Sticky stereos.

Beeswax stuck to the floor.

Bees in the living room.

Honey dumping into the wax separator.

Bees in the kitchen.

Today marked the last day of the 2011 honey extracting season.  Whew.  I think every muscle in my body just relaxed upon typing that sentence.

It was a good season.   We have plenty of honey in barrels to ship to the packer, and new retail contracts lined up.  And just as importantly, our bees look gorgeous — thriving, the way you want ’em set up for winter, and for early spring almond pollination in California.

There is a rhythm to the honey extracting days that I look forward to each year, and that I miss at its close.  The thwack-thwack-thwack of heavy frames being loaded onto the conveyor belt, the obnoxious grinding of the uncapper, the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the spinners, the mmmmph-mmmmph–mmmph of the pump, and the thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk-thunk of the dumps on the wax separator at the end of the day.

Tomorrow, I will feel disjointed all day.  Honeydew’s feet won’t hit the floor at 6am, tiptoeing softly through Maggie Rose’s nursery to get the equipment warmed up.  There won’t be coffee perking in the storage bay by 7am, nor will there be hot lunch for the masses at noon.  No one will snag a cold beer out of the ancient Frigidaire at 5pm, or come chugging up in the 2ton with a massive load of honey at 6pm.

On the other hand, a sting-free day may finally allow my hands to de-swell.  Tomorrow, I might slide my wedding band over my third finger for the first time in weeks.  I might sleep in.  I might eat lunch out.  I might drink a cold beer at 4pm.

Regardless, I will give thanks for a good harvest, and a happy family.  To all of y’all still extracting honey: buena suerte!

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Photo credits to Sanford Stone.  All Rights Reserved.