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.
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.