1. Wake up early & ask the bees politely to get out of the honey. (actually, the day before you put a ‘bee escape’ between the hive and their box- it allows them out of the honey frames but not back in)
2. Get the frames out, brush off any stragglers with a leaf & whisk into containers away from other bees & wasps.
3. Put the frames of honey with all your equipment in a nice sealed room so no insects can get in, you don’t want them to smell the honey… imagine them all with their little faces pressed up against the window, wondering WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THEIR HONEY! You don’t want that…
Also- Make sure it’s the HOTTEST day of the year. And you have no aircon. You will be sealed in that room for quite a while.
4. Cut the wax cappings off with a hot knife sliding gently down each side of the frame. Careful. Hot knives burn!
5. Put frames in the centrifugal spinner thingy
6. Spin spin spin that centrifugal wheel until the honey ( like that thing at the fairground that sticks you to the wall & makes you loose your change) is flung against the walls of the drum & oozes down into the bottom.
7. Spin some more. Arms flailing. Drum wobbling.
8. Check if all the honey is off the frame.
9. Obviously it isn’t so SPINNNNNN!
10. Don’t quite close the tap at the base of the centrifugal spinner properly & have a honey leak.
11. Repeat until all the frames of honey are done.
12. Once you have spun all the honey out, go for lunch. For at least 2 hours. This is ESSENTIAL. (actually, this is really very critical, it means that the waxy cappings rise to the surface, so when you turn the tap on, you get out nice clear honey)
13. Have 2 glasses of wine at lunch to prepare yourself for the next bit.
15. Have all the jars stearilised by washing them in hot water & drying off in the oven. Don’t burn your hands.
16. Have one person on tap duty, one person on jar duty.
17. Make sure you’re in a really awkward position on the floor because the tap’s at the bottom of the drum & the drum is balanced on an antique wooden box that’s now ruined.
18. Open the honey tap & let the honey flow into the jar.
19. This is sticky, make sure you don’t drop any!
Oh. You did. HONEY EVERYWHERE! On your hands, on the doorframes… on the loo seat….
20. Keep going until you just have waxy cappings coming out.
21. Scrape out all the honey/waxy cappings mix from the centrifuge thingy, plus any that have made their way into jars.
22. Strain in a colander or 3 into big pans so you are left with nice honey & not chewy wax.
23. Attempt to bottle honey from big pans.
24. Make a mess.
25. Have a drink. Maybe have 3.
26. GO TO BED!
27. Wake up. Remember house has sticky honey all over it. Go back to bed.
28. Spend the next 3 days cleaning the equipment & all the splodges of honey that have somehow made their way all over the house. Seriously. How did honey get on the mirror above the fireplace?
29. Take a beautiful picture of honey in jars to remind yourself why you do this.
30. Remember you still need to make labels….Sigh!!