Tag Archives: Nunya Beeswax

Due South Preview 2014

Good morning and Happy Friday!

I just wanted to drop in today to give you the scoop on Due South, a fantastic event going on over in Thomasville, Georgia tomorrow!

TCA_Due-South_Site_v2

The bands are going to be the bomb, but what I want to share more with you today is all the Makers!

The Makers Market will be going on from noon to five on Saturday, April 26th.  There are 30 amazing makers, selling all sorts of handmade goods from candles to bags to knives.  In fact, I’ve featured 3 of them right here on Oysters & Pearls in the past!  Let me reintroduce you to:

The Refinery

The Refinery Logo

The Refinery Soy Candles - We Seek to be a Light in our Community | Oysters & Pearls

The Refinery Soy Candles - With this light I Offer Grace | Oysters & Pearls

Jessica Grace and I will be at the Due South Makers Market peddling candles and telling the story, and we hope you’ll come by and see us!  And buy a candle, naturally. ;)

Southern Restoration Furniture & Nunya Beeswax

Extra Large Custom Tobacco Slat Cutting Board by Marc Ventry | Oysters & Pearls

Custom Tobacco Slat Picture Frame by Marc Ventry | Oysters & Pearls

Marc Ventry | Oysters & Pearls

My good friend Marc will be at the Makers Market selling his unbelievably gorgeous tobacco slat cutting boards, frames, trays, and wall art, along with some of his beeswax hand balm and chapstick.  I know he’d love to see ya!

Heartwood Forge

Heartwood Forge Paring Knife and Handle Oil | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge Knives, Athens, Georgia | Oysters & Pearls

Heartwood Forge 3 Inch Paring Knife with Reclaimed Cherry Handle  | Oysters & Pearls

My buddy Will Manning is making the trek from Athens this weekend to show us what he’s been working on since he left Tallahassee.  He’ll have a variety of knives with him and will be taking custom orders, so be sure to get in line early!

In addition to these Makers who are close to my heart and my blog, there are an unbelievable amount of crazy-talented people converging on Due South to sell their handmade wares.  Check them all out!

Libby Armstrong Ceramics – Ceramic Ware – Tallahassee, Florida
Anhaica Bag Works – Hand Waxed Canvas Bags – Tallahassee, Florida
LGDunston – Gyotaku Fish Prints – Carrabelle, Florida
Ceramics by Erica Passage – Pottery – Tallahassee, Florida
Divine Fem – Art – Tallahassee, Florida
Caddywampus – Pottery – Thomasville, Georgia
Wax + Wane Candles – Candles – Tallahassee, Florida
Cahoots – Soap, Jewelry – Thomasville, Georgia
Life Form Ceramics + Art – Ceramics – Quitman, Georgia
Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning – Fruit Pepper Jelly – Norman Park, Georgia
J. Morgan Photographs and Prints – Small Photo Prints – Jacksonville, Florida
Evon’s Muse – Jewelry and Accessories – Jacksonville, Florida
Raley’s Confectionary – Handmade Natural Artisan Candy – Tallahassee, Florida
Buffalo Girl Soaps – Goat Milk Soap – Ocala, Florida
Blackberry Patch – Jellies, Jams, Syrups, and Chocolate Sauces – Thomasville, Georgia
Handmade Maggie – Cards and Home Goods – Tallahassee, Florida
Great Basin Press – Handmade Books and Cards – Tallahassee, Florida
Knot + Bow Designs – Jewelry – Macon, Georgia
SouthLife – Leather Goods – Thomasville, Georgia
SSP Design – Jewelry – Memphis, Tennessee
Thomasville Townie Company Store – Thomasville, Georgia**

**I may or may not have some of my hand-stamped pewter necklaces for sale tomorrow at a certain Makers Market booth…

On top of alllllll this, the Rose Show and Festival will be going on downtown this weekend, too!  So it’s a pretty awesome weekend to visit Thomasville.

I’m crossing my fingers and toes I’ll see lots of you there!  And if you’re a reader, please come up and say hi – I’d love to meet you!

