Category Archives: honey

Flat Stanley and the Honey Harvest

Flat Stanley decided to stick around in France and help with the honey harvest. The sunflower honey is so golden, and I bet it tastes amazing.

Stick To Plan Bee

Howdy – its Flat Stanley again, reporting in after an exciting day’s honey extraction! We collected the honey from the hives of Dallas and Jean-Philippe – three hives in all. I was asked to help out in the Extracting Room.

Firstly we had to make sure that all the equipment was spotlessly clean. It is after all a year since it has been used. You see me here atop the centrifugal extractor, surrounded by uncapping trays, buckets, sieves and honey tanks.

flat_stanley_equipment_2

All was fine and dandy, so we installed all these bits and pieces in the so called Extracting Room. When Dallas’ house was used as a farm in the olden days, this room was part of the area where they kept cows and horses. There is a massive vat in the corner which some say was for water for the animals, others say it was for wine making –…

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Mystery Honey Solved

While I have yet to receive the formal report, I did get an e-mail from Dr. Vaughn Bryant confirming my suspicion that the thick woody smelling honey I pulled off two of my hives was in fact honeydew honey.

Here is the text from his e-mail:

I did complete the pollen study. It does not contain any pollen but it does contain lots of honeydew elements and thus, it is what you suspected….a honeydew sample. I was going to take some pictures of the fungal spores in the honeydew and send them to you. However, I was at West Point Military Academy lecturing last week and just returned.

I’ll post a follow up when I get the official results, but it is at least nice to know the girls aren’t dumpster diving for food.

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Mystery Honey Part Deux

A few weeks ago I posted about my first honey harvest at the Sunshine Community Gardens, and how it was a complete bust. The general consensus was a super filled with dumpster honey which I ended up throwing out. I had planned on sending a sample for analysis but in the end decided it wasn’t worth the money to have someone tell me my honey was 40% high fructose corn syrup.

I had another harvest this weekend from one of my south Austin hives which has been consistently producing beautiful floral spring honey. When I started extracting this time however, it was that same thick weird “honey” I found in my central Austin hive just a few short weeks ago. Clearly something is up, and I’m now thinking perhaps this wasn’t produced by some dumpster diving bees.

My new theory is honeydew honey. Central Texas is experiencing an explosion in aphids due to the rains and hot weather we’ve had this summer. I’m guessing that the bees are taking up aphid honeydew instead of plant nectar which is resulting in this unusual honey. It is extremely difficult to extract using the crush and strain method and also has a very grainy texture. At this point, I think I need to bite the bullet and send a sample off to A&M. Are there any other beekeepers out there who have run across this issue before?

At least this harvest wasn’t a complete bust as we had a wonderful lunch from Team Baab-Brock Farms based on honey and the wild plums ripening around Austin right now.

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Harvest at Sunshine Gardens a Bust

I was super excited to pull 8 frames of honey off my hive at the Sunshine Community Gardens on Sunday. I had high hopes for some delicious honey produced in a pesticide free environment teeming with flowers and vegetables. What I got instead was a super thick almost goo like substance that has a sweet taste but doesn’t smell like honey.

After almost 36 hours, it is still sitting in the first 5 gallon filtering bucket laughing at gravity.

Terrible Honey from Sunshine

The “honey” that actually made it through the first coarse filter is barely even going through the nylon strainer bag. I brought it to the Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup Group this evening and the general consensus is that it is dumpster honey.

For those unfamiliar with this particular variety of honey, it is when your girls decide to ignore all the beautiful flowering plants around town, and go straight to a dumpster of a restaurant or other business where high fructose corn syrup is plentiful. You may recall the Brooklyn hive whose honey turned red after hitting up the local maraschino cherry factory.

So this batch of honey is going in the garbage. I plan on sending a sample to A&M to do an analysis just try and get some clue on what happened, but it certainly not how I wanted my inaugural harvest from the gardens to turn out.

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July 21st Dai Due Menu at the Market

Here is the menu for this Saturday’s breakfast and lunch at the Dai Due booth.

Kimchi Hot Dog with mayonnaise.
Shrimp and Grits with a fried egg.
Chicharrones in Tomatillo Sauce Taco with cortido.
Braised Lamb with Peppers on garlic naan bread with 200 yr. yogurt and Kuri squash chutney.
Wheat Crepes with pears, goat cheese and Worker Bee honey.
Cactus Fruit and Lime Agua Fresca.
Iced Cafe a la Olla. Boiled Mexican coffee with sorghum syrup, brown sugar, anise seed and cinnamon, served over ice.

I recommend getting there early if you want any of these items. I missed out on the fried rabbit with Worker Bee honey last weekend as it sold out super quick.

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Honey in the Gardens

Due to the July 4th holiday, it’s been two weeks since I’ve been out to check the hives at the Sunshine Community Gardens. The girls have certainly been busy filling up the top most super with honey.

Rosemary's Honey!

The honey looks darker than the honey I pulled off from Baab-Brock Farms. I think a pollen analysis is definitely in order when I harvest 8 frames from this hive. I’m very curious on what the girls have been feeding on either from the gardens or the surrounding area.

Since all eight frames were drawn out with wax and honey on the top super, I went ahead and added another one. I’ve always loved my frame grip for inspecting frames because it allows me to leave one hand free for other tasks. I also find it makes a handy frame spacing guide when adding on a new super.

Spacing frames on new super

It is very important to get frame spacing correct otherwise you may find yourself having issues down the road as the bees will try and fill any large gaps to get the proper spacing in the hive.

Here is a shot of some nicely spaced frames ready for the girls to start working.

Perfectly spaced frames

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Breakfast and Lunch at the Market

For those folks that will be at the Austin Farmers’ Market this Saturday in Republic Square, stop by the Dai Due both for either lunch or breakfast.

Here is the menu for Saturday July 7th:

Lamb in Chile Colorado Taco with cortido and jalapeno salsa.
Egg Salad + Bacon Sandwich with sliced tomatoes on wheat.
Fried Egg in Tomatillo Sauce with tostadas, refried beans, onions and queso fresco.
French Toast with Worker Bee honey, figs, cinnamon and pecans.
Peach and Blackberry Soda.
Iced Cafe a la Olla. Boiled Mexican coffee with sorghum syrup, brown sugar, anise seed and cinnamon, served over ice.

You’ll notice that Jesse’s french toast will be even better than usual with the addition of Worker Bee Honey.

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