I once again got buried in the fall and early winter, so the 2016 harvest achievement is going up on the blog in Jan. 2017. The university life, honey harvest, and winter preparations always make for a life fully lived! Now in post-holiday mode, I see that I did not follow through on showing the extracting room at an operational point. Here are a couple of photos I took once there was honey in the system.
Behold the old-time Woodman extractors refurbished and newly baptized by honey!
We’ve always done the pit and pump method of draining our extractors into a sump and up into a clarifier, so we did the same thing at my place. The pump on the floor is an ancient Woodman sliding vane pump:
It all came together decently for this harvest. I had a few bugs to learn about and the box handling wasn’t silky smooth, but I like the setup overall. The uncapper still needs some adjustment, and the cappings melter will take more time to learn to operate very efficiently. I was impressed with how little heat was needed to melt the cappings on the top of the melter and allow the honey to flow into the sump unharmed. Most melters are known for darkening the honey to at least some degree and degrading the flavor to some extent. A person needs several hundred hives at a minimum for this melter from Kelley to be worth the investment–it takes more honey to fill the cappings tank to its operating level than most hobby beekeepers will produce in a year.
Regardless of the learning curve with a new system, I was extremely happy to extract at the Mount Vernon property. The traveling hurdle of harvest season has now been removed from one of the busiest times of year! May everything work even better–and for the sake of a larger yield–in 2017!