Monday, July 14, 2014

Rendering Beeswax

This past weekend I tried my hand at refining the bit of beeswax I had.  That's one other advantage of the top bar hives, I think, is that you remove the wax and can use the entire comb rather than just the cappings.  That way the comb gets cycled out rather than being used over and over and over.  Reusing comb means faster/more honey production as the bees don't have to make the wax and the comb, but it also means that anything wonky with the hive can build up in the comb and with the top bar hive you remove them so the bees have fresh, clean comb more often.

After cutting out some cross comb I had about a gallon baggie full of it:
This comb is very white and pretty clean because we took it out before they could build anything in it.  Cross comb means it was going across two top bars and would be impossible to remove if we didn't correct them.

A little quick reading to see what I was supposed to do, and I had a double boiler set up with an old pot and bowl:

In went the comb:

And in not too long I could see it starting to melt:

I don't have pictures of the filtering process as I needed both hands for that, but essentially I did this, making a filter out of cheesecloth into an old almond milk carton:

And then from there I poured the filtered wax into my spiffy little molds:

And ta-da!  I can't believe how FLORAL it smells. I've never smelled beeswax like it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Honey & Enyo Release

Update on Our Bees

The honey bees have settle in nicely and are going crazy producing both comb and honey.  It's facinating to watch them on the flowers in the yard and also drinking off the lillypads in our pond.

A honey bee on a flower in our garden
Bee on a stick!  They're very gentle.
Inside one of the hives.  That's honeycomb on top and drone comb near the bottom.
A bee in flight under our cherry trees, carrying pollen back to the apiary.
Our first bit of honey!

We checked on the bees and found they were building cross comb in one place (meaning not straight across on the top bars, making it something we wanted to discourage), so we had to cut the comb out.  There was a bit of honey in it and it's amazing.  Floral and sweet and probably the best honey I've ever had.  We won't be harvesting honey in bulk until spring, but it was nice to try a bit without taking away from the bees' main stores.

Releasing Enyo War Goddess Henna Hair Color

A long time coming, I was finally able to find time to make a good big batch of this to post!  You can check out the 10g samples and the 100g full sizes. 
In closing, the very talented Sinead Anja Hering laid claim to her poem Freya in our previous post!