We harvested 20 quarts this year, or 50-60 pounds. It’s really amazing.
I’m curious to see how long this honey lasts us. This last year I’ve used a lot of honey making my Honey Whole Wheat Flax Seed Bread. And I’ve been diligent in slowly converting many of our favorite recipes to use =less= honey instead of any white sugar as well. And even while continuing that process, I’m thinking this harvest could last us longer than a year.
That makes us think twice about a second hive. We’ve talked about getting one before, but now I wonder if we even need it. I think it would be useful if we were using honey to barter for other things.
I looked at some raw honey in the store the other day and it was going for $.40 an ounce. That would make 50 lbs worth $320. Which means in our second year we have officially made back our investment cost. I think we could even have gotten more honey this summer If I had invested in another super, but I just wasn’t sure I wanted to do that with the rocky year we had. I am satisfied nonetheless.
I also harvested one pound of useable beeswax, from the little cappings (see what I do with it next time).
Processing the beeswax is a bit tricky. I had tried to process last years cappings a few months ago, with bad results. I was so frustrated with it, I set the whole waxy seized-up mess on a shelf in my laundry room and just left it there for the last couple months. I didn’t think about it except for the few times I wondered where my smallest pot was hiding–then I remembered about the wax!
Luckily I browsed across the perfect help a few weeks ago and was able to successfully process the wax from this year and completely salvage the big mess of wax I made earlier this summer. (The only advice I would add to her instructions is to skim off any foamy stuff that rises to the top of the melting wax as well.) In the end I was so, so happy with how little wax I felt had been “wasted” in the process.
I really enjoy making the beeswax products, so that’s one reason (among others) that I am considering a top-bar hive. Then I could harvest whole combs of honey and wax instead of just the cappings. (I could scrape all the drawn up beeswax off my plastic foundation–but that just seems like a hassle and not really a good idea.) One other reason harvesting whole combs from a top-bar hive might be better for us, is because we will be moving next year and will no longer live by our friends that own the extractor we’ve used. So in the future we may have to settle for old-school style crushing the comb in a colander and letting the honey drip from the wax!