3 Nifty Uses for BEESWAX


1 oz. beeswax blocks

1. Got stuck stuff? Beeswax is a natural lubricant: It will help you with sticky doorjambs or wooden bureau drawers. Are your windowsills giving you a workout just opening them? Beeswax will help get all these fixtures moving freely. Simply take a beeswax block and rub it on the affected area. Try opening and closing a few times to distribute the wax. Apply more as needed.
2. Quilter & Sewing Thread: Quilters love natural beeswax. They run their thread across the beeswax several times, to prevent tangling and aid in a smooth transition through the fabric. Hand sewers strengthen their thread by running it through the wax, and then heat seal it by running a warm iron over it (some do this between two clothes others heat it right on the thread that has been run through the wax).
3. Wood Pick-Me-Up: Keep your food-grade wooden spoons, bowls and cutting boards like new—for decades to come, by making this homemade conditioning rub.
Recipe: Combine 2 ½ oz. food grade mineral oil and 9 ½ oz. pure beeswax in a double boiler. Place double boiler over medium heat until beeswax is melted. Stir to combine with a clean wooden stick such as Popsicle sticks. Pour the mixture into a recycled wide mouth glass jar or tin. Let cool. If rub is too thin or thick for your liking, simply reheat in double boiler and add more mineral oil if too thick, and more beeswax if too thin.

How to use: On a soft clean cloth (cutup used t-shirts work great!) dab a dollop rub into wood using a circular motion. Add more rub and repeat until the entire surface has been conditioned. Let it set to dry for several hours or overnight then buff it with a soft clean cotton cloth.

➤Tip. Use a short glass jar/tin so that you can get your fingers easily into the opening.

There are are so many uses for beeswax. What are some of your favorites?

Shop for beeswax blocks here. You'll be taken to our online Square store. 

2 Recipes Using Fresh Bee Pollen


The honey bees have been collecting bee pollen and sharing some with us. I am so thankful for this because I'm ready to get it back into my daily routine. 

I had a challenged winter of health. Just picture an assembly line, and this is how it went: flu, pneumonia, bronchitis with a sinus infections. With no break in-between. Then three weeks later another humdinger sinus infection tried to take me down for three weeks. 


"It's time to build up my immunity and raw honey and bee pollen
   are on the top off my list. 
Fresh Bee Pollen


I've been experimenting with some recipes, and I'm excited to share them with you because I'm really enjoying them!



Bee Pollen, Southern Greens, Mango & Honey Smoothie

Bee Pollen Southern Greens & Mango Smoothie

 

1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
4 oz. Southern Greens Blend
5 oz. Frozen Mango Chunks
1 Tsp to 1 Tbls Raw Honey
1 Tbls Fresh Bee Pollen
Blend in blender until fully smooth.

I had been drinking these smoothies for days before it was time to try something different. Now I've heard one person say don't cook with bee pollen because it will destroy the benefits. But here's my thought process, and I leave it up for you to decide.  All the food sources that we cook and eat, still come out with a lot of the nutrients and it's very lightly cooked in this recipe. And different this is, from the pollen and the maples syrup that's been aged in bourbon barrel. Enjoy!

Pollen Honey Oat French Toast w/Bourbon Maple Syrup 

Bee Pollen French Toast



(Breakfast for 1)


Ingredients:
2 slices Honey Oat artisan bread

Mixture--
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
Sprinkle of Cinnamon & Nutmeg
1 Tbls Fresh Bee Pollen (save a few to sprinkle on top).

Directions:
Get a seasoned cast iron skillet warmed up (not too hot). Whisk mixture ingredients together in a wide enough bowl to fit a slice of bread. Soak both sides of bread in mixture. Cook until nicely browned on both sides. I like to serve with a tiny pat of butter, then sprinkle the remaining bee pollen pellets on top, drizzle a tablespoon of Bourbon Barrel Pure Vermont Maple Syrup. Yum!

Let me know how you like them, and be creative.

Bee Well,

~Valarie
 

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oat Bran Cookies: with Honey

 cookies and tea

To keep your recipe box growing with tasty delights baked with honey, I tried a new recipeI think it's a keeper. One of my favorite cereals is hot oat bran, served with roasted walnuts and honey. I've been looking at the recipe on the back of the box for years. A few weeks ago I decided to give it a try (with a twist, I added mini chocolate chips). 

batter
Batter
Ingredients  
½ cup butter, melted (I used Cabot)
1/3 cup raw honey, crystallized or liquid (I used Heavenly Honey Apiary)
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg or 2 egg whites (I used 4 Tbsp of egg whites)
½ cup peanut butter (Natural is great in this recipe)
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour (King Arthur Flour)
½ cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (King Arthur Flour)
½ cup Oat Bran Cereal Hodgson Mill (I used Trader Joes)
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda

Cookie dough ready for oven
Ready for the oven

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° F. 

Mix melted butter with honey and brown sugar. Add egg (or whites); mix well. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients; mix well. Drop by teaspoon into ungreased cookie sheet, (I lined mine with parchment paper). 

Bake on middle rack 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer to cooling rack, wait 10 to 15 minutes 

Devour!

