The other day my partner Phillip realized that his new bees created extra comb. So, we decided to turn their over-productive zeal (in which they have much of) into some home-style projects. As of two days ago, Phillip is up to four hives. He is a natural bee-keeper at his farm, Cairn Rock Farm in Sautee, GA. Being a natural bee-keeper is very important to him because he wants the bees to be healthy and not stressed. He doesn’t even smoke them (which is normally what is done to ‘calm’ the bees to get into the hive).
He is now up to four hives and we hope to add on more. Basically, I have a little hive product business that he and I are writing up at the moment. We love bees and want to educate people on Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (affecting the honey bees), native and solitary bees, and the virtues of natural bee-keeping.
Who knows when humans and honey bees first joined forces. A part of me feels that we have been co-evolving for some time — with flowers — a beautiful trilogy. With that in mind, we have a lot of responsibility on our part of the relationship. So, I think it’s important to notice this ancient ally of ours is in distress (well, and so are we).
With that said, hive products and bee offerings are plentiful:
- beeswax for candles and salves
- templates for sacred geometry (honeycomb shape)
- propolis for the immune system, for anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-fungal properties as well
- bee pollen for protein, to help with allergies, to supply vitamins and minerals
- royal jelly — a natural superfood (to me, better left to the bees)
- and — yes — honey! — with many internal and external medicinal virtues
The ancients made honey wine and recited poetry. If you click on the hot-link in the previous sentence, you’ll see that the legacy of honey wine spans many continents (Mayans, Ethiopians, Old English, etc) and many cultures — there are almost 40 different types of honey wines listed! Honey wine used to be a common way to ingest plant medicine… And, thankfully — it is making a come-back in the US (especially with Colorado’s massive annual mead festival).
And, we actually made what I call a ‘cheater’ mead with the comb Phillip got from the hives. They were filled with honey and the easiest way to get the honey out without much equipment is to put the comb in water. Yes, then you get honey water which is exactly what you need for mead. We didn’t want to wait a year to drink our mead (which is standard), so we basically added whey (which is the acidic liquid that separates from curds in milk) and made a fermented whey honey spritzer of sorts. They whey and the sugars in the honey ferment to create fizz and the whey also provides lacto-bacilii to the grateful drinker (say HELLO to beneficial gut flora).
Basically, in a wine bottle (750 mL) you add 2 Tablespoons of whey to the honey water — cap it (twist tops are the best) and wait 3-5 days (in a warm place in your home) or until the beverage gets crazy fizzy when you try to open it. Chill and serve. Which we did and it was delicious! I think it turned out pretty citrusy because of the bee pollen that was also in the liquid.
We also melted down the wax in this make-shift double boiler (Ball jar rings used to but space between Pyrex glass and the heat) and poured it into a form with an anchored wick (also very make-shift) to make our first candle! Hopefully, it will light the way for us as we journey into our business offering to the world!
We then placed the candle (scented with my favorite essential oil, rose geranium) into a small candle-holder with lavender flowers. The lavender flowers are all over our cabin now — to deter the presence of scorpions! I was bit on my bum the eve of my birthday…so I’m eager to keep them at bay
Bees are hard-workers. To keep a good relationship with them, we need to keep chemicals out of their lives. We need to give them good homes. We need to not add stress to their lives (like orchard pollinators do, driving across the country to pollinate fruit/nut trees). And, possibly, we need to consider what we are putting into the airwaves.