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A Year of Picnics


 

The Essential Book of Homesteading


 

QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Liquid Gold

Pardon the radio silence, friends. I’ve been taking care of buzz-ness (just go with it), you see. Last weekend, with the help of several friends, I extracted honey from my two hives.

A smattering of the honey gathered is pictured above. Three medium supers yielded 5 gallons before bottling and 12 quarts, 19 pints, and 4 1/2-pints once jarred. My little ladies were working some kind of hard all spring and summer-long. I considered extracting in spring, as well, but found myself just too overwhelmed with books and baby, and decided to wait until late summer instead.
My book details the process of extraction, if you’re a new-bee looking to extract. I’d highly suggest recruiting friends to aid in the endeavor, enticing them with a jar or two of the good stuff in exchange. Many hands make quick work of uncapping the wax from each frame, placing the frames in the centrifuge and then churning out the honey. Fortunately, my local bee club rents all of the items needed for extraction for a mere $20 to members. This fee allows the renter to check out the equipment for 3 days, which is ideal, as you’ll need time to remove the supers bound for extraction from the hives, take out the honey, bottle it, and then clean everything thoroughly before returning it.
I’ve canned plenty of things. I’ve made all manner of homemade dairy products. I’ve baked bread and made bitters and grown vegetables and planted fruit trees and gathered eggs from my chickens. Something about extracting honey, though, really makes me feel connected to food in the most profound way. Perhaps it’s because the tradition is so time-honored. Maybe it’s because it is a slow, laborious process, inviting so much in terms of reflection and gratitude. Whatever it is, it’s absolutely awesome, humbling, and a glorious, sticky mess, and I love every second of it!!!

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