Good News from the Bee Yard

It’s finally time to harvest some honey and see how our bees performed this year.

We harvested frames of honey today, sliced open the comb and spun it out in our hand-crank extractor. My daughter came to help. She could not make it up the road in her front-wheel-drive car, so she parked at the bottom of the mountain and I drove down to get her.

Unfortunately, I had only five medium frames that were fully drawn out and 100 percent capped. I tested honey in some of the open frames and it was over 20 percent water, so we could not harvest it yet. Apparently, the rain and high humidity have made it difficult for the bees to concentrate the nectar and turn it into honey. The capped honey tested at 17.5 percent water, which is ideal.

One frame I harvested had no foundation, so we cut it into four blocks of solid comb honey and stuck it in the freezer. The other frames spun out to make 10 pounds of honey. We filled up 12 eight-ounce bottles and four one-pound bottles. Counting the two frames of comb honey we have harvested, this brings us to fifteen pounds of honey so far this year.

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Prepper Diary August 15: We Get a Dog and New Bee Equipment

Adding a good-size dog to our prepper property has been a goal of mine since Day One.

We got back from the road trip to pick up our new dog, an Anatolian Shepherd. She is settling in nicely and has made herself at home. Most of our basement (she is not yet allowed upstairs) is carpeted, but she threw herself down on the tile floor in the utility room, where it was cool. She even tried out the shower floor, which I found amusing.

The dog is crate trained, which is nice, and had no hesitancy entering or remaining in her crate while we ducked out for a couple hours in the afternoon. She walks pretty well on the leash, but tugs more than I would like. We started working on that right away as I took her around the property and down the road.

When the chickens saw her, they ran to the opposite end of their run, which I thought showed good common sense. The dog glanced at them, but did not display any interest in them and no motivation to chase them. That’s a good sign because we don’t want our livestock guardian dog to attack our chickens. I’m going to station her outside the run for a couple of hours tomorrow under close supervision and see how that goes.

She and the cat have looked at each other, but the cat is keeping her distance upstairs. The dog seems nonplussed by the cat. Later, when she heard the cat meowing in excitement as my wife fed her, the dog perked up at the sound of the cat’s vocalization.

With the dog, my homestead wish list for year one is complete.

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Our First Honey Harvest is in and it Tastes Delicious

I didn’t expect to harvest any honey this year, our first with the hives, but just 60 days later, we pulled our first frame of honey from one of the hives.

We harvested our first honey yesterday. Technically, we harvested our first comb honey, a frame of honeycomb made by the bees with about four pounds of honey encapsulated into it. As seen in the photo above, we cut the honey off the frame, creating rectangular chunks that we could fit into Tupperware containers. Two of these went into the freezer for temporary storage and the other one stayed out to be eaten.

We froze the extra comb as a precaution. Freezing kills any wax moth eggs and larvae that may be present in the hive. We don’t have wax month, as far as we know, but we played it safe. The last thing someone wants to do is open their comb honey after a few weeks and see something crawling around in there.

The honey itself was delicious! We made biscuits from scratch and enjoyed them with the honey for breakfast.

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