The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Food & crafts => Crafts => Topic started by: Shnoowie on December 29, 2010, 04:10:55 pm

Title: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Shnoowie on December 29, 2010, 04:10:55 pm
Hi all,

I love this part of the forum - often a lurker but don't usually post!
We are getting some bees next year and, while we have no problem with eating/selling on the honey, we don't quite know what to do with the wax or propolis.
The obvious answer is probably candles, but is there anything more interesting or 'in demand'?  I have some soap by plumseverywhere and it is lovely!  Could we go down this route?

NB: After shearing we will have some Ryeland wool available for all you crafty people, we haven't learnt to spin yet so it will be available via our website!
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: plumseverywhere on December 29, 2010, 04:40:26 pm
I make lip balm from beeswax (and shea and cocoa butters) and consciously source the best honey for my honey and g-oats soap so I think cosmetics and beekeeping seem to go hand in hand - either that or barter/swap crafted items for your bee's produce?
I think candles are a lovely idea and its something I've considered making too - when I make up gift baskets I currently put in a candle and would prefer to put in handmade ones where possible.
the world is your oyster pretty much when it comes to craft based on ingredients you produce yourself, do some googling - even have a look on ebay - plenty of craft forums to have a look at for inspiration too  :)
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: little blue on December 29, 2010, 05:59:04 pm
furniture polish?
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Anke on December 30, 2010, 07:46:12 am
Unless you melt you honey off the frames as we have to do (rapeseed area), you will not have too much wax to start with, as it will be mainly cappings and bits and pieces from brace comb.

I send my wax to mum in Germany (when she visits not bypost), and she makes candles. I just don't have the time/equipment etc. But you can put honey into soaps, I have done that this year. Yes furniture polish is another option, Just I don't have much furniture that needs polishing, fortunately....
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: plumseverywhere on December 30, 2010, 08:30:10 am
I used to buy beeswax furniture polish from a local farm shop before we moved and it was gorgeous!!! it had been produced within a mile of my home and I loved that fact (until his bee's escaped one day and the whole hamlet had to hide in our houses - that can't be a common occurance surely?!)
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Fleecewife on December 30, 2010, 11:14:54 am
My Granny made beeswax and turpentine furniture polish and I still love that smell.  I'm not obsessive about housework but I like the idea of feeding the wood which gets so dry in a house.
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Anke on December 30, 2010, 08:30:44 pm
Re.: Bees terrorising the village

I would say it is quite rare, but people get very anxious if they see a swarm/cluster of bees hanging in a tree (or wherever). But when they swarm they are actually unlikely to be in a stingy mood, as they will be full of honey, ready for a possibly long journey. It is however an alarming sound (and I wouldn't want to be in their flight path), when the swarm takes off from its initial clustering place (close to their hive, while scout bees go out and find a suitable new abode for the whole swarm, incl queen) and flies off to their new place. You can hear from quite distance, but they are usually also quite high (higher than human height anyway).

If you have loads of plum trees your local beekeeper will love anyway - good pollen source, if the weather is nice!
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: RUSTYME on December 30, 2010, 09:11:02 pm
       can you tell me why you have to melt the old comb of of the frames due to rapeseed ?  I am not in a rapeseed area particularly , but some do grow it around here , I may even grow some myself , so would be good to know what the reasoning is,thanks.

Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: The Barefoot Crofter on January 06, 2011, 09:55:23 pm
I would think there might be a market for beeswax tealights.  Also I have made nappy cream using beeswax and olive oil.
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Anke on January 07, 2011, 09:33:42 pm
Re melting the honey/wax off the frames.

If you have lots of rapeseed near to your hives, unless you take the supers off as soon as possible after the rape has finished flowering, when the honey is still liquid, it will crystallise and then you cannot extract it in the normal way. I find that straight after rape has finished flowering there is not much else on the frames, and I would risk starving the bees if the weather changed for the worse. So I leave it all on and extract my honey at the end of August. We have got a huge and very heavy contraption (owned by the local Beekeepers group and I hire it for 5 pounds at a time), which is filled with water, heats the water inside the tank and the frames are put on top of the metal and slowly melt, honey/wax and all. You have to cut the comb away from the frame, so I only use non-wired foundation. As the honey/wax drips down into a metal bowl, which has two spouts at different heights (sold by Thornes), the honey goes to the bottom and can then be poured out and put through a filter/sieve, while still warm and bottled. I put most of mine into plastic containers, then when I need to bottle some more, put a plastic bucket into my Baine Marie, set the temperature to 50 deg and wait for a day or two, then filter again and bottle. Keep it in a warm room (our boiler room is warm without being too hot - ideal).

It is not the usual way, but works well for us. Normally the melting goes on for a day or so, this year it took about two days (switch it on first thing in the morning then just watch during the day), then another day of cleaning though... Bit of a palaver, but probably not more than a normal extractor would be.
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: bamford6 on January 07, 2011, 10:01:27 pm
when the heather flowers some off the bee keepers put there bees in the fields last summer i had six hives on the pic up and not a bit off problem never had nets etc just done it slow
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: OhLaLa on January 16, 2011, 12:45:03 pm
Anke is quite right, swarming bees are full of honey and unlikely to sting. A very impressive sight (if somewhat unnerving the first time).

Things to make from wax: candles, soap, polish, various beauty products, and of course more foundation for your bees (needs to be really thin though, a bit of a knack to that but practice will do it)!

You can make a solar box to melt your wax:

The wax will drip down into the container within and then you can put the honey (that also comes off) out for your bees to take back.

  :sheep: And with regard to your sheep fleece - insulate the loft?  :sheep:
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Hilarysmum on January 19, 2011, 09:36:35 am
Perfumed candles.  You could use lots of natural scents. 
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: Shnoowie on January 21, 2011, 11:00:55 pm
Thanks everyone!
We'll be going down the honey and candle route, I think, though I may try some lip
salve for home use...just in case it all goes wrong!
Title: Re: Trying to be crafty...
Post by: plumseverywhere on January 22, 2011, 08:25:32 am
Excellent  :)  If you decide to sell your candles, can you drop me a line! I'd love to add handmade candles to my baaath time gift baaaskets rather than mass made ones that I currently use  :)