Cooling cookies
Waiting to cool

Yields 36 cookies.

Recipe adopted from the back of Hodgson Mill Oat Bran Hot Cereal box.

Why a beekeeping mentor is a MUST HAVE


You’re in your backyardrelatively new to beekeeping, you look to the sky and concentrate on (well first you hear) a black, buzzing cloud. It takes a moment for your eyes to focus and assimilate what you are looking at; you are witnessing your first swarm.  You have read about swarms, but all of a sudden you’re unsure. Is there something to be done? If only you could just call someone more experiencedask a few questions. Well that’s exactly what we did seven years ago. I will never forget that day for two reasons. Watching my first swarm and then being able to capture it—was a thrill! Secondly, it was the beginning of a mentoring relationship that has lasted for years. 

If you are new to beekeeping, I would like to offer my two cents, which may only be worth a penny to you, but to someone else it might just be priceless down the road.


"Book knowledge is great, but having a bee mentor is invaluable."

Let me say it another way (and please take this with a grain of salt).
 


"A prideful person doesn’t ask for beekeeping help, but the humble beekeeper is willing to surround himself or herself with experienced beekeepers."

I like to call these experienced beekeepers by a more affectionate term, “old-timers”. They don’t have to be old (although in some cases the older they are, the more stories I get to hear!), they’re just beekeepers that have been at it so long that they are like a properly seasoned, well-used cast iron skillet. They have loads of wisdom to share and they don't let it stick to themselves. 


Over the past seven years we’ve become knowledgeable beekeepers (but there is always more to learn). About six years ago, one of our mentors said to me, “You’re no longer a newbie, your first year of beekeeping has taught you much, you now know more than the newbies showing up for these workshops.” In other words, he was encouraging me share my experiences. Thus the circle continued and my husband and I have been giving back ever since. 


Valarie & Scott represent their beekeeping assoc.,
offering honey tasting from local and store bought honey


Our first (beloved) mentor, Bill Mares!
As the years have progressed, pay it forward has naturally become Scott’s style to fellow Vermont beekeepers as he answers questions that come in by telephone, email and teaching venues. He has lead beekeeping workshops, taught beekeeping 101 extension classes, and been interviewed several times by the local news channel to provide beekeeping basics. This give back approach has been modeled well by esteemed old-timers such as Bill Mares, Michael Palmer and Bill Mraz. They have given our beekeeping association countless hours of teaching, training and knowledge.
 

For Scott and I, fun mentoring opportunities have looked like these:


Mentee, Gisela

Early in 2012, Scott met a woman while teaching a beekeeping course whom insisted that he would be her tutor(she was feisty, but a good learner). He provided hands-on experience within our operation, until she was ready to purchase her own hives and give it try. Last I heard, this mentee had been fully inducted into the world of beekeeping—she received her first black bear attack this spring. 

Valarie discussing the inside of the hive with a child

For me, my face lights up with smiles when I’m educating the children that visit our observation hive. They have hundreds of questions (literally), and if they stick around long enough, they start answering questions that come from adults that walk up to our booth. Our job is done; I just love this! I also have opportunities to talk about how I render wax, make pure beeswax candles and make infused honey etc. I further like to talk about products from the hive and show what can be created with them, such as the consumption of bee pollen, propolis and foods cooked with honey.

Mentee, Gary (and son)
from Lake Champlain Chocolates reaping his first harvest

Last year Scott began mentoring some aspiring beekeepers that work at Lake Champlain Chocolates. This is a Vermont company that knows what local is all about. These chocolatiers use local honey, maple syrup, cream etc. in their craft. It has been a pleasure for my husband to work alongside of them; coaching, encouraging and then helping them (with the excitement of their first harvest) extract frames of honey. Maybe someday they’ll be extracting enough honey to use in their mouthwatering chocolates.

You may ask, “Where can I find a beekeeper mentor?”

Many states have a beekeepers associations or local beekeeping club. If you haven’t joined one, I highly recommend it. Heck we’ve driven to other states and paid a visitors fee to hear guest speakers that we think will help us with our beekeeping skills. Most associations have a list for their members containing beekeepers willing to be mentors. Some folks use online forums such as Beesource to ask their questions. This is great; however, I still recommend getting to know someone local in case something is going on in your hive that you can’t read properly, but an experienced beekeeper could come on site and help you out, and potentially help to save your colony(s).
 
One of our endeared "old-timers" Bill Mraz

Well that about wraps up my two cents on why you should seek out a mentor. Oh wait, if you are reading this and you have years of experience and have never become a mentor, what the buzz are you waiting for? Do I need to come through this screen and sting you? No, seriously—I know that time is limited, so say no to ten but if you can, try saying yes to one. From firsthand experience, passing on wisdom and giving support does have a payoff. It gives back satisfaction in knowing you have personally helped a fellow beekeeper, thus growing the community and increasing the education on how to keep healthy sustainable honey bees.  

Happy beekeeping!
 

We want to hear from you (and I’m sure others would too). Tell us the most helpful advice that you have received from your beekeeping mentor. Please post comments below.