Honey Harvest 2017

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2017-07-12 19.04.212017-07-08 11.12.18The farm has been all abuzz with activity this summer. By far one of my favorite activities has been harvesting honey. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Years ago, before we moved back to Missouri, Dan’s family started keeping bees. His stepdad had experience and it seemed like a fun experiment. Pretty soon, their farm and others within the family were sustaining numerous hives, harvesting hundreds of pounds of honey each year. We benefited, of course, receiving more honey than we could use.

But here’s the thing. I’m allergic to bee stings. Not arm-swelling-up allergic but crazy allergic. Thomas-J.-from-the-movie-My-Girl, allergic.

Fast forward, last year the idea came up to put a hive on our farm. And, we said yes as long as they could be cared for and maintained without me. Dan did a little bootcamp with Russ (his stepdad) and we had bees.

We let them bee (pun intended) the first year to establish their hive and grow.

And they grew.

Then, Dan noticed they were doing “really great”. And I kid you not, the next damn day (or maybe the next week… but it was soon after) the hive split and half the hive swarmed. He was right, they did so well they had enough bees to split into two hives.

If you don’t know what that looks like, because I didn’t, it looks like a huge amount of bees all together. Ours were attached to a branch. They move very slowly with their queen searching for new digs. It’s a thing.

By the way, I only know what it looks like because Dan took a video. No way in hades was I going near a swarm of bees.

Dan called Russ, Russ ran over with a box and they put our newly formed hive into a second box. TWO HIVES. I’M ALLERGIC. It’s fine. It’s fine.

A few weeks ago, it was time to harvest the honey.

But Sam, how do you know it’s time?

This is the part where I shrug. I don’t go near that part. Dan tells me it’s time. So it’s time. All I know is when he brought those frames in, they were incredibly heavy and overflowing with honey. He was right.

Extracting honey is a multi-step process which I won’t go into detail here. I promise I will at some point, though. We spent most of the morning extracting and eventually had over fifty pounds of honey. Success!

Now you’re asking: What do you do with that much honey? 

I put it out on Facebook and I kid you not, we moved through all that honey in a week. Some of it we sold, some of it we gave away to family. Except for a few pounds we saved back for ourselves, it went quickly.

The next question is, do we get more hives? Picture me shrugging again. We’ll see.

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