After several delays due to disagreeable weather, Dennis and I assembled my honey extractor yesterday afternoon. Well, let’s say I leaned heavily upon my neighbor’s mechanical experience with wingnuts, bolts and washers.

Many moons had passed since I’d successfully found the right place for each part enclosed in the Ziploc baggie inside the stainless steel bin. Other than the spout that pours the golden honey into bottles, there’s nothing friendly about the machine. The name makes my teeth ache.

Since Dennis doesn’t own a honey extractor, months ago I’d offered to host a honey party in my pavilion. The more hands the merrier when it comes to handling sticky honey frames and cleaning up afterward. Before you know it, you’ve spent the day in congenial conversation.

“I don’t know why my colony collapsed last summer,” Dennis said. “They left some good honey.”

“And I don’t why my bees died this past winter,” I replied. “I couldn’t believe my eyes this spring when I counted thirteen frames of capped honey.”

“Then, let’s get you started,” he said.

After a refresher course with the electric, hot knife for melting the wax from the capped honey, I was on my own.

“Hey! Slow down with that knife,” Dennis said while he illustrated the proper method. “And don’t saw the honey. It’s not wood.”

Within half an hour we had inserted six of my medium frames into the extractor and pressed the “on” button. The noise began as the machine and its stand shimmied, although we’d stabilized the foundation with a cinderblock and rocks.

Dennis stopped the motor. “The weight of the frames must be unbalanced,” he said, lifted the lid, and rearranged the six frames. Repeatedly. Still, the extractor rattled the two chains that connected it to the stand.

Meanwhile, I leaned my weight upon the lid until we’d spun my thirteen frames.

“Now your honey,” I said.

We discovered his frames heavy with capped honey were too large for my extractor designed for medium frames.

“I thought this might be the case,” Dennis said.

Well-advised to use the smaller sized frame due to the weight of a box of capped honey, I purchased the medium frame extractor years ago. “After all your help, I’m sorry you’re not taking home a bucket of honey.”

“That’s okay. Let’s do the medium box I brought.”

Simultaneously, we uncapped his honey and talked about our childhoods. “Where’d you grow up?” I asked Dennis.

“Dearborn. One of my buddies introduced me to Rhonda.”

I’ve known Rhonda for forty years. We met in the church we attended in Detroit where I also met Gina, one of Rhonda’s younger sisters. Gina and I often exchanged recipes. She left us her delicious apple cake as her legacy.

“Rhonda’s a gourmet cook,” Dennis said. “I’m the luckiest man in the world. She’ll have a delicious meal ready when I get home.”

“Do you two like asparagus?”

“We love it!”

Dear Reader, Dennis didn’t spin off much honey. Rather, he carried home several pounds of my homegrown asparagus.

Contact Iris at