Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Winter Chores

Decades ago, winter chores here involved taking care of livestock. This meant feeding, watering and cleaning up after cows, horses, pigs and chickens. The animals were treated with kindness and considerable pampering. They were appreciative and I'm fairly certain thought of us not as their captors, but as their servants.

Fast forward to the present. We still have livestock but give them no winter care at all. The livestock feed themselves and take trips outside to cleanse. The livestock are all honey bees.

There remains one winter chore, or should I say, 'hobby'. Processing beeswax. The harvested wax needs to be cleaned, filtered and transformed into candles, lip balms, hand creams and polish.

A stack of unfiltered beeswax from the solar wax melter.

The first steps in removing debris from the wax.

This 14 inch high stack of wax awaits a second melt and a first stage filter process.

After another melt and a pass through a basket type coffee filter.

Cans filled with hot wax for dipping out candles.

Freshly dipped 100% beeswax candles.

This process fills the kitchen with a wonderful honey scented aroma. Pure beeswax candles have the brightest light of any candle wax. They burn cleaner, producing very little soot. Virtually dripless in draft free conditions, they give a completely non toxic sweet scent with a long burn time. 

A few years ago the hydro was off for a couple of hours one night. Television was out, but books I have aplenty. However, the flame of my paraffin candle was cheerful but I simply couldn't read by it's light. So I extinguished it and lit a beeswax candle which my beekeeping cousin had given me. Wow! A clean, bright light that illuminated the pages and text of my book perfectly. I was almost disappointed when the power came back on. Thank you Cuz, and thanks also to the thousands of tiny buzzing ladies that made it possible.

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