Not in my wildest dreams of becoming a beekeeper in May this year did I expect to be extracting so much honey from queen bee Lizzie and her girls. Having read books written by new beekeepers in their first year and other beekeepers at the local apiary branch that they have had very little harvest in their first year, here I am with nearly 30lbs of honey all decanted into jars and labelled - and there are still two supers on the hive filling with more honey. The girls have certainly been busy and looking outside across to the hive this morning, it looks like they were on another nectar flow mission.
Having hired a honey extractor from the Exeter Beekeepers' Association, it was time to get sticky. Sixteen frames of capped honey was already waiting and the first job was to take each frame and remove the wax cappings. You could use a special honey capping knife, but I used a more manageable uncapping fork. It probably takes longer this way, but part of the pleasure is taking time to do things slowly.
With four frames uncapped and in the honey extractor, I cranked the handle and started spinning... and spinning. Looking down the barrel of the extractor I could see honey being forced out of their frames. After about 50 turns of the handle the frames were turned round and off I went again turning the handle. That was four frames done, only another 12 to do!
It's not until you have finished and peer into the tank below do you see just how much honey was in all the frames - it almost filled a 10 litre plastic catering-size bucket.
Two days later after the honey had been standing for any air bubbles to disperse, that magical moment had arrived when you pour honey into your very first honey jar. There are no words that come close to explaining that wonderful feeling.
Thank you Lizzie and girls for that very special moment.
The image used has been published under the terms of a Creative Commons License and is attributed to Honey Bee.