Our poor bees. I loved those bees like they were a pet dog, but they died this winter. Turns out, a farmer south of us used a new kind of pesticide on his fields last summer. The bees are fine when they collect the pollen, and make the honey, but then when they get to that honey to eat it in winter, they die. It was tragic. I went to check on them in the early spring/late winter, and they were fine. At the end of winter I checked again, and lifted up the box, and a pile of dead bees fell out of the bottom. I saved the frames of honey they didn't eat. I don't know if I want to eat pesticide honey either, but figured we could use the practice in extracting. Jeff contends that not all of it is pesticide honey, that they collected from a lot of sources. We're still thinking about it.
First we scrape off the caps of the cells. Ideally we would use an electric hot knife, but didn't have one, so we just kept dipping our knife in boiling water. Honestly, it was a sloppy, inefficient system.
Our next door neighbor generously let us use their extractor. The frames are spun around, and centrifugal force flings the honey out to the edges of the can. On the down side, this was a hand powered spinner. You can see me here bracing the can while Ari spins, but most of the time Kai and I were both needed to stabilize it. It was like a bucking bronco. It was really really hard to spin too. I was kind of glad we only had 7-8 frames to do.
We strained the honey as it came out, then at the very end, our strainer fell into the bucket! I had to slowly heat it on low to pull off the rest of the wax. One more messy, inefficient process. I'm hoping we made all of our mistakes this time, and we will get a great harvest next year!