See ya at Due South!

Until Next Time

Homemade Coconut and Beeswax Body Butter

Happy Friday!!  I think this could possibly bee the last bee-themed post for a while.  At least, for this week anyway.  :)

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with all the leftover honey comb from the bee hive we moved, but I knew I’d figure something out.  I figured that I would figure out how to melt the wax down, and then figure out something to do with it.  And so I got the beeswax melted down and processed at home, but then I had a 8-inch square of beeswax to do something with.

As the title of this post so subtly hints at, I came to the conclusion that I would make coconut and beeswax body butter.  Mainly because 1) it sounded easy, and 2) I already had coconut oil.

Homemade Honey Scented Coconut Beeswax Body Butter | Oysters & Pearls

Also, yet another score for hoarding: I just so happened to have two mini Altoids tins rolling around in the bottom of my purse, simply waiting for just such an occasion.

Homemade Beeswax Body Butter Recipe | Oysters & PearlsHomemade Honey Scented Beeswax Body Butter | Oysters & Pearls

Homemade Coconut and Beeswax Body Butter

ingredients

– 1 tablespoon grated or shaved beeswax, packed tightly
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 5 drops of Vitamin E oil

instructions

Measure the ingredients and place into a glass measuring cup.  Microwave at 20 second intervals until just melted.  Stir everything until it’s completely melted and incorporated.  Pour immediately into some sort of hoarded repurposed container and allow to cool.

Homemade Honey Scented Beeswax Body Butter | Oysters & Pearls

Homemade Body Butter Poured into a Mini Altoids Tin | Oysters & Pearls

This makes a little more than two mini Altoid tins worth of body butter. I left the rest in the measuring cup just to use it up first.  It is amazing on your skin!

Homemade Honey Scented Coconut Beeswax Body Butter Recipe | Oysters & Pearls

I was pretty excited about how this first test turned out!  It’s solid, but warms up easily with your touch and spreads smoothly.  I may play around with more of a cream recipe soon.  Any words of wisdom from anyone who has done this before?

IMG_3718

I just have this one block of beeswax, so I am not going to be making much of this stuff, so small batch recipes are what I’m looking for.  I’ll mainly leave making beeswax products to my local professional at Nunya Beeswax. :)  But it’s fun to try it out myself!  If you’re interested in trying out your own body butter or other creations, you can buy bricks of beeswax at our very own local beekeeping store: The Bee House, on Highway 12 near Lake Mystic in Bristol, Florida (in the old Lake Mystic Grocery, if you’re local).  It’s where I’ve gotten all my beekeeping supplies thus far.  Pay them a visit if you’re a local beekeeper or just want to purchase some honey, honey soap, or beeswax!

What else do you use beeswax for?

Until Next Time

Adventures in Beekeeping – Part 1

When I said this would be a long post, I meant it.  However, It’s mainly pictures, so don’t be afraid.

Unless, of course, bees give you the heebie jeebies.  Then you very well may be afraid and may not want to keep scrolling down.

But last week, I fulfilled a very long-time goal of mine: become a beekeeper.  Marc – yup, the Southern Restoration Furniture and bee keeper extraordinaire, helped Wheat and I move a wild hive of bees at my parents barn to a store-bought hive.  Marc is pretty much a pro, and also uses wax from his own bee hives to make Nunya Beeswax.

Nunya Beeswax | Oysters & Pearls

Shameless plug: you can purchase Marc’s awesome Nunya Beeswax hand balm and chapstick at:

Miss Mandy’s Cottage, Tallahassee, Florida
H&H Furniture & Design, Havana, Florida
Native Nurseries, Tallahassee, Florida
The Honey Tree, Tallahassee, Florida
Sew Woodstock, Bearsville, New York
Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, Thomasville, Georgia

Marc had prepared us to expect the worst (hence my extreme level of preparedness by borrowing Wheat’s Aunt’s full bee suit), but I escaped with nary a sting.  Wheat and Marc got stung once each.  Apparently we have the friendliest bees on planet Earth, which I have now dubbed my hive of sweet bees, who don’t mind it at all when you literally cut open their home and relocate them by force.

