I Finally got around to bottling some of the meager crop this year. As long time readers may recall I have been fighting with a local bear who destroyed most of my hives in the early summer. As someone once said “When you dance with a bear you don’t stop when you get tired.” I now have a serious electric fence that so far has kept the bear away. I was able to save one colony and bought another package of bees with a queen through the mail. The post office looks forward to calling me and telling me to come and get them as they do when the day old chicks arrive and are peeping away.
Anyway I had some honey left over from last year and still have some to extract – (see the box the bottles are sitting on). All in all it was a disaster. Where I usually get 1-200 pounds, this year I may have about 30 pounds.
But do not be afraid about old honey. they found honey in the tombs of the Pharoahs, 5000 years old that was perfectly edible. Bees excrete an enzyme that preserves the honey indefinitely. The trick is to not overheat it when you process it. Processed honey which you buy in the store has been superheated and will not last as long as natural honey.
And as to the labels and bottles- I have good friends that love honey and always save the bottles for me. So I found some bottles that Patty out on Long island saved for me and they even had the old labels on them. The new label on the left is the fancy one designed by Daniela, a neighbor. The old fashioned one on the right came from Walter B.. Kelley in Kentucky and I bought them maybe 20 years ago. The new ones are stick on, the old ones were a mess to glue on. So come late Spring, i’ll probably buy 2 or 3 more packages of bees and hope to have a more productive 2012.