Wine and Honey

This past weekend we went down to visit C’s parents.  This is by far one of my favorite things to do.  We always go with a list of things that have to be done.  This time was not any different.  We actually had a longer list this time than we have ever had in the past.  We had to 1) fix the water in their house 2) put in their new stove 3) extract the honey from their hive 4) move our hive up to our farm 5) pick up their massive deep freeze that they dont use anymore and 6) pick up the chickens his mom had raised for A (the mother of the woman who owns the property we are staying on).

So first off we redid the plumbing in C’s parent’s house.  they recently had a new well dug after the old one cracked.  They couldn’t hook up the water into the house though because all the previous pvc piping had cracked.  His mom had bought what we needed to put in the new plumbing (using pex not pvc), and after 2 hours of going between the cellar under the house and the house we got most of the water up and running.  We were missing a few parts needed to finish the job so the washer and the tub did not get hooked up, but everything else did.  I consider that a win!  His mom was so happy to have clean water in her house again.  It’s been a while.  Hopefully she wont have to worry about that ever again.  We are coming back in two weeks to finish the job.

Next we (I say we, this was all C) installed her new gas stove.  Her previous stove did not have a working oven so she bought a new one.  The old one got moved and the new one was put in.  Now she just needs someone to fix the copper fitting on the gas line to have a working gas stove/oven.

The third thing on our agenda was to extract the honey from her hive.  She has a really successful hive with 5 supers on top.  We were the MOST excited about this activity.  It rained for days, and days, and days, and on the last day it was still raining.  You aren’t supposed to extract honey when it is raining because any uncapped cells can get water in them and mess up the moisture content of the honey, so no extraction this week.  I was very sad.  HOWEVER, Her super awesome brother R who got her started on this hive (she HAD had hives in the past), had already collected two supers days before it started raining and had them sitting by his extractor waiting to be extracted.  He invited us over to extract the honey (which he gave to us in exchange for that amount of honey from when we extract her hive).  Off we all went to have fun with honey.  He let us do the whole thing, uncap the frames, put them in the extractor, and turn the extractor.  The only thing he really helped us with is pouring the honey from the extractor into the filtering bucket.  We came out with about two and a half gallons of honey, about 50lbs.  That’s about how much we got last year, which took us two weeks and a lot of stress to get.  It’s so much easier when it only takes an afternoon.  I am so excited to do this to our hive next year.  When we come back in two weeks we will (hopefully) be extracting her hive.

 Which brings me to the next thing.  We were totally unprepared to move our hive.  We didn’t bring a hive screen.  A hive screen is a wire screen you put over the front opening of the hive the day before you move it.  It prevents the bees from getting out so you move ALL the bees and it allows air to enter the hive during the move so you don’t overheat the hive.  Also we didn’t set up a place to put the bees on the farm.  We have to make a level platform with two pieces of wood and two cinder blocks.  We didn’t have it, we didn’t even have the materials for it.  We probably could have figured out what to do for a screen if we had the base, but we didn’t and I wasn’t about to scramble around at 7pm when we got back just to put one together, so we move this to our “things to do in 2 weeks” list.

We moved the deep freeze into bed of the truck and got it moved just fine.  It’s a HUGE freezer.  It’s 6 feet long.  It’s fantastic.  We moved all the “storage” food into it when we got back and it’s still so empty.  C reminded me that it will be a lot less empty after this summer.  I can’t wait for our produce to start coming in.  Also in a few months we will have at least 25 chickens in there too.  That makes me excited. In fact after we got back I helped A slaughter some of her chickens, but that’s a whole other post.

TALKING about chickens, we were also supposed to transport about 25 or so chickens up to A.  Some of them were for me but most were for A.  The last time his mom was up to see us A gave her some eggs to incubate and these are what hatched and survived.  We were totally planning on getting these chickens except for the fact that we forgot cages.  His mom was like “so where are your cages” and I proceeded to look at her like she had three heads.  Yet another “thing we will do in 2 weeks…”  These things are really adding up…..

We did get a super awesome treat though.  C’s uncle, the one with the hives, also makes wine.  Really awesome wine.  Before C and I started dating I invited him to my annual Christmas Eve party and when he came he brought his uncle;s blackberry wine.  it was delicious.  His uncle was so excited we liked his wine that he gave us 5 bottles.  Blackberry, meade, apple, muscadine, and something else that we cant remember and it’s not written on the bottle so i guess we will figure it out when we drink it!!  So far we have had some of the muscadine, that’s a kind of grape.  It’s pretty amazing.  For me it tastes like a sweet bourbon.  It is so nice and smooth.  I think I could drink a glass every night and be happy.  So far that’s my favorite.

I can’t wait to get started on our wine.  First up is meade and mulberry.  That is two separate wines, not together, although that would probably be pretty good!  I’m hoping to get started on that by the end of the month.  Put that on my “Things to do” list.  That list seems to be getting pretty long…

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