Friday, September 9, 2011

Liquid Gold

Pardon the radio silence, friends. I've been taking care of buzz-ness (just go with it), you see. Last weekend, with the help of several friends, I extracted honey from my two hives.

A smattering of the honey gathered is pictured above. Three medium supers yielded 5 gallons before bottling and 12 quarts, 19 pints, and 4 1/2-pints once jarred. My little ladies were working some kind of hard all spring and summer-long. I considered extracting in spring, as well, but found myself just too overwhelmed with books and baby, and decided to wait until late summer instead.

My book details the process of extraction, if you're a new-bee looking to extract. I'd highly suggest recruiting friends to aid in the endeavor, enticing them with a jar or two of the good stuff in exchange. Many hands make quick work of uncapping the wax from each frame, placing the frames in the centrifuge and then churning out the honey. Fortunately, my local bee club rents all of the items needed for extraction for a mere $20 to members. This fee allows the renter to check out the equipment for 3 days, which is ideal, as you'll need time to remove the supers bound for extraction from the hives, take out the honey, bottle it, and then clean everything thoroughly before returning it.

I've canned plenty of things. I've made all manner of homemade dairy products. I've baked bread and made bitters and grown vegetables and planted fruit trees and gathered eggs from my chickens. Something about extracting honey, though, really makes me feel connected to food in the most profound way. Perhaps it's because the tradition is so time-honored. Maybe it's because it is a slow, laborious process, inviting so much in terms of reflection and gratitude. Whatever it is, it's absolutely awesome, humbling, and a glorious, sticky mess, and I love every second of it!!!

25 comments:

Amber said...

That is just gorgeous to behold, with the sun coming through the jars! *enchanted sigh*

MamaAngel said...

Way to go! I'm so glad your bees have had a good year, the honey is beautiful.

petoskystone said...

such a wonderful site!

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

That is indeed liquid gold! Beautiful pictures. And what a wonderful bounty. it's so nice you had friends to help.

EcoGrrl said...

bee-yoo-tiful!!!!! btw my new basement tenant/renter, steve brown, is an artist who just moved here from asheville and said he used to work at a natural food store and remembers your face as you guys were in the same neighborhood! small world!! oh and my friend just asked me to teach her how to can so i think i'm going to bequeath her with your classic canning book - it's so perfect :)

Marisa said...

That's just amazing. Now you need to write a book about preserving with honey!

Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate said...

Wow! I will now stop complaining about my 18 jars of pickles.

Katy Wok-Stanley

Elaine said...

Oh my! Beautiful!!!

Indio said...

Excellent news on the honey quantity. We've had so much rain in the Northeast, I'm not sure I'm going to be harvesting honey this year. It's sunny today so hopefully the bees are finding all of the goldenrod.

Erin said...

Congrats! That is ALOT of honey!

Kristy Lynn said...

you have a honey bee club?? i wonder if there's anything like that here - what a brilliant idea to help foster the bees!

PS. i want some. not bees. your honey. but i guess bees too.

SJ Smith said...

Wow.... you work your tail end off... and look at the rewards! Awesome!

Shalet said...

That's awesome. I can't wait to get honey from my girls. As our hive is new we will be waiting until next year to extract honey. Fortunately our club has a centrifuge free to members -- hooray!

Enjoy your stash!

Debra said...

that is amazing! Lovely.. My neighbors are bee keepers.
Blessings, Debra
Healthy Eating Family Style

Candi said...

that is a beautiful picture!!! need need me some bees!

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

I've always wanted to keep bees, and this just makes my heart yearn even more to be among those little fuzzy buzzers.

Good-looking haul you've got there: Winnie the Pooh's dream come true.

Sarah said...

That is so awesome. I got your book and am planning to have my own bees once I leave NYC apartment life next year :)

Heather said...

I have no words. My mouth is just hanging agape. So beautiful. Fighting back the intense feelings of jealousy.

6512 and growing said...

I like what you say about gratitude and reflection. And the photo is magnificent.

Mindy said...

I've always been very interested in bee keeping, but it seems so overwhelming that I've never thought seriously about doing it, until recently. It seems as time goes by more and more I want to do things with a back to nature feel to them. So I'm going to read up and see if it's something I think I could swing. Those are beautiful shots of your honey!

rebecca said...

way to go, little bees!

Joy Ribisi said...

Fabulous! I would love to learn about this, too!

Diana R.Smith said...

I lusted over your photos as our honey harvest was wiped out by a bear visit!! Nine colonies destroyed in his rampage. Now we are hoarding our few jars from last years' harvest and having to turn many loyal customers away.

{ T G L } said...

Oh my God, that is a seriously impressive amount of honey! Good for you! Enjoy :)

Good luck with baby and book!

Blessings,
This Good Life

The Joy of Farming said...

I finally got my honey extracted yesterday - all 34 pounds of it. Not much, but certainly better than nothing!! I've been asked to set up an 'intro to beekeeping' table at a local foods fair in October and I'd love to bring your book along for people to see - hope that's OK. It is a wonderfully complete (and beautifully designed!) guide to what is without a doubt one of the world's most fascinating pursuits.