay rent too.”
This is our third year of honey harvest in the great white north of Bemidji Minnesota and is our best year so far for number of gallons of honey. We are not a big honey producer but we have enough each year to offer some as a product at all of the craft shows we attend. I had a little bit of a tough time of it this year as my right shoulder gave out half way through the extraction process. I tried to get Darla to do some of the turning of the extractor crank but it was a little tough for her. She played the “I’m not as strong as you.” Then she batted her big blue eyes at me, looking like a little lost puppy she successfully avoided the slavery of the task. She is a pretty good con, for she knows how to get me to do the hard work every time. Oh well, after switching arms and about 3 hours later we were done with the tough stuff.
This year I thought I would be smart by putting down a lot of plastic sheeting on the work benches and in the truck bed, but that didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Everything stuck to the plastic sheeting and we ended up continually pulling it away the plastic like a fly trying to escape some fly paper.
There is just no way to escape the stickiness of the honey. Lesson learned for next year, no plastic sheeting in the truck bed.
The whole process this year took about 6 hours, Darla was guessing we would be done around 8 PM and she was right. I must have said it would only take a few hours, for she usually doubles my estimates and once again she got it right. Man that bugs me when she does that. It’s like she knows me or something. Well this is our 30th anniversary coming up, I suppose she does.
Well we ended up with about 25 gallons of honey this year. Not bad for only having three hives. I wish I could take the credit. We had one hive swarm while we were on vacation in June, so really that was all pretty much from two hives.
Having 5 years of experience at doing bee keeping I think we will add some more hives next year. Thanks to all of our little dependents for all their hard work.