This year we've become apiarists, also known as beekeepers.
I can say "we" because I do play a part in our bee activities, however, I've never actually taken apart the hive or anything. I leave that to my big strong man.
The Big Strong Man
I am quite proud of our first year's fruits. We got about 45 pounds of honey and a whopping 1 WHOLE POUND of beeswax (the wax is my area of labor.) And if you know a thing or two about beeswax, you know that this stuff is the second most expensive wax on the market. We're talkin' big money... but I'm not selling it this year, so no money. We have sold a little bit of our honey though, mostly to our new insurance agent. :) It's mighty tasty stuff.
This is a 2 pound bottle and an 8 oz bottle, and some lovely wax.
I just had to share how much fun we've had this summer with our bees. Sadly, my second-most fun part is not documented with pictures because Carter wouldn't let me take any. He was stung by his eye and the resulting puffing-up of the whole right side of his face was quite amusing, to say the least. I had to make this my second-favorite part because I don't want to give off the impression that my husband's suffering is the most amusing thing in my life, just second-most. ;)
I'd have to say that my most favorite part has been my wax.
And for the sake of Pinterest, I will explain how to get you from comb to cube.
If you're not going to be doing this any time soon, or ever in your life, you can just skip down to below the picture. :)
Take your honey comb and place in a pan or crock pot with water (depending on how much wax you have, you'll need more or less water.) Warm up to about 180 degrees (do not get above 200 degrees). when you see that all the wax is melted, take off heat. Now with a mesh strainer of some kind, scoop off all of the yuckies floating on the top of the wax. you won't be able to get all of it, but just get the majority. Leave wax to harden on top of the water.
Once the wax is hard you can lift it off the water (see how all the honey that was in the comb sunk down to the bottom? Beautiful separation!) Once you have all your wax (I had a couple "plates" of wax from different honey harvests) melt them down again (no water.) Once they're melted, strain through a piece of muslin into a bowl. Now you can pour this beautiful pure and clean wax into small molds, or leave as a large piece of wax from your bowl.
*NOTE* whatever you are using as your final mold, use silicone, or a plastic that is designed specifically for use with beeswax, so the wax will pop out easily. I use a silicone muffin "tin". This stuff sticks and will never ever come off. Also, for this reason do not use your regular crockpot, pan, mesh strainer, or bowl. Once you use them for beeswax, you won't get them back to regular kitchen clean. I bought a crockpot at Savers only for beeswax processing.
It doesn't look like much, but it does take some labor to get it looking like this. Isn't it B-E-A-UTIFUL?!
My intention is to use some of this in lotion bars for Christmas (which, of course, I will document and post at a later date.) I also have a lot of recipes for lip balm and some other goodies. Bring on moist and supple skin! Woot Woot!
Honey, especially raw, local honey, is so very very good for you. And bees are amazing! Talk about all things as a witness that there is a divine creator. The more you learn about them, the more you want to know. Awesome awesome.