Raw Unfiltered All-Natural Local California Honey

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Barley Flats Aug 2011 - Taking Off the Honey with Volunteers

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Today we were joined by three volunteers - Mary Beth Murrill, a beginner beekeeper with whom we have worked once before; Larry Simmons, a first timer who approached us with interest in learning the biz, and Christian Aubert, former acting client and long time friend, in from Paris, who has always wanted to simply experience the wonders of the 'ladies'.

Mary Beth Murrill Larry Simmons Christian Aubert

We all rendezvoused and then caravaned to the site - BARLEY FLATS where Klaus met us with the big truck. The day was glorious, clear skies, slight breeze and plenty of work. I set the 'staff' to lighting up their smokers and instructed that they stay lighted throughout the day. The fume boards were applied with a stinky liquid which does not harm the bees but simply sends them downward, out of the honey super to be removed (these supers are 'extra' honey boxes, not honey taken from their main food source. Some times there is no 'extra' which means we simply do not 'take off' any. It is important that the bees' interests come first if one is to exhibit good husbandry.) Once the fume boards have been applied with the liquid, the board is put on top of the open box. The heat of the sun draws the smell out and within minutes the boards have done their jobs. The box can then be removed without bees remaining inside and then the box is placed on to the palate - three to each side, four or five high. A total of six supers to a palate - 4 or 5 high. We move the fume boards down the line, as it were, as each super is removed, always keeping the boards in action and well 'fumed'. Boxes that can serve the colony will be left off for later collection when the honey has been cleaned off. The regular colony, with its hives, is left two high for transportation to winter grounds at a later date.

Larry Simmons Christian Aubert Mary Beth Mary Beth examining Klaus with Fume Board - Stinky
Klaus finishing up with Fume Boards Larry enjoying the day Larry working the smoker Erika Readying placement of Fume Board on hive top
Klaus, Mary Beth and Christian Mary Beth and Christian readying the Fume Boards Mary Beth & Christian - Fume Boards The Motly Crew The Merry Threesome
Christian Aubert still smiling Beeswax thrill Quick tarp discourages honey robbing Filled palettes ready for extraction

At the close of the workday, the supers are covered with a tarp securely strapped down. That tarp has been put on throughout the day so as to discourage the bees from 'robbing' the new found honey. This particular truck load was then waited on until early evening for the final close down wrap and then Klaus moved from BARLEY FLAT location to CC Ridge where the truck spent the night. I returned to the mounbtain at 7pm for his pick-up and again in the early morning so that the truck could be brought to the extractor for jarring. We no longer do our own extraction:
1. too many frames for us to handle now as we have expanded
2. health permits abound (although no human hands touch the honey as it is all done in a spinner and then automatically transferred to stainless steel tubes and then into a personalized drum, for each honey and each beekeeper)
3. the premises would have to be large for the actual operation on a commercial scale.
The outfit we use does nothing but extraction and has both kosher and organic permits. They are inspected regularly. We have used this outfit for 30+ years, as we used to wholesale before we went KLAUSESBEES. We supply the labels for the main label wrapped around the bottles then add our specialty labels, by hand, for each variety of honey and discuss the bottling size and type prior, based on the amount of drums garnished.

Klause at day's end Erika at day's end Bee activity at day's end

The day was well spent, moved quickly with much heavy work done by all (total of 86 supers were loaded - Klaus and I will return for a second set within a day or so) and at the end of the day, smiles were greeted by more smiles of accomplishment. It was an experience for all, as we have not had more than one volunteer at a time, from time to time, so the instructional working together was exciting. We made three drums / 86 honey supers - 650+ lbs per drum... not bad for a 2nd year come back from fires!

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