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More Honey, Honey

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” What are you making now?” she asked.

I have been enjoying my beekeeping and honey harvest activities over the last month or so if you have been following along. As a young lad….many, many, many years ago I fell in love with creamed, churned or whipped honey……It is know by several names. I decided to use some the odds and ends of small jars of my honey occupying shelves and whip some up. (Pun intended)

The creamed, whipped or churned honey is not really what the name  implies.  Anyone who has enjoyed raw honey knows that it will crystalize over time. This type of honey is also crystalized but there is a method to create very fine crystals that make the honey smooth and creamy.

So, to answer my wife’s question, “I am making creamed honey, honey!”

The process….”my Raw Honey”….- Raw honey has not been heated to temperatures that alter the health properties of honey, i.e., above 118 degrees F.  Much  of the commercial honey has been heated to 170 degrees F, destroying the health benefits….but it will stay liquid on the shelf for a very long time. Raw honey has also not been filtered, I run mine through a fine sieve to remove wax and other non honey particulates.

I poured about 3 pint jars of honey into a bowl. To that I added about a half pint of creamed honey purchased from the store.  The creamed honey is the catalyst, if you will, for the raw honey in the bowl.  After thoroughly blending the microcrystals are distributed and now become the template for the rest of the honey.

The  honey after it has  been thoroughly blended. Air bubble form at the top and I skimmed those off before  bottling.

The honey after it has been thoroughly blended. Air bubble form at the top and I skimmed those off before bottling.

 

Filled to the brim. I weighed the jars to ensure truth in labeling. These 4 ounce by volume jars hold 6 ounces by weight of honey. Don't you just love the English system? Otherwise it would be, 4 ounce [US, liquid] = 118.294 118 25 milliliter and 6 oz= 170.0971grams

Filled to the brim. I weighed the jars to ensure truth in labeling. These 4 ounce by volume jars hold 6 ounces by weight of honey. Don’t you just love the English system? Otherwise it would be, 118.294 milliliters and 170.097 grams – Just love that precision!

After filling four jars with pure honey I added some cinnamon to the remainder. I think it should be wonderful!

After filling four jars with pure honey I added some cinnamon to the remainder. I think it should be wonderful!

The jars posing before resting in a cool place for a week or so.

The jars posing before resting in a cool place for a week or so.

Can’t hardly wait!!!!!!!

TTFN

Bishop

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Wine Barrel Reuse Number 2

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The first reuse of the wine barrel was a rotating composter built for me by my daughter Ashleigh and son Ben. It was a gift for Father’s Day, June 16, 2013. It was well appreciated. As a compost tumbler it was a mechanical  success  but lacked the volume to be an effective creator of  compost. The Houston wet weather finally wreaked havoc on the support stand but left the barrel intact.

So, Ashleigh and Ben, your gift has been repurposed and is still fondly remembered as the Father’s Day gift you had intended – something useful in my garden!

After securing the metal bands with a few extra screws, I sawed the barrel in half starting at the compost tumbler door. I did salvage the hardware for a future project. I made the cut such that the back side was a bit taller than the front lip. See photo below.

You can see the darkened wood where the door was. Trust me, the backside is taller than the front lip.

You can see the darkened wood where the door was. Trust me, the backside is taller than the front lip.

The barrel had a rod run through it so that it could rotate. The hole make a great drain hole. I covered the hole with a wire screen and as seen in the next photo, covered with gravel before adding soil.

The barrel had a rod run through it so that it could rotate. The hole make a great drain hole. I covered the hole with a wire screen and as seen in the next photo, covered with gravel before adding soil.

I piled a small bucket load of gravel over the hole to aid in retention of the garden soil.....I suspect it will work well.

I piled a small bucket load of gravel over the hole to aid in retention of the garden soil…..I suspect it will work well.

The  first half  barrel has been planted with strawberry plants destined to provide luscious red berries for next spring’s jam making.

Strawberries....can't  wait!

Strawberries….can’t wait!

The remaining barrel sits ready and I am waiting for the boss to tell me what to plant! Yes dear, I am listening!

Bonus question……Where does TTFN come from?……hint,  think HONEY!

TTFN

Bishop

Last Harvest from My Top Bar Hive

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Sad story….Possibly, immediately after this last harvest the whole hive left….sometimes the old queen leaves and the hive has produced a new queen –  but I wasn’t so lucky. When I got back into it a few days later the robber bees were having  a field day. I salvaged some more honey but haven’t squeezed it yet….more on squeezing later.

A nice capped section of honeycomb ready to be cut off the bar.

A nice capped section of honeycomb ready to be cut off the bar.

My XXL gloved hand should give some perspective. I am still looking for XXXL gloves……fat hand, fat fingers and many, many auto-correct errors on my iPhone….that is a subject for another blog.

I am always amazed at how the bees draw comb....almost artistic in form and construction.

I am always amazed at how the bees draw comb….almost artistic in form and construction.

The comb above was not finished so it was shuffled around with the ones that I cut and replaced.

A nice pan full of lovely honey comb. It was a heavy haul.

A nice pan full of lovely honey comb. It was a heavy haul.

The squeezing process over a wire rack to catch the big chunks of wax as it drip through into a roasting pan.

The squeezing process over a wire rack to catch the big chunks of wax as it drips through into a roasting pan.

Pouring off  the honey and wax bits into the pail. There is a fine sieve screen that sits on the top of the pail to catch the small stuff.

Pouring off the honey and wax bits into the pail. There is a fine sieve screen that sits on the top of the pail to catch the small stuff.

Temptation....I was behaving but my wife and photographer snatched a few chunks of the delectable honeycomb for her snack.  One of our customers refers to the cut honeycomb as addictive.....It really is better than candy!

Temptation….I was behaving but my wife and photographer snatched a few chunks of the delectable honeycomb for her snack. One of our customers refers to the cut honeycomb as addictive…..It really is better than candy!

A hitchhiker from the hive area into the kitchen....This was one of 5 or 6 that we gathered up and escorted out to the backyard.

A hitchhiker from the hive area into the kitchen….This was one of 5 or 6 that we gathered up and escorted out to the backyard.

The second load from the roasting pan off  into the pail for straining. The wax is very evident on this shot.

The second load from the roasting pan off into the pail for straining. The wax is very evident on this shot.

Here is a shot of me squeezing the honey from the wax. I would squeeze and  compact the was as tight as I could. I then place it out near the hive and  the next several days it is wild watching the bees from the neighborhood clean the wax.

Here is a shot of me squeezing the honey from the wax. I would squeeze and compact the was as tight as I could. I then place it out near the hive and the next several days it is wild watching the bees from the neighborhood cleaning the wax.

12  pint jars - 18 pounds of honey and a little over 3 pounds in the white bucket. So danged good.

12 pint jars – 18 pounds of honey and a little over 3 pounds in the white bucket. So danged good.

I think my other empty top bar hive may become  a home for some swarming bees….I put some lemon grass oil in the hive and lots of bees are coming and going. it would be too funny if I recapture my bees!

TTFN

Bishop

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