50 Shades of Honey

I remember visiting a friend’s home when they were bottling honey from their beehives, the different colours of each jar was inspiring to me.

A few years later and it is my turn to harvest some honey.  I have only taken a little bit of honey from my hives in the past but this year was more than I was used to.

There are two hives at my workshop, one National and one Warre beehive.  After checking how much honey was there in September, it was decided to take 2 supers from the National beehive and 1 box from the Warre beehive.

Super frame

National super Warre box with honey comb

When the boxes made it home, it was decided to start on the National supers first.  From following the instructions carefully from various websites, we worked on one frame at a time cutting the honey comb out into a container and slicing it up into many pieces to help release the honey.  We then mashed the comb with a potato masher or a pestle.  Once the container was full of mashed up comb, we inserted muslin into the fruit press followed shortly after by our mashed up honey comb.  We continued this until the fruit press was full.

Slicing honey comb Mashing honey comb Honey Press

Before we even started pressing, honey began to flow through the muslin and was on its way.

We began to use the press and with the honey aided by gravity, it flowed through our 2 sieves before falling into a container.  We used sieves to catch any large bits that were not honey, this could have been wax, parts of bees or anything else, this process was repeated until both supers and Warre box were complete.

Honey Press Sieving honey

To my surprise, we harvested 10kg from super 1, 10kg from super 2 and 10.5kg from the Warre box.  What a fantastic surprise to have 30.5kg of pure honey from the most wonderful Honey bees living in Cwmbran, South Wales.

Now that we had a considerable amount of nature’s sweetener, it was decided to keep some and bottle some.  2 different types of jars were purchased and so began the bottling process, this was a most enjoyable experience on my senses.  The sights, smells and of course the tastes were fantastic, even awe inspiring and many other words that I would only find in a thesaurus, or that I make up like fan-dabbie-dosey.

Honey Jar

It was time to think about labels for these jars, it was quickly decided that we would design them ourselves and not pay for the quite frankly boring designs that are widely available or for the fees of a designer.  So after way too many hours learning about a certain design software, a design was chosen.  This however was not the end of the design story, as the printers who were to print them, needed slight modifications to the design for it to work.

Honey Jars

After many, many hours of work, from spending time with the Honey bees, research, cutting honey comb, using a press, bottling honey, tasting honey, designing labels and sending multiple emails to the printers.  This is something of which I thoroughly enjoyed, learnt so much, tasted so much, had so many headaches but would not change any of it.

First find some wood… Then add a bit of love…

And so my mind merrily wanders towards making beautiful things from wood, I want people to love wooden items but also, so that they can share them with friends and family.

At this time of year (January), valentines day is just around the corner.  From looking around the workshop for wood to use, seeing items that people like and listening to ideas from friends and family… It’s time to put pencil to wood and wood to blade and await the smiles to appear on their faces.

After looking for wood to use, I find such wonderfully smelling: Oak; Cherry; Ash; Lime; Larch; Acacia and Western Red Cedar (WRC)…

Cue the music…

Firstly I must remind you of an admiration, maybe a fascination that sheep bring to me.  Please refrain from any welsh jokes at present, I will be finished soon enough.

After rattling my brain about the singular and plural definitions of sheep, it was decided to make a small flock of sheep. So these little lovelies are made from: Ash; Oak; Cherry and WRC.

I love ewe… WRC ewe

L – R Cherry ewe, Oak ewe, WRC ewe and Ash ewe
I love ewe

We then head towards some of the lovely, hearty items with hearts galore.
Love on the fridge

Making Love on the band saw
You pair of love birds

What are your thoughts on these??

Something you would like to give to a loved one??

If so stop by the GlastonBees website and get in touch… See you soon