The hive has been thriving underneath this wood rack for about a year and a half.  I am so excited that I finally managed to recruit someone as crazy (crazier?) as me to help me move them and teach me their bee keeping ways.  Thank you x100,000,000 Marc!  And thanks to my sister Anna Jo, for taking 98% of the pictures in this post.

The Woodrack Hive | Oysters & Pearls

See them coming and going so peacefully?  Blissfully unaware of what was about to go down.

Wood Rack Hive Entrance | Oysters & Pearls

If you happen to know my Dad, you know that he does everything he does 150%.  So naturally, his wood rack not only has a floor, but it also has a sub-floor.  So to get to the hive, we had to pull up the boards, then saw through the plywood “sub-floor” and remove it, too.  We anticipated that the bees would not like this at all.  Not one little bit.

Marc Giving Beekeeping Lessons | Oysters & Pearls

So after a quick primer from Marc, and some frame prep (we tied strings to the bottom of each frame so we could place the bees own honey comb into the frames for them, rather than using the plastic inserts some of them came with),  we unloaded all the wood, and I suited up.  Just in case.  It was my first beekeeping experience, after all.

Suiting Up in a Borrowed Bee Suit | Oysters & Pearls Suiting Up for Beekeeping | Oysters & Pearls Natalie's First Beekeeping Experience | Oysters & Pearls Natalie the Beekeeper | Oysters & Pearls

I felt like a white oompa-loompa.

#safetyfirst

We then proceeded to deconstruct the wood rack while trying to not royally tick the bees off. (<– Bee pun: royal, as in royal jelly? Get it?)

We quickly realized that the plywood sub-floor had rotted through in the center, and we got our first glimpse into the hive.

Wheat Beekeeping  | Oysters & Pearls The First Glimpse into the Wood Rack Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls

Getting the Smoker Ready | Oysters & Pearls Board with Honeycomb attached | Oysters & Pearls

Honey Bees on Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls

Next we had to saw through the plywood and pry it off.  This is where we got very nervous indeed.  The occasion called for lots of smoke.

Fact: according to my bee sensai Marc, smoke doesn’t “calm” the bees down like I always thought.  Bees communicate with each other by releasing pheromones, and the smoke simply disrupts their ability to tell one another to attack you.

Marc Getting the Smoker Going | Oysters & Pearls

Smoking the Bees While Marc Works on Removing Boards | Oysters & Pearls

Veils | Oysters & Pearls

Sawing the Particle Board to Remove the Bee Hive  | Oysters & Pearls

Once we got it cut successfully and pried the edges up, we got our first good look into the hive.

Our First Peek Into the Honey Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls

It. was. crazy.  Marc and Wheat slowly lifted the entire board and moved it to the back of the truck and flipped it over.  Seriously quite possibly one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen.

Removing the Top of the Hive | Oysters & Pearls

 Carefully Transporting the Lid of the Hive | Oysters & Pearls

Wild Bee Hive | Oysters & Pearls

Honey Bees | Oysters & Pearls

Honey Bees  | Oysters & Pearls

So Many Honey Bees | Oysters & Pearls

Somehow we managed to get this done without inciting a bee riot.  We carefully picked up each piece of honey comb, cut it to the length of the frames, and tied the comb into place.  We shook bees off of each piece of comb into the box.  We scooped bees out of the old hive with a manilla envelope and shook them into the hive.  There were bees EVERYWHERE.

