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My first honey harvest and how I got there!

in homesteading •  14 days ago

I had my first honey harvest and I can't wait to tell you all about it!!!

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I am taking this opportunity to share with you apart from my experience some of my bee series shots. I have used some of this shots randomly for a few contests but never in a complete post about bees.

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The first time I attended a hive inspection was three years ago and it was thrilling! Bees are amazing creatures, the perfect example of collective work and much more interesting than anyone, that isn't familiar with them, might think. I was astonished when I realized that every hive has its own character that changes when a new queen bee comes! Over time I could tell if something is wrong by their sound and I could understand if a day is just not the one to annoy them :)

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My first bee hive come as a present during a dinner party where I expressed my interest about them. A beekeeper that was there offered me one of its own even though we have never met before! Just one more taste of Cretan hospitality :)

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My partner was as ignorant, about beekeeping, as I was and the first time we opened a hive by ourselves we were ridiculously nervous, I could barely hold a frame without dropping it! But as we kept dealing with them things was getting better. Still have a lot to learn but the hard part is behind. We read a lot and have tried out many techniques, we doubled the original hive, we even caught a runaway swarm but till now their honey production was too low to deprive it from them.

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But this year we had an unexpected break! Eastern Crete, where I live suffered by a very dry winter and all the wild vegetation is barely surviving. This is the same vegetation that bees are fed off, so in general it was a bad year for honey production. On top of that and against the advice of all the experienced bee keepers we have talked about it, we didn't fed our bees at all, with sugar or other substitutes, so we didn't expect from them any production. Our happiness was double knowing that despite the extreme whether we collected 100% pure, organic honey in a moderate, but enough for our home, quantity!

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The procedure itself is quite simple. The first step is to open the hive and remove one by one the frames that are filled with honey. The frames in the middle are the ones that usually the queen is giving birth, so we do not take them. Then we throw the bees that are sitting on the frames we want to take, back in the hive and rearrange the remaining frames so that there is no gap from one to another.

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Then we put the frames in a spare hive for safe transportation and went to a friend beekeeper that has a honey extractor for the second step. There we removed the layer of wax that was sealing the honey and put the frames into the extractor. A few minutes spinning to the left, a few minutes spinning to the right and this is it, the honey is coming out from the bottom of the extractor!

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The next step is just pleasure! Filling jars and tasting! The honey we took is a mixture of thyme, sage and other herbs along with fruit trees that blossom during spring and summer. Quite a unique taste, I am so proud of it :)

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The next day we returned the drained frames back into the hives so that the bees can eat what is left and repair the damages I did, trying to unseal the honeycombs. We are so happy and so grateful for this harvest that I really cannot fully express it with words!

Thank you for taking the time to read it through, I think this was the longest post I have ever written :)

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All the pictures and the words are mine.

If you want to know more about me you can check out my introduction post.
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Wow, it's a very interesting process and it's great that you've made the decision to take care of something as valuable to nature as bees are, it's not been a simple process, but with effort everything can be done in the end! the photos are magnificent, I want to have a hatchery for me and lots of honey!

Wow it was so neat to see the process through your beautiful pictures.

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Wow it was so neat
To see the process through your
Beautiful pictures.

                 - sjarvie5


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

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Thank you Sara for stopping by!
I am really excited with this process :)

Wow your story sounds so interesting @fotostef ! I love this "every hive has its own character that changes when a new queen bee comes"
And all your photos are beautiful as always.

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Thank you @livvu for your comment! You are always so supportive and sweet :)

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Hi fotostef,

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@fotostef The bees are incredible and very hardworking and united. Excellent your first gift from the beekeeper who noticed your interest and wanted to have a beautiful gesture of welcome to that interesting world of beekeeping. I am very happy for the pure and delicious honey that they collected to consume at home with the family enjoying the delicious flavor that it has. I was fascinated by the explanation of all the procedure you gave us in detail. Very happy here for the harvest you got. Congratulations on your great work. A big greeting.

Look at that honey! I wouldn't mind having some, it was sure an amazing and rewarding harvest. Well, now you don't have to worry about the source of your honey because you are 100% sure of it. Thanks to the guy who gifted you your first bee hive!

I have read about bees and how they behave but I have never had the opportunity to witness that in person, witnessing it must have been really exciting for you. Its really amazing how they are. I believe you enjoyed every step of your journey.

