So we recently had our last inspection from Sam from Geelong Honey Source, where he helped us “pack” the hives for winter. In short, it entails reducing the number of boxes per hive so that they can live closer together and so preserve heat and energy. This also leaves them with enough food (honey and nectar) to last them through our cold winter. The better they survive winter, the better they’ll be ready to perform in spring. So the big thing is not to get too greedy and harvest all the honey. Fair share, plain and simple.
So from the one hive we removed a box to which they had almost done nothing. These frames just got frozen (to kill all bacteria) and then sealed and stored until spring. But from the other hive we removed a box that was chockers with capped honey. It was heavy, sweet to smell and even dripping a small bit of honey. Precious gold honey!
So then came processing time. We chose a nice warm sunny autumn day, under the pretence that the honey would spin out easier – but it was also more pleasant to do all the work. Cutting or scraping the caps off the honey frames was tricky at first, but Patricia soon got the hang of it.
Every 3 frames we then spun them out. But so here’s the mathematical challenge – the spinner thingy takes 3 frames at a time, and it is hellishly wobbly to spin if it is unbalanced. Close to impossible unless you hang on to the thing for dear life. (We know, we tried.) A hive box takes 8 frames, so you’re either going to leave some frames in the hive every time you harvest, or you have to harvest 3 full boxes (I wish! Maybe one day…)
Amazing fresh, flavourful honey. Especially unheated, unprocessed, as nature intended it. You can taste a bit of the lavender and rosemary, but it’s not overwhelming as we have lots of other natives and bee-attracting flowers around too. Besides, they forage much wider than our small plot.
All together we harvested 13kg of honey. Not bad, especially considering that we started very late in the season… Well, that should last us a month or maybe, just maybe, three months, at the rate we go through honey in our family. We’ve already put the “rules” in place – our honey is for eating fresh, and we can use the “stall bought” honey for cooking, baking, tea and so on.