Beeswax Rocks (How to process combs into wax)

I ended up babysitting last night… and I knew I was supposed to… so why didn’t I post before??? I don’t know.  But when I got home at 2:30 am… there was just NO WAY I was posting!  I was even awake enough to read before going to bed… how strange is THAT?

As an aside… Happy birthday to Tess (yesterday) I’m so happy you’re part of this family!

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Now, I spent a bit of time yesterday rendering my beeswax.  I don’t know if that’s the correct term… but remember those golden cross combs I cut out of my Mess-opotamia hive (hence the name)?  Well, I melted them down into a nice round block of beeswax!  It’s simple, but since it was the first time I’d done it… I chose to do it outside.  Wax gets everywhere on its own… and there’s the potential for fire… so, yeah, let’s do it outside where there’s plenty of snow to control any wrecks!

Now I made a video… but it will take some major editing to get it to viewable stage.  Let’s just go with what I have now…

Supplies:  campfire, old pot, stir stick, colander, food grade bucket, water, beeswax.

Step 1:  Heat your water.  I only have about 1.5″ of water in my pan, I don’t have lots of beeswax, so this should be enough.  I could have filled it to 1/3 full, but it would take too long on my campfire, and just isn’t necessary.  Water will “wash” the wax, help melt and separate the wax, then aid in solidifying the wafer of beeswax.

melting beeswax fire

Step 2:  Crumble your combs by smushing them in the plastic sack.  Your hands won’t get sticky that way from the wax and any honey left in them.

Step 3:  Add wax to hot water.  It won’t take long for the wax to start melting.  Make sure all pieces of comb have melted. Stir to keep from burning.

melting beeswax

Step 4:  Carefully pour through strainer into bucket.  The strainer will catch the big yuckies…  Depending on the filth level of your wax, you may need to go through this a few times with smaller strainers to clean it up.

strainer

Step 5:  Let cool.  The wax will rise to the top, followed by a layer of propolis, and a layer of “slum gum” (the dirt and grossness and larvae of bees)

cooling beeswax

Step 6:  When cooled, push down on one side of your wax wafer and the opposite edge should pop up.  Pull it up!  That’s all there is to a basic wax wafer!  Be careful, as wax can burn easily.

beeswax wafer

I’ll probably remelt this, run it through a cloth strainer, and form it into smaller blocks.

I can use this for my pysanky.  To make candles, lip balm, lotion.  Beeswax ROCKS!

(This is the bottom side of the wafer… It doesn’t really have gross-ness since it was pretty clean comb… and I THINK this gritty stuff is poorer quality propolis.  High quality is harvested a different way.  I can scrape this off and save it, leaving purer wax to be remelted and strained again.)

propolis

 

Mood

FYI… When the power goes out and your computer is on… it seemingly takes FOREVER for it to “repair” my photos… of course, it’d help if I didn’t have a zillion and a half pics on here!
So… instead of patiently waiting…
I’m giving up for the night.
Somehow, I’m not in the mood.
sigh.
“Tomorrow is another day.”
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In Memoriam
D. Geraldine Underwood Burton
b. July 9, 1931
d. January 29, 2010
Always you are with me.

Workbench

Well, remember I told you I hauled my tools up to the garage from my studio?  There was no where to put them!  Argh!  Long ago, I had Daniel cut some logs to be legs for a workbench and they still were in the garage.  There was also the white countertop I thought I was putting in the studio until the big cabinets and two door tabletop came about.

All righty, then!  Game on!

workbench

The logs were not cut very level… It’s hard to do with a chainsaw, but I hoped with support, the tipsiness would disappear.

Sure enough, after grinding down the roundness of the logs a bit and screwing boards to the logs, the workbench was pretty solid!  The braces became a shelf for all my tools, and… I’m happy!

My tools have a home!

workbench

Name My Dream

September of 2009.  My… how long ago that was!  I had a dream.

I dreamed an old cabin turned chicken coop could be emptied of junk and remade into My Space.  I went into this project with enthusiasm, hauling away pipe and old gas tanks and boards and tin.  Ripping down chicken wire.  Powerwashing the interior and finding the chinking in some places was just mud.  I stopped.

I tore down and built up.  I insulated.  I snagged some great tongue and groove siding from a friend.  My nephew came and did a wonderful, AMAZING job of hauling out YEARS of chicken poo.  I had awfully cute furry helpers

I got it pretty warm in there a few times with frustration.  Working by yourself, trying to do things alone WAS SO HARD sometimes.  My dogs learned all sorts of colorful metaphors.  (Sorry, Mom.)  I don’t know how many times I walked out of there with tears in my eyes!

Matt hauled in gravel for me…  M. did the electricity.  D. poured the concrete.  R. came and finished my ceiling and installed my wood stove.  I figured out how to do it, and I built myself a Dutch door.  All throughout, my family came and gave me “just 5 minutes and hold this” while I nail/screw/glue/measure.  D. and S. helped with windows and supplies.  Brandon gets bonus points for helping me figure out how to hang my map shade.  G. and D. get Big Thanks for donating the huge window.  Friends have given me things to decorate my studio with…  You’ve given encouragement and ideas and suggestions and I’ve read each one and, hopefully, thanked you for your support.

As of today… MY STUDIO IS COMPLETE.  (OK, with exceptions.)  There are a few things left for warmer weather… painting, caulking, outside chinking… but, it is FINALLYFINALLYFINALLY to the stage, that… Yeah, I could almost rent it out if I wanted to!!!! Kidding aside, I hauled most of my tools to the garage.  That’s a sign of the end if ever there was one.

I hope you enjoy these photos from this afternoon as much as I do.  Especially if you go back and look at some of those old posts!!!

OHOH, notice the trim around the Dutch door… my project from yesterday!!!  No more license plates, and I like this so much better!  Doesn’t the header just beg for a name?  My friends suggested Crooked Woman Studio (from the Little Crooked House poem), though who would want something from a Crooked Woman???  Cobbled (together) Studio was another suggestion.  Look the old studio entries over and the new pics, and then throw me a name!  Who knows?  You could end up naming my dream!

studio bedroom

The “bedroom/kitchen/sitting” area with long tabletop.

work surface

English Shepherd

Part of my English Shepherd collection… more to come… and Lucas’ picture in RFD-TV The Magazine.

Longmire

The cowboy/Longmire wall…

kitchen

The “kitchen”.  Got to hang that story my mom wrote about remembering her mom cooking on a green wood burning stove…

front room

The “front room”.  My Dutch door.  Drafting table.  Bookshelves.  Some tools that will leave at some point!

Dutch door

Closeup of my door!

fairy corner

Fairy corner.  That autographed Rainier beer can belongs over by the Longmire stuff whenever it gets a shelf!  Fairies don’t like Rainier.  They like honey.  I have that on good authority.

catalog cabinet

The 1904 catalog cabinet.  Fun reading…

nest boxes

What’s left of the original nest boxes.  Most of this stuff needs hauled out… but, hey, we’re friends… you can see my junky nest boxes!!!

HOORAY!