Monday, August 25, 2008


As many of you know, Mickey, became a Bee Keeper in May of this year. Go here to read about his getting & setting up his hives.

He has been blessed on this journey by Ronnie an experienced bee keeper. After Mickey got his hive all set up he was having trouble locating bees. Then he found out that two gentlemen in our church were experienced bee keepers. Mickey was able to buy his first bees from Ronnie and Ronnie has been mentoring him along this process. The other gentlemen, John, has also been a great help and is a member of the board of the local Bee Association.

Ronnie was ready to extract honey from some of his hives so Friday Mickey went with him to help and learn. They pulled 38 frames from 4 of Ronnie's hives. They brought them to Mickey's little barn for overnight because they were both exhausted.

This is Mickey after pulling all the frames on this hot summer day and finally home & relaxing with his cup of coffee.

Saturday morning we worked at the Church in our Angel Food Ministry. After lunch he went to pick up Ronnie and the fun began!!!

Here are Mickey & Ronnie with the stainless steel extractor. It will hold two frames of honey at a time. Mickey is working the crank. It works by centrifugal force. They put the 2 frames in one direction and crank until no more honey is coming out the spigot, then they turn the frames in the other direction and begin cranking again. You can barely see it in my picture but the spout at the bottom is where the honey comes out into the container they are using. Ronnie's job is decapping the comb. Decapping is cutting the top off the cells where the bee's have stored the honey in the honey comb and capped it off with a thin layer of wax.
This extractor belongs to our friend John who is graciously letting both Ronnie and Mickey borrow it to use for this big job. These babies cost from $400 up so if it weren't for a wonderful Christian friend Mickey & I would be doing it "the old fashioned way", whatever THAT is!!.

This is the tray where the decapping is done. The frame is set on the crossbar and the knife you see is slide up the frame from bottom to top cutting the caps. Then the frame is turned around and the other side is decapped. This is done before the frames are placed into the stainless extractor. What you see accumulating here is the honey comb caps which can be cleaned and made into wax products.

A closed look at the cuttings of honey comb and the knife.

Ronnie ended up with two 5 gallon pails of unstrained honey. He also filled up one of my ice cream buckets (I told you I use these for everything!) for Mickey's helping him with this big job.

This is our portion of the honey after our first straining through a sieve.
This is the honey after the second straining. We used a new woman's ankle hose for this straining!!!! A tip we got from the bee club meetings.

Here I am pouring the strained honey into the various little jars I have been saving since Mickey got his hives.
Here's my tired extractor cranking honey extractor "honey" with all his jars of this wonderful fresh honey.

A close-up of the lovely honey.

Savoring a piece of toast with butter and FRESH honey with his coffee AND resting his tired feet and body.

Oh, one part I almost forgot.......after doing all the extracting Mickey decided he wanted to check his hives and see how close they were to being ready. He was not bit one time during all of the processing of Ronnie's honey, but when he took off the top of his hive to look his bee's swarmed him and he was bitten 8, yes EIGHT, times before he could get away. They cannot figure out why. Maybe they didn't like him bringing in those OTHER bees!!!!

The extractor after Mickey had cleaned it all up. Ready to go back into the barn and wait for our honey to be ready. Should be soon.

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24

This has nothing to do with honey but wanted to show you 3 pears and okra we were blessed with. Actually we were given 4 times this amount of okra but we are not big okra eaters so we shared amounts like this with three of our neighbors. There was also a yellow squash but we ate it before I got the picture taken :o)

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diana said...

such an interesting process. does mickey wear any kind of the protective clothing or headwear when working with his bees? just wondering. being stung 8 times does seem strange. hope the bites don't affect him badly.

Anonymous said...

How about that!!! That was really fun to read about. All those little containers of honey all lined up, what a rewarding feeling that must be. Enjoy it!!!

Pam said...

I'll be right over to pick up my jar!

That was so educational! I've never seen the process like that. I can't wait to bring Shane here to see it.
I just love biscuits with honey and butter!

Linds said...

I am absolutely fascinated by this, Susan. It is so interesting to see just how the honey is extracted! I hope you have plenty of jars ready for your own honey too!

Momma Roar said...

What an interesting post!

I'm enjoying this process right along with you! Thanks!

I love how the ice cream buckets make it to so many of your posts, LOL!!!

Kansas Bob said...

Please bring a jar with you the next time you come to KC :)

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

Fresh honey....yummy.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Wow that was pretty interesting.

Crystal said...

What a great feeling to have your own (well, nearly) honey to use! I'm looking forward to hearing about adventures with your hive. Our daughter worked for 3 summers with a couple who had 250 hives and it was an interesting job. She still talks so fondly of the things they did and she was also lucky to be rarely stung. Enjoy the honey of your labours.

I found washing soda at Walmart in the cleaning products aisle yesterday so soap making is on my list this week. I'm looking forward to it and feeling quite simplified!!

Shirley said...

I love honey! I never realized how much work it is - thanks for sharing such of an interesting post. So sorry that Mickey got stung - what a bummer.


Anonymous said...

That's awesome, Susan. Looks like a lot of fun.

Tina said...

I enjoyed this post Susan.

Barbara said...

I know that this honey is even more delicious after you processing it yourself. I just love eating the whole honeycomb. Sticks to your teeth though.

Word post good Susan.