Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Naturally Perfect Day

The morning birds sweetly sing a late summer melody as the sun rises in the sky...

 the Zinnias sway back and forth with the slight breeze.

Up early as usual, the buzzing of the bees melds softly and easily with the summer melody of the birds. There is a calm order to nature this morning and it is especially intoxicating.

 Enter the thief...whose mere appearance upsets the natural order of the day.
The thief/bee-master sends wafts of smoke into the hive to confuse the hard-working bees.

Stop thief!

The bees are about to be disturbed...angry and disturbed. With nearly 50,000-60,000 bees per hive, you do the math...that's a lot of grumpy bees.

The goal is to remove the frames of honey and load them into the plastic bins without removing any bees from the hive. That's the goal...albeit optimistic!

On this frame you can see that the busy bees have filled and capped about half of the frame with honey.

You'll notice I don't have any photos of what happens next...that's because I'm watching safely from inside the house. Remember this is the tricky part...removing all the frames and not the bees! But you can simply imagine what the photo looks like with thousands of angry flying insects all intent on stinging the thief who steals their honey. And you wonder why I am in the house?

The honeycomb is a marvel of insect engineering; a perfectly formed hexagon made from wax the worker bees produce. Then filled with that glorious amber colored ambrosia! This section had not yet been capped with wax.

Melted by the searing hot knife, the wax cap easily slides the top of the honeycomb off.
The aroma of melting wax and warm honey is incredibly enticing at this point. Anticipating this moment...I had fresh bread baking in the oven.

The thief has changed his attire and preps the spinner for the heavy frames.

Getting ready to spin....

Round and round and round she goes...the centrifugal force of the spinning propels the honey from the comb while leaving the comb intact.

And just like magic...the honey begins to flow into the waiting buckets. It's exciting! This is the bee-master's favorite day of the year...next to my birthday of course. He is nearly giddy with excitement as the honey begins to flow into the waiting buckets below.

The honey will go through a filtering process to remove any remaining wax caps as seen in the top of this bucket of Freddy Mercury's honey. Another fabulous honey harvest for the bee master. Here are the results of this year's harvest.

Queen Lady Gaga-2 gallons (Her hive was knocked over by the elk living in our back yard all winter).
Queen Richard Parker-6 gallons
Queen Freddy Mercury-8 gallons
Queen Kate Middleton-7 gallons
And Queen Zella-11gallons of honey! You go girl...best queen ever!

As evening approaches, the bee-master returns the empty frames for the honeybees to clean and repair any comb that was damaged in the havesting process. The bees seem to have forgotten that the thief stole their honey, and are now licking their little bee lips at the messy honey-coated frames returning to the hives. All is well and forgiven and the natural balance is restored once again.


  1. What an amazing process. Your pictures are fabulous--quite the tutorial. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. This makes beekeeping look delicious!
    Still reading your honest, real, picturesque, beautiful blog!
    It inspires!
    Thanks for showing And writing true beauty.

  3. drooling over your photos-- they are fantastic. I can hardly believe we will have honey. Can't wait to see you Saturday.

  4. Amazing! And so beautiful documented! So, that is done once a year? How do you store the honey? Do you SHARE? :)

  5. Would love to see your answers to Marilou's questions. :)

    Amazing shots, as usual. How do you manage that from inside the house?

    Amazing storetelling Lisa. Really love your blog!

  6. What an interesting process. I always wondered how I get my honey. We buy local honey from a gentlemen in town and it is oh so yummy! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Can we come over for "bread and honey" night? Love your blog...

  8. Wow. That's impressive. And now I think I must make myself some toast and honey.

  9. Beautiful photos! I had no idea how the honey was harvested - thanks for sharing this post! I love honey. I have a little every morning on my cereal. Your blog is awesome, Lisa!

  10. I never thought I would be envious of someone's extractor...but I am! We spun ours today on a 3 frame spinner...which was fine...but oh, yours looks amazing! Great photos!