I mentioned in my last blog post about our decision to remove the honey super from the hive in order to reduce the size of the hive to make it more manageable for the bees to maintain and to help keep them warm during the winter months. Yesterday, I had a few hours before I had to go in to work so we decided to try to harvest the honey.
We only had four partially capped frames so we didn’t think it was worth using the extractor and then having to clean it up. Well, after uncapping one side of the frame and letting it drain for an hour or so we decided that method wasn’t going to cut it.
Not much honey, huh? It would take a month of Sundays to extract our four partially capped frames! So, we broke down and got out the extractor.
It can hold two frames at a time so we uncapped both sides of two frames and put them in the extractor.
CountryBoy set himself up in front of the TV and started cranking.
For this extractor, each set of frames needs to be cranked for ten to fifteen minutes per side then you flip the frames over and do the same for the other side.
We didn’t think we would get much honey since none of the four frames were completely capped and filled with honey but what a pleasant surprise when our first pint jar filled up and there was still some honey left in the extractor. I grabbed a quart size jar and, lo and behold, THAT jar filled up!
To say we were pleasantly surprised and ecstatic is an understatement!
It was totally worth breaking out the extractor because it did a mighty fine job of getting the honey out of the comb in a timely manner.
Now, while all this is going on, I was also putting up the pinto beans we harvested during the summer months and had stored in the freezer.
I wanted to have beans that were ready to use at a moments notice so keeping them in their frozen state would not suffice. (I was also tired of seeing the shelled beans we harvested right before the first frost and put in the fridge staring at me every time I opened the fridge door!) So, since I had a few hours that morning why not put all of ’em up!
I now have eight pint jars of pinto beans canned and ready for use. Yay!
These eight jars were the results of a couple dozen plants. We’ll see how long these jars last us but, next year, I’d like to double that. Not having to buy canned beans during the winter would be a good thing!
On my way in to work later that morning, I had this overwhelming feeling of excitement and accomplishment. It’s difficult to explain the feeling but those four hours we spent harvesting honey from our bees and putting up our homegrown pinto beans is precisely why we bought this farm – to become more self-sufficient, to know where our food comes from, to be less-reliant on outside food sources, to meet like-minded people, etc. And, as I look at my jars of honey being proudly displayed on my coffee bar, they remind me of the dream we had before buying this farm and that we are now living that dream. Now, I’m not saying living the dream is all peaches and cream because life is just not that way. There are ups and downs as in anything so, be a dreamer and make strides towards accomplishing that dream but be realistic as well because it’s worth it.
I am reminded of a retirement meeting that CountryBoy and I attended while we were working in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in Florida. The speaker asked everyone to state what they wanted to do when they retired. Many mentioned wanting to retire to a condo on the beach or have a cabin in the mountains. Then, it came our turn… we both stated we wanted a farm! The response from the instructor… “a farm?! Don’t you know that’s a lot of work?” Hahaha! Yes, we know it’s a lot of work but, let me tell ya’, it’s fulfilling and rewarding work and we wouldn’t change a thing!