It was a great party. By the time my head hit the pillow my feet were pounding but I felt completely satisfied! We had pulled off the best honey extracting party ever and while we sent everyone out the door with one or more bottles of honey we are sitting on at least 15 gallons of extracted honey. Once the house cleared Paula and I finally got a change to sit down, eat and recap. It was a great success and a fabulous way to spend Labor Day. Everyone seemed to really enjoy learning about the bees and seeing the process of getting the honey from the frames into the bottles. Fortunately kids loved cranking the extractor and kept it going for four full hours.
The clean up, well that is another story! It took the better part of Tuesday morning for me to get the honey room clean up. The extractor went into the shower and took about an hour to clean with hot water, dish soap and more cranking to agitate the sticky mess covering the inside of the tank. While bagging the boxes full of frames I dropped two boxes on my shin. A bloody mess ensued. Tashi Losar found his way into the honey room and got his paws stuck in a puddle of honey and stared running amok. It was a comical scene to say the least. Blood pouring down my leg, sticky honey hands trying to catch and sequester Tashi . . . By noon I had everything under control, cleaned up and the boxes ready to go back to the bee yard.
I wanted to start bottling honey but there are still way too many air bubbles from the extracting. It takes a week or more for the air bubbles to rise out of the honey and it is worth the wait! Clear golden honey in a jar is much nicer to behold than cloudy bubbly honey. So I am waiting patiently hoping I can get my Rosh Hashanah honey delivered in time for the Jewish New Year in a few weeks.
Paula and I went down to the bee yard today to return the empty boxes and frames to the hives. The bees will clean up the frames and the boxes in no short order and we can pull them off and store them in Paula's garage over the winter. It had been several weeks since we checked on the bees, too long for both of us. The bees, well they probably appreciated the break from our poking around but we missed them and we missed being in the bee yard. I am happy to report all five hives are healthy, thriving and queen rights. They all seem to be bringing in some nectar, and we saw plenty of golden rod along the road driving down but no nasty locker room smell in the bee yard. Typically golden rod sticks like athletic socks. There is some new capped honey in some of the hives and all had good brood patterns. We weren't looking for queens just some evidence that the hives are queen right.
We will go back next week and pull the boxes the bees clean and check on them. At some point we will have to shore up our assets, determine if we need to feed them syrup to help build up their winter stores and eventually put them to bed for the winter. If we have an Indian Summer the bees might just keep pulling in golden rod nectar and we won't need to feed them at all.
In case you missed the video show casing our activities here it is again: