Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh, Honey!

This morning I was up to my elbows in elderberries and elderberry juice, the peppers were still staring at me from their basket on the floor and a half-bushel of cucumbers was waiting on the porch.

I heard a knock at the door.

I went to the door, and there stood my husband in his bee suit, holding two frames of honey. "Here," he said, "take these."


I looked. The frames were crawling with these...


and honey was dripping on the floor.

"Uh, no," I said. And closed the door.

Of course, I couldn't just back out on him at that point. I knew he was going to the hives and planned to bring back some honey. I was so busy with berries I didn't consider that I might need to get something ready for it. And Larry figured I'd take care of whatever he brought back.

As I scurried (grumbling loudly, I assure you) around the kitchen trying to find clean containers for catching the honey--everything is full of berries, berry stems, juice, and squished-out berries--Derek and his crowd arrived.

Oh boy. Now we had bees, honey and kids on the porch. Someone was bound to get stung. Hannah immediately let out a shriek. "A bee is on me." Haley's answer? "Well, duh, Hannah. You're stepping in honey." Haley had a bee on her hand at the time (pictured above--she also took the photos for this post, while holding a bee.)

Me? I was still grumbling and fussing at Larry while Derek laughed at both of us. Old people, I bet he was thinking. Listen to 'em! He studied the situation and figured out what he needed to do to calm down the old woman (that would be me).

Hannah overcame her fear to watch her Dad cut honey off the frame. Poppa Larry got out of the bee suit and out of the way. I ran around trying to figure out what and where to put the honey. I knew where I wanted to tell Larry to put it, but it would not be nice to say it here. Just kidding. Really.


In the kitchen, I put chunks of comb into sterilized jars and strained the rest of the honey through my jelly straining bag, which happened to be already set up for the elderberries. A clean bag and a pan was all it took and I was in business.


Finished product: almost a gallon of honey, ready to use. And not one bee in the house. Amazing.

I was sticky from my elbows to my fingertips, don't ask me how. I had managed to sticky up a lot of pots and countertop too. Haley hosed off the porch but there are still some sweet spots attracting a few bees.

But we've got honey! Considering the amount invested in our hives to date, I'm figuring each jar so far has cost us about $40. Two of the hives were new this year, so we may not harvest any honey from them until next year. It's going to take a while to recoup the investment in hives, bees, tools, suits, veils, smoker, and so on.

That first taste of honey made the expense worthwhile. We'll take a little more this year, not much because we want to be sure our bees have plenty to keep them over the winter. Next year, if all three hives survive, we should get a lot more.

Sweet thought.

20 comments:

Jai Joshi said...

Wow, you guys do so much! Honey too! That's incredible.

It looks gorgeous by the way. My mouth was watering staring at those pictures. I hear that local honey is very good for the immune system so that makes it even better.

Do you sell your honey? You should sell it over the internet and make a fortune on each bottle. People have fetishes for honey from different parts of the world. I know I do.

Jai

Janet, said...

A sweet post, Susanne. Just kidding, I'm glad you're sticky all over instead of me, I don't like bees. I got stung twice by a wasper a few days ago. It doesn't feel too good. Larry looks like he needs a break, maybe you could bake a pan of cornbread for him to put some honey on.

Anonymous said...

Beeautiful!
Amy

Granny Sue said...

Cornbread is a good idea, Janet! Actually, I didn't say so in the post, but his right knee is causing him a lot of trouble. He was hurting pretty bad. We're going to the doctor tomorrow because he can hardly walk tonight. Poor guy. And me fussing over a few bees and stickiness.

Jai, we don't have nearly enough to sell--I wish! Our goal is to provide enough for ourselves and we're not even there yet. And apparently we need to get ourselves a little more organized...but it sure is good!

Nance said...

Beautiful jars of honey. I enjoyed this entry, Granny Sue -- it all sounded so familiar, like deja vue! LOL I could have written this.

We grumble and complain. We stomp and spit a little . . . then we just do it. We "getterdone".

laoi gaul~williams said...

oh well done you under a crisis! and all that lovely honey~i always try too have local honey in the house for eating, putting on cuts and decanting in a small jar as a face cleanser...what a great all rounder!

