Monday, September 21, 2009

Harvesting Honey!!!

About two weeks ago, we harvested honey for the first time!!!  It went great!!!   Harvesting turned out to be a lot easier and less messy than we were expecting.  We are very thankful for how it went and are so pleased at having our very own honey!!!  It is delicious!!!  The difference between it and store bought  honey is amazing!!!  We took quite a few pictures so, I've posted some below.

After washing our buckets and getting our equipment together, we headed out to the hive!

Out at the hive.

Brushing the bees off of the frames.

Look at all of that capped honey!!!

We decided to use a "crush and strain" method.  What you do is just scrape all of the wax and honey off your frame into a bucket and then mash it all together.  Of course, after you do all of that, you'll have to strain it.  In this picture we are scraping the frames off into our bucket.

The mashed mixture.

Getting ready to dump/scrape the mixture into our straining/filtering buckets.

Dumping it in.


 More scraping!!!

You can see the two buckets stacked on top of each other.  In the top bucket, we had a paint strainer which is what we dumped the honey/wax into.  In the bottom of the bucket, we cut out some 1/2  to 1 inch  holes.   So, the honey strained out of the paint filters, through the holes into the bottom bucket (our bottling bucket).  In the top of our bottling bucket, we had another very small micron filter.  By the time the honey went through the whole process, there wasn't any wax left!!!

Because is wasn't extremely warm, it took a couple of days for the honey to do all of the straining.  It was SO hard to be patient!!!

The bottling bucket with our honey!!!

Sienna and I had an excited audience as we began to bottle our very first harvest of honey!!!

The first jar of the first harvest.

Bottling the honey.  Isn't this a neat picture?!

 Myself with our honey crop.  We got about 36 pounds of honey off of just one honey super!!!   Considering all of the rain we had during the major nectar flows this year and also that this was our first year to harvest, we were extremely pleased!!!

We also got a little over 5 pounds of wax.  I am looking forward to making candles and lip balm this winter!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

WANTED and FOUND - The Culprit of the Holes in Our Tomatoes!!!

That's right!!!  Sabrina went out to pick some tomatoes the other day and found what has been putting so many holes in our tomato crop.

This huge tomato worm!!!   
A closer look at the culprit and the damage.

Adding To The Apiary...

Last Monday(Labor Day), Daddy, Mr. Evans and I went to pick up some established bee hives!!! We bought them from an older gentleman that has been bee keeping for at least 30 years. He is trying to reduce his apiary because it is too much for him to continue caring for.

Mr. Evans bought 9 hives and we bought 2. It was a little bit of an adventure picking up the hives especially after dark! It went well though and we only came away with a few stings. We actually ended up doing about 180 miles of driving that night- all in a big circle!!!

I inspected my new bees the other day and they seem to be doing well. So, we now have an apiary of three hives!!! :)

This is the first location we went to.  It was quite an adventure getting back in here.  The grass/weeds were taller than our car!!!  We thought we were going to get stuck. :)  Unfortunately, you can't really see this from the picture- I wish I would have gotten a better one!
Look at all of the bees sitting on the front of the hive!  I think they rode like that all of the way home! 
This is the second location we went to.  It was easier to get back into this one, but it was so dark!  I had the job of holding the flashlight.  That is quite an interesting job when it starts attracting all of the bees! :)  I had taken my hat and veil off but quickly decided to put it back on when the bees started flying around and getting stuck in my hair!!!  Thankfully, I actually didn't get stung at all during the whole expedition.  I've gotten use to getting stung on my hands and it doesn't bother me anymore.  But, the face is NOT a pleasant location!!!
Finishing up with the loading. 
I didn't get any pictures of us unloading the hives, but it all went great.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is one of our family's favorite bread recipes.  A friend was recently asking for it so, Katelyn, here you go!  

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Water:               1 and 1/8 cups (if doing it by hand you may want to warm it slightly)

Butter:               4 Tbs. - softened

Honey (or sucanat):   1/3 cup

Dash of salt

About 1 Tbs. Cinnamon (I like to add a little extra! :)

Raisins:              1 cup

Flour:               3 cups (you may need to add more - we used unbleached pure white flour. I've also used whole wheat or a combination of both!)

Yeast:              2 ½ tsp.

Directions: Knead all ingredients together and let rise.  Bake at 350 for about 25 min (it varies you'll just have to check it!). 

I normally make this recipe in the bread machine, but I think you could do it by hand as well - just like any other recipe.

Note: This also makes good rolls.