Monday, June 23, 2014

A Sweet Surprise

My wife was kind enough to bring me an unexpected present on Sunday.  I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch when she came in with a whole frame of capped honey from our bees.  She's been having a few problems with one of the hives and needed to move a frame of eggs from one hive to another, which meant she needed to remove a frame.  And if you're going to remove a frame, why not remove a frame of honey!

Wasting no time, I opted to get it processed immediately.  There are a few ways to extract honey from honeycomb, and if all of the right equipment is available, it can be relatively easy with minor impact to the honeycomb.  It takes a lot of energy for bees to make the wax that they store their honey in.  I've read several books which state that for every pound of wax the bees make, they are consuming about eight pounds of honey.  I like beeswax, but I'd rather have the honey.  So ideally, we'd get the honey out of the comb and then return it to the bees with a little note saying, "More Please!"

But we did not have the right equipment, which meant brutalizing the honey comb. And I did. It wasn't pretty; honey on the counter, honey on the floor and my hands shiny with it, from wrist to finger tip. In small amounts, fresh honey is sticky, but in large amounts (really large) its actually slippery, which makes it hard to grab things.

In the end, one full frame of capped honey held 5 pounds of honey, which is between a third and a half of a gallon of honey. The spring honey this year is to die for, light colored, sweet and very floral.  Much better than last year's honey whose smell reminded my of freshly trimmed tartarian honeysuckle bushes.  I'm hoping we'll have a good harvest this year.  It's hard to say how much honey we'll get out of the two hives we have, but an average year should see us net 100 pounds of honey.  Ms. Huis may be in this for the bees, but I'm in it for the honey.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Some Things Never Change

Scott was supposed to be on site yesterday at about 2:00 pm to do some initial wiring. Scot was a no show, with no call to tell me he'd be a no show.  I can only assume, based on my experiences and on performance of 80%+ of the contractors that I've engaged with that this is normal. And it drives me crazy.

Scott called me early today to say that with all the rain we've been having, he wouldn't be able to plow in the electrical cable from the house to the garage, and would it be fine to wait a week for the ground to dry out.  Naturally I agreed, as I'm not really on a tight schedule with this project.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Little Heat

Winter is cold in the House of 42 Doors.  It wouldn't have to be.  We could turn the thermostat up to 68 or 70, like most people who live in modern houses, but as my wife reminds me, we can buy a lot sweaters for what the increase in our heating bill would be.  So we drink a lot of tea, wear a lot of sweaters and take hot showers.  But then there is the garage.

The last few years I've started woodworking projects in October.  At that time of year, the days are getting shorter, the outside work is essentially wrapped up and I'm still brimming with energy from the flip side of seasonal affective disorder.  Because the wood projects are done on weekends or evenings, they can take six to twelve weeks to complete, which means I'm working in my unattached garage into November, December and even the beginning of January.  And its cold, really really cold, too cold to work without gloves. Then when its January, February and even the beginning of March, I have nothing to do except dream about Spring and summer.

That's going to change this year.  I've taken one stall of my three car garage and put up a dividing wall.  Today an electrician is coming out to wire in a 60 amp circuit for a new heater and the future option of an electric car plug in.  Its the first time I've dealt with contractors in a few years, so we'll see how he does.  It happens to be the same company that rewired our house back in 2007 and 2008 and they were very good, but this is a different guy.

I am very much looking forward to a heated, tidy workshop and hoping for an electrician who thinks like I do.