I love the photos of the bees and flowers, they are really beautiful. Hopefully, we are gonna see more honey harvests after this one!!

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Very cool, that you bring us not only very good pictures of the bees, but also details on the harvest of the honey :-)

Honey is very healthy anyway. And if you make it yourself, it will be really tasty.

Do the bees don’t bite / sting you? :-)

Greetings from a big foodie! I’m in love with the self made honey 🍯😀

excellent post friend, full of important information and with super good images, it is interesting to learn about this

Your photography skill very good @fotostef. Each picture you took it nicely describe the process. Is it a stingless bees? Must be a great experience for you. If i have such opportunities, I would like to have that experience as well. I didn't think your post was long as you have provide a detail process on how a bee harvest. I enjoy reading it very much. I am a honey lover, I love to take honey :)

Congratulations and kudos for keeping the honey 100% pure and natural. Your photos are terrific.

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Thank you @momzillanc for your support!

Wonderful!
Its quite similar to what I watched on youtube, the way the monks keep the bees, taking care of them and how honey is extracted from start to finish. They labeled on the jars with honey already inside. Honey is part of their snacks, spread it on breads and mostly they sell those honeys.

Now here on Steemit, I'm glad somebody like you @fotostef could do that.
The photos are all beautiful indeed!
Are you also selling honeys as well @fotostef?

It's an amazing process and an important one now since bees are disappearing from our natural wildlife. I can see why you have gotten involved in the whole process and the successes that you have had from producing such a distinct honey. It's not what i would like to be doing myself but i can appreciate the beauty of what you are doing.

Uf. Honey is the salvation of the world. This post is so necessary, we must familiarize ourselves with processes of this nature, it is great and in addition the photographs are of another level... btw bees look bright.

I'm very happy that you had your first harvest, enjoy it very much! I send you good vibes and thanks for sharing your experience.

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Thank you for your support @fernando.lubezki, I am glad you liked my post :)

howdy sir fotostef! this is an amazing post. I've never seen a thorough pictorial with the detailed steps that you have shown us here with educational information as well about the bees like them all having their own characteristics for each hive.

And the honey looks so good! liquid gold. amazing shots too. Are there other posts you'll be making along these lines besides bees?

You have such wonderful photos of the bees. I am really interested to see the work that goes into this. Watching the honey come out of the spinner had to be a thrill. I love honey and have not had much in SE Asia. They like to filter it to within an inch of it's life and still it is very expensive like that. The view of your jar makes me wish I was there to try some :)

I have never seen bees looking so cute before @fotostef. Your photos are stunning! And you really caught the essence of bees and honey. It is so great that you get to harvest your own honey! Oh I really love your bees! Did I tell you they look cute? :) Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

This is quite interesting. The process of harvesting honey is one I have never really thought about. I just enjoy the finished product. Thanks for the education.
You are also a good photographer. Your pictures are beautiful.

This is such a cool post! Not only do you make the most wonderful and stunning pictures, but while reading I can feel your enthusiasm about what your bees have produced this year. You weren't expecting much from it due to the weather conditions, but still they have managed to produce the honey. And it looks pretty good! I love honey, and ever since I started making smoothies, I always have it in the house, as I use honey instead of suger when there needs to be a little sweetness added. I would be too scared to even open these boxes to be honest, but I really enjoyed reading this post, and of course looking at the pictures. Thanks for sharing this! And good luck with next season! Are the bees now going to die during the winter (pardon my ignorance lol) and then the queen will survive? Or how does that work? Enjoy your honey!

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Thank you @anouk.nox for your comment and for your support!
I think every beekeeper is scared the first time but after a while it's just a harmless routine!
Bees don't die in the winter, just minimize their activity and the queen reduces and at some point, stops giving birth. When it is too cold they can stay in the box, for weeks or even months but in Greece the winter is very mild and they don't have to :)

Really liked the way you were writing your experience and simultaneously showed us those pictures, just spectacular each of them .. Thank you for showing us this process that seems simple but of course it is not .. Very valuable your post. A hug @fotostef

Man, I would be proud too. Those are some awesome shots, to chronicle an awesome achievement, the first harvest. That does sound like an interesting mix for the honey.

Awesome... nothing like fresh honey

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