This year's honey harvest netted about 115 pounds (about 38 quarts) of honey.
This is the first year that Madeleine was able to suit up and see the action up close (no, she's not pulling frames out of boxes quite yet). She is very well versed in the vocabulary of beekeeping and she was enthralled earlier this season to see a queen bee up close for the first time.
This harvest is also the first time that we've saved the wax cappings because Ann wants to try making some beeswax candles.
We've gotten the harvesting process down much smoother now. We did the harvest in 8 hours flat (!), by far our fastest time. A big part of that has been minimizing the number of people present. That especially helped in the cleanup process, as more people present means more sticky honey on the bottom of people's feet, the floor, the counters, doorknobs, and every last surface in our neighbors' house where we do the extraction.
Madeleine has been taking "pretend" swim lessons in our living room for about a year now. This summer the timing finally worked out so that she could do the real thing in a real pool. We signed her up for a three week session at the public high school with other 3-5 year olds. Before she began, she'd been in a pool perhaps 3 times in her life.
She loved the water as soon as she entered it for her first lesson, although it took the teacher two or three days to coax her to put her face in the water. For most of each half hour lesson she would be laughing and shrieking with delight so much that she couldn't keep her mouth closed. Consequently, she inadvertently drank a lot of chlorinated water.
Despite a bit of trepidation that first week, by the second week she was regularly jumping off the diving board into the deep pool! The first time she did it, she first had to endure the anxiety of watching a 5 year old boy cry and scream for several minutes as he stood in anguish at the end of the diving board before he made it into the water. As I watched the drama unfold I thought, "No way is she going to jump now." But she climbed up the ladder after him, walked carefully to the end, and without hesitation leapt right off into the teacher's arms. She continued to do it several times each day for the final five lessons. She cried after her last time because she couldn't do it anymore. When Paul took her to one of the lessons, he heard her teacher bragging to a male instructor about her little girls who were jumping off the diving board already while his "big boys" were too scared to do it yet. Another day I watched as one of the male instructors prepared to catch her below the diving board. Someone shouted to him, "Back up! She really jumps!"