We had a row of beehives out by the garden. I often
wondered where those bees came from, so one day my brother told me all
about them. A big swarm of bees would attach their nest to a tree in the
woods. Somehow, they made wax and shaped it full of little holes to store
the honey they made. That was called "honeycomb".
My brother's first job was to get those bees to move
from the home they built to one of the homes we built for them. The
beehive we built for them was just a big square box on top of some cement
blocks. Inside, we had racks of wax with little holes in it to work just
like the honeycomb the bees had made. My brother would put on protective
clothing and get those bees transferred from their nest to our beehive.
Usually the bees seemed to like their new home and
started right in filling those holes with honey. Once in a while they
didn't, and my brother would say: "I guess I didn't get the Queen
bee!" He went on to explain to me that every swarm had a Queen bee,
workers, and drones. The workers were all the females and made all the
honey. They got some kind of nectar from flowers that turned into honey in
those little holes! Don't ask me how.. I don't know. I do know they didn't
work hard if the Queen bee wasn't there. All the male bees were called
drones. Those lazy guys didn't do any work at all. Thank goodness our
society isn't like that. My brothers had to work just as much as my
sisters as I had to. Anyway, getting back to the honey, once those holes
were filled, the worker bees closed them with a layer of wax. Then it was
time for us to take the honey away from them.
In spite of his protective clothing, my brother did
get stung quite often while he was bringing those racks of honeycomb into
the basement. That's where my sister and I took over the work. Once in
awhile, we got stung too. My brother said at least it was one of the
worker bees. The drones didn't have a stinger. I guess that was supposed
to make me feel better.
All I had to do was slice off that wax the bees
sealed the holes with. The racks fit down into this great big round
container. It had a handle on one side and a faucet at the bottom in
front. We would twirl that handle around as fast as we could to get the
honey out of those holes. It would pour out of that faucet and into a
bucket all ready to be put into jars!
And that's how we "made" honey!