The goal: to finish harvest by end of the weekend
The Crew: Nick, Michelle, Emilie, Natalie, Joni, Jen, Sophia, Olsen & Nate
The journey began at 8am on a beautiful Saturday morning, with a quick breakfast and a flurry of activity around the house. Kids were up, dogs were fed, trailer was loaded and we were out the door to go work with the bees!! Everyone was excited, it was going to be an awesome day filled with lots of hard work, laughter, music, an occasional mistake and plenty of food (including four or five different types of homemade cookies).
An hour after we left the house, we had our game plan in place for the day and everyone was suited up. We knew who was lifting boxes (mostly Nick), who was keeping the bees happy (mostly Jen), who was carrying frames to the Polaris (mostly Michelle), and who was running the tarp to help keep the bees out of the freshly harvested honey frames (mostly Olsen). Sophia and I were running the stations inside; de-capping honey, running the extractor, weighing buckets, loading the bottling tank, and putting labels on honey bottles. Emilie and Natalie were handling what was arguably the most important job of the day…keeping everyone full with amazing homemade cookies!!
It was all going according to plan and things were clipping right along. Frames were coming in, honey was pouring into the bottling tank, and cookies were constantly coming out of the oven. Things were going so well I was more than a little surprised when Jen came inside for lunch and told me it was already 3pm! After a short lunch break, we were back at it and way ahead of schedule. At this rate, we would not only finish harvest this weekend…we would finish today!
After a few more hours, all the frames were in the staging area and everyone was now inside helping process honey out of the frames. Nick was running the extractor…Jen and Michelle helped move boxes, store harvested frames, label bottles, and keep track of the harvest weights…the kids were all baking cookies now…and I was still at the de-capping station. Music was playing in the next room, laughter & shenanigans were spreading throughout the whole house, and the day continued to be more than we could have ever hoped for.
It was about 6pm and Nick and I noticed the girls (Michelle and Jen) had started to be very interested in just how many more frames we had left to de-cap and sling. We didn’t think much of it at first and just passed it off as general curiosity. As the evening drew on, the question kept coming up and (seemingly anyhow) more and more frequent. By this point, we knew something was up but we continued with our process; de-capping frames, loading/unloading the extractor, and loading buckets while the girls continued to get everything weighed and rearranged for storage.
Somewhere around 8pm, Nick and I figured out what the girls were up to and why they kept checking on the number of frames we had left. We had processed so many frames since 3pm that the last box of frames was now sitting directly in front of us! We knew we were getting close to the end, but we had no idea just how close we were. The girls had been doing a great job of keeping track of everything and had known we were on pace to finish today if we just kept at it. It was also about this time when our friend Joni stopped by to help label bottles and tidy things up. She even took time to liven things up and teach the kids some new dance moves she had learned!
By the end of the day, somewhere around 11pm…we were done! Not only did we have all the frames harvested, we had everything in bottles and neatly packed into boxes. Plates of cookies lined the dining room table, music was still playing in the other room, kids were still laughing & having a great time and everyone was tired! 😄
And just like that…we had not only finished harvest but we had successfully harvested & bottled over 700 pounds of delicious, local, raw, amazing honey…in just a short fourteen hours.
Never in my life did I dream I would someday find myself co-owner of an apiary…but to share this experience with a life-long friend, his family, my wonderful wife & children and everyone else who has supported us along the way…it has truly been a dream come true nonetheless.
I am so very grateful for the family I get to share this experience with and for all of our customers who choose Mumbe’s Orchard & Bee Farm as their source for local honey.
From all of us here at Mumbe’s, we would like to thank each of you for your business and we truly hope you enjoy our honey just as much as we have truly enjoyed bringing it to you.