Saturday, October 1, 2011


Delicious autumn!
 My very soul is wedded to it,
 and if I were a bird
 I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
 - George Eliot

Autumn is my favorite time of year, a time when we celebrate the bounty in our lives and a time when we begin to slow down, move inward.  The change in season brings so many beautiful colors, the air turning cool, butternut squash, fresh pumpkin pies, crisp tart apples, onions and bubbling stew on the stove, the smell of cider brewing all day long.  I suppose that's enough but really, I begin to feel more grounded, a sort of settling in.  This year I have immensely enjoyed stocking our makeshift pantry with as much of summers goodness as time allowed.  Some of the last jars to go on the shelves are filled with honey from our resident bees. 

I waited and waited for this honey.  The beekeeper in the family decided to change his philosophy and follow the Warre beekeeping method (which is supposed to be more bee friendly), so there was alot less human honey harvesting going on around here.  But I have to say it was worth the wait.  Above is a super from one of our hives.  Each super is filled with eight frames and each frame is full of honey.  This year however we used top bars instead of frames, which just means that instead of giving the bees an already built rectangular base to start with they had to build their own comb in any shape they please. 

Since the top bars are frameless we couldn't use our homemade extractor.

we soon discovered another method of extraction.......packing the honey comb into jars.....


covering with wire mesh............


and inverting over a larger glass jar so the honey filters through the mesh but the beeswax stays behind.  The process goes especially fast when jars are placed in the warm sunshine...(just beware of robber bees!)

Walter William's "Harvest"

1 comment:

  1. To get the last dregs of honey after you strain them, put the comb in a bowl and into a warm (not hot) oven and let the comb melt. It will rise to the top and leaving a layer of honey underneath it. Just pop off the wax top and pour out the honey.