The B Life: Honey, honey.

Honey, honey.

Last October, Nick and I harvested our very first round of honey. There were approximately 2 litres total, which we split up into several 250 mL and 500 mL jars. Some of these were sold to friends, some were given to family; most were consumed by Nick's dad. He's become a real sucker for honey in his tea.

Last October, I neglected to post up some photos of the honey process because ...  well, I forgot. And also because interrupting thrifted clothing for a blog entry about honey seemed a little out of touch.

So here's a brief recap.

removing the honey from the boxes.

scraping the caps off the honeycomb.

pure, uncontaminated, raw honey.

wax. lots and lots of sticky wax.

liquified vs hardening honey.

In the spring, Nick had purchased three new hives. His previous hives had died from the severe cold and from disease. The new hives needed time to build food first for themselves before we could even consider harvesting any honey from any of the hives. We only ended up harvesting a few combs from two of the hives. 

However, this year, all the hives survived the winter - which means we do not have to start over. The bees should already have food reserves left where the queen lives, and so for the majority of this season the bees will be making honey that we can collect and (hopefully) sell.

Nick's hives are all registered, and we're hoping to obtain the paperwork that allows us to sell the honey more commercially, instead of just by word of mouth. As such, I've spent some time designing a label for the honey jars. 

I actually like the idea of branding it "Zee's Bees" instead of "Zwart Farms", since "Z" was what Nick was called by his friends in college. I like the ring to it. This particular brand, though, allows me to rework the design for eggs, farm raised chickens, fresh produce, and preserves - when and if we ever get to that point. I had hoped to call the homestead brand "The Birds and the Bees" except that some wise and witty person already used that. It's so hard to be original.

For now, I'll print these off on card stock and tie them prettily around the tops of the jars.

A healthy hive should produce up to 3 litres of honey evert 2-3 weeks. That more than quadruples our harvest last season. It also means there will be wax for candles and balms - both skills I cannot wait to learn.

It's springtime now, and the hives are waking up. Nick sent me this photo tonight after he put a feeding strip in each of the hives. The bees are excited to get to work - which is good, because I am looking forward to collecting more honey and wax!

What do you look forward to this season? Have you ever kept bees or collected honey? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear about your experiences! 

Also, poll: Do you like Zee's Bees better that Zwart Farms? Should I make up a second tag option just to see? 

Stay thrifty!

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