A quick update on my first “Honey”….S finally got see the surgeon.  Turns out he has torn tendons in BOTH arms!  One is worse than the other.  Neither tendon is completely torn from the bone, which is good.  He has no clue how he did it, though. For now, the surgeon is going to try PT to strengthen the tissues and muscles around the torn tendons to see if that will compensate.  They will re-evaluate in a few months, but it would be nice to avoid surgery.  In the mean time, looks like S will remain on domestic duty for some time yet.

In other news, we actually processed our first honey!  We sold our extractor when we moved, with plans of getting a better model.  Our other plans didn’t work out, though, so we were left doing it the “simple” way, using equipment we got with our first purchase of a bunch of hives and equipment several years back.

First, I have to collect the frames.

First, I have to collect the frames.

Next, S used a hot capping knife to remove the wax caps from the honey comb.  I didn’t get a pic of that.

I cut out the comb, leaving about a one inch strip at the top to guide the comb building next season.

I cut out the comb, leaving about a one inch strip at the top to guide the comb building next season.

All the cuttings fell into a straining box.  I then used a potato masher to smoosh all the comb up and release all the honey. 

All the cuttings fell into a straining box.  I then used a potato masher to smoosh all the comb up and release all the honey.

We sat the box out in the heat of the sun for a bit to warm everything (after sealing it up tight to prevent bees from getting in!)  Then, we let it sit overnight on the counter to allow the comb to dry out as much as possible.

We sat the box out in the heat of the sun for a bit to warm everything (after sealing it up tight to prevent bees from getting in!) Then, we let it sit overnight on the counter to allow the comb to dry out as much as possible.

The first box strains out the large chunks of honey, but lots of little stuff fall through.  Next, we poured the honey into a series of mesh strainers, with each strainer having smaller holes than the one before.  By the time the honey poured into the bucket below, all particles had been strained out.  This process actually happened much faster than expected.

The first box strains out the large chunks of honey, but lots of little stuff fall through. Next, we poured the honey into a series of mesh strainers, with each strainer having smaller holes than the one before. By the time the honey poured into the bucket below, all particles had been strained out. This process actually happened much faster than expected.

To ensure all honey flowed through the screens, I placed the bucket of honey strainers on top of my stove, which I had already heated up a bit.  That area between the stove and hood was nice and warm, but not so warm as to melt my bucket.  The warmth heated the honey enough, it flowed freely.

To ensure all honey flowed through the screens, I placed the bucket of honey strainers on top of my stove, which I had already heated up a bit. That area between the stove and hood was nice and warm, but not so warm as to melt my bucket. The warmth heated the honey enough, it flowed freely.

Finally, I poured the honey into jars.  This wasn't a big harvest, but it was a great first experience.

Finally, I poured the honey into jars. This wasn’t a big harvest, but it was a great first experience.  It has the richest, most amazing flavor!! Clearly it is a mixed wildflower, grass, and forage honey.

There was actually no mess. We simply dumped the scrap comb into our wax collection box (for processing wax later), and all the strainers and buckets simply got placed out in the bee yard, where the bees do a far more thorough job cleaning it than we ever could! The result is a clean kitchen, with no sticky residue! Easy peasy!  After the bees cleaned it up, we gave it a quick rinse, and put it away in the barn until next time.  We give it a wash with soap and water to remove dust and such prior to processing, but after the bee cleaning, that is very simple too.  Now, we have a little honey to sell (since I still have some leftover from previously), and plenty to get us through until next harvest.

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