Last summer I harvested honey from my one hive–such gentle bees and so productive. I got about two gallons from those industrious creatures. And I had cappings–wax!
I saved the cappings in the freezer for processing in cooler weather when it might be nice to be in a kitchen with the oven going. One pan was processed in the oven but then I still had another bag of cappings and the first batch of processed cappings.
Batik has always fascinated me–and I wanted to try it. So off to the store to find an electric fry pan with a temperature gauge. None to be found in the one store—but a cute little crock pot for less than ten dollars. Would it work?
Dumped the bag of frozen wax in there–and I thought we had gotten all of the honey out of it—Nope!
By the time we finished with both bags of cappings (two harvests) we had half a quart of honey. And we strained out a lot of bee legs and bits of leaves and so forth. The house smelled wonderful–like baking bread or simmering cinnamon sticks.
On to batik!
I used a vintage potato masher for one piece. The wax needs to be hot–and the masher (metal) needs to stay in the wax long enough to heat the metal–otherwise you end up with a wax coated masher and no wax on the fabric. The wax has to penetrate the fabric to be successful.
Beeswax does not crack as much as paraffin does–but I did get a few cracks. I think if I had put it in the freezer and then scrumched the fabric, I might have gotten more. Next up is a dried corn cob.
here is the wax melting in the little crock pot.
and here is my first waxing. I dyed the fabric after this waxing and then re-waxed in opposite direction and dyed again. Tomorrow I’ll show the finished piece.
What is is about freshly picked produce that makes it taste so wonderful? And if it is something you have grown yourself? So much better.
About two years ago my husband and I went to the Master Gardener’s sale at the local airport. I bought a peach tree and he bought a fig tree. The fig tree was about 8 inches tall while my peach tree was about 5 feet tall and had three peaches on it.
That fig tree looked pretty sad and tiny for the first year but now it has grown quite a bit and now has lots of figs on it–all about the size of a quarter. Two have been plundered by birds. My peach tree had quite a few tiny peaches on it but threw them all off in our Noah’s Ark deluge of several weeks. I guess it just doesn’t like having wet feet.
So later today I will taste those figs–and put those tomatoes on a nice salad. Alas my lettuce has gone to seed–too hot here for good lettuce–and since I have had inroads of the native grasses into my raised beds, I will be going to all stock tanks for my raised beds–less bending over for me–and no invasive grass.
And I need to water my bees–a pet watering system from Tractor Supply—a fun place to shop.
And then back to the workroom for my latest art piece—maybe I’ll show that tomorrow or the next day.
And in case you wanted to know why there is a pocket knife in the photo? It is Weir family tradition to include your Swiss Army knife as a reference for size. My knife is securely put away in my desk drawer to avoid confiscation while trying to do things like pay taxes at the courthouse or maybe fly somewhere. It along with my tape measure were always part of my purse or backpack contents along with a sketchbook–no lipstick though.
Last year my dear husband took me on a date—the local beekeepers monthly meeting at Logon Café. It seemed interesting, the food was satisfying–and I didn’t cook or wash the dishes. We attended several more and I decided that it might be fun to have bees.
So I bought a hive, set it up==I got a beekeeping suit complete with gloves, hood for my birthday, salted the hive with lemongrass oil in the hopes of capturing a swarm.
Yesterday the Liberty county beekeeping society held an interest day at the local extension office. Their office is in a converted school and their exhibit was in one of the classrooms. The sidewalk was chalked with pink bees—all the working bees are girls. So I inspected a hive through glass, watched a honey extractor, tasted comb–I was supposed to spit out the wax—I remember eating it–honey was a rare treat for us, and then watched viscosity testing–apparently it is about 21 to 23%==and the bees do it without any testing equipment.
Now I must wait for the spring to get some bees.