Transferring a Wild Honey Bee Hive into a Super and Frames | Oysters & Pearls

Wheat and Marc Tieing Honeycomb into Frames | Oysters & Pearls

Tieing Honeycomb into Frames  | Oysters & Pearls

Swapping Out Frames with Honeycomb for Plastic Ones | Oysters & Pearls

Wild Bees in their New Hive | Oysters & Pearls Shaking Bees off Honey Comb into New Box | Oysters & Pearls

Natural Honey Comb in Frame | Oysters & Pearls

Natalie and Her Bees | Oysters & Pearls

Moving More Honey Comb into Frames | Oysters & Pearls

Marc Showing Wheat and Natalie the Brood in a Piece of Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls

Honeycomb from the Wild Hive Tied into Frames in the Super | Oysters & Pearls

Honey Comb in Frames | Oysters & Pearls

The fact that their own honey comb is in these frames should encourage them to stay put in their new hive.  They should fill it the rest of the way out, connecting everything together with fresh comb and propolis (aka bee glue) so that we can remove the strings this week.

Honey Comb with Brood | Oysters & Pearls

Most of the honey comb didn’t have honey in it – it will full of brood.  The queen lays eggs in the cells of the comb, and the worker bees eventually cap them off.  The worker bee brood is flat, and the drones, which are much larger, have raised brood cells.  Below, you can see some of the bee larvae.

Honey Bee Larvae | Oysters & Pearls

Queen cells, however, look completely different from the rest of the cells.  When we got into the hive, we found 11 queen cells, which was evidence that the hive was probably about to split itself and a swarm of bees + the queen was going to leave the hive and find a new one.  The queen cells they left behind would allow the bees that stayed to raise up a new queen (first one to hatch wins – they would have aborted the other queen cells) to maintain the mother hive.

Queen Cell | Oysters & Pearls

Queen Cells on Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls

Below you can see two queen cells on the edge of the honey comb, but also in the center you can see a drone bee emerging.  This is one of the few pictures I took – Anna Jo is an excellent guest photographer!

Emerging Drone | Oysters & Pearls

What little honey comb did actually have mostly honey in it, we threw into this bucket.  Along with some more bees.

Honey Comb   | Oysters & Pearls

If you are ever wondering about nature’s perfect design, all you have to do is look at honey comb.

Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls

The pieces of honey comb that were stuck to all the boards I cut off to save for beeswax.

Honey Bees on Comb | Oysters & Pearls

Honey Bees on Honey Comb | Oysters & Pearls

The bottom of the main “sub-floor” sheet of plywood to which most of the comb was attached:

Honey Comb Patterns | Oysters & Pearls Honey Comb Pattern from Top of Hive | Oysters & Pearls

So pretty.  And pretty unbelievable.

What was really crazy was how after we had filled up a full hive of bees, there was still enough for another hive left!

The Bees We Left Behind | Oysters & Pearls The Bees Left Behind | Oysters & Pearls

We got as many bees as we could into their fresh new digs, then ratchet-strapped the hive together and taped over the entrance for transport to their new location across the river at my parents’ house.

Box Full Of Bees | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bees in their New Home | Oysters & Pearls Wild Bees in their New Hive | Oysters & Pearls

Ratchet Straps Around Hive For Transport | Oysters & Pearls

We are crossing our fingers that they liked their new place so much because we got the Queen in there and they were following her, but we just can’t be sure.  We are checking this week to see if she’s in there, but just in case, we put 3 queen cells in there too.  I’ll update this post once we check things out.

We temporarily have the hive sitting on top of a tree cross-section, but will be swapping it out with something more permanent this week as well.  I kind of love the tree version, though.

Bees Pouring Out of New Hive | Oysters & Pearls

Hive in the New Location | Oysters & Pearls

After getting the bees all settled in to their new home, we went back and put the wood rack back together for the bees we left behind.  This time, we put a new piece of plywood down and used screws to put everything back together.  That way, we can come back and get them out a whole lot easier than it was this time.

Putting the Wood Rack Back Together | Oysters & Pearls

At this point, I was far more comfortable with the bees than I was when we started.  Clearly.

Bee Poop | Oysters & Pearls

That’s bee poop, folks.  You’re welcome.

Proud of Our Work | Oysters & Pearls Proud of our Bee Hive Moving Work | Oysters & Pearls

All in a good day’s work, friends.

Honey Bee Close Up | Oysters & Pearls

Until Next Time