Granny Sue said...

What I think is funny, Nance, is that when you've been married a long time you know you can stomp and spit and it's okay. When you can get angry and there's no big marriage crisis, I think you can say the bond will hold.

laoi, I am looking forward to having honey for all the uses you list. I have a little beeswax too, and I'm saving that to try making some salve.

And those peppers did get cut up and put in the freezer finally--Larry helped me with them last night.

warren said...

HA! Recover money with bees? I think not...trust me! Still, it's hard to beat honey still warm from the hive. The taste can't be beat and the satisfaction and the effect on your garden are worth a ton in themselves!

D said...

With so many people losing their bees,it's nice to hear the bees are going strong in your neck of the woods. We NEED those little miracles.

Matthew Burns said...

Poor ol' Larry gets no respect!lol.

That sure is some good lookin' honey.

Jason Burns said...

Once again I have to say that you make me tired simply reading about all that you do. What kind of honey is it? Any particular flavor?

Granny Sue said...

Warren, I should have mae Larry read your blog about your honey harvest! It's on his reading list for sure now. You're right, of course. We'll never get our money back because we'll always need something else. I sure miss "Honeybee" Harvey, who was our beeman in the 70's. He knew so much, and guided us along at that time. We got out of bees in the early 80's and of course I've forgotten much of what he taught us.

Jason, it's no particular kind that I am aware of, just what they've made over the summer. maybe in a few years we'll be able to harvest after apple bloom, poplar bloom, etc. Right now I'm just happy to have honey!

We do stay busy. Not having TV and not being the types to go out much helps us get things done. And as you know, Larry has been off work for the past year and that's a huge benefit. Wish he could always stay home. Wish I could too!

Granny Sue said...

Warren, I should have mae Larry read your blog about your honey harvest! It's on his reading list for sure now. You're right, of course. We'll never get our money back because we'll always need something else. I sure miss "Honeybee" Harvey, who was our beeman in the 70's. He knew so much, and guided us along at that time. We got out of bees in the early 80's and of course I've forgotten much of what he taught us.

Jason, it's no particular kind that I am aware of, just what they've made over the summer. maybe in a few years we'll be able to harvest after apple bloom, poplar bloom, etc. Right now I'm just happy to have honey!

We do stay busy. Not having TV and not being the types to go out much helps us get things done. And as you know, Larry has been off work for the past year and that's a huge benefit. Wish he could always stay home. Wish I could too!

STEPHEN HOLLEN said...

mmmm Mountain honey. Not much better, 'cept maybe sourwood honey. big old cathead biscuits and fresh churned butter.

Am I too old for you and Larry to adopt?

Susan at Stony River said...

Wow, $40/jar honey!! That must be incredible! Actually being serious, I bet it *is* amazingly good.

I tried to make Tuesday/Wednesday work, but we'll be in Wheeling and can't move it, with leaving so soon. ARGH. But there's next time! I'm hoping we'll be here again over the holidays.

Granny Sue said...

Actually, it would have been tough on our end too, Susan. Larry's knee is a real issue right now--xrays this morning and a MRI in the offing. But certainly at the holidays! I would love to have you here for a few days. I'll even try to get some time off work!

Stephen, we'd adopt you anytime. Anyone who can tell a lie and make brooms is a son candidate in my book :-)

Nance said...

will be thinking of you all while you get Larry's knee checked on and tuned up! Hope it is better soon!

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Angela said...

I wish I had a quarter of your energy! What is your secret???

I have the best recipe to make honey oat chocolate chip cookies that I need to post as soon as I make some that is! lol I've had this post ready for 2 months but I haven't baked the cookies to show what they look like. They are the best cookies I've ever had and I am not a cookie baker at all! I think it's because of the honey. All of my honey comes from West Virginia of course! lol

Granny Sue said...

You definitely need to post the recipe, Angela! Photos or not, we'll take your word for it that they're wonderful :-)

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