Back when we were building, Joe, Papa (Mark), and Kristopher removed the front deck off the old farm house...as it was caving in! At that time, Joseph (our middle son), said he could smell honey!...? He went upstairs poked some holes in the walls and found nothing.
In late spring, early one morning while Papa (Mark) was up the ladder working on the New home, a swarm of bees....seemed liked thousands, arrived and began building a nest a way up in the eve of the old farm house...he knew they were honey bees right away. It has become increasingly more rare to find feral honey bees. At first we thought some local farmer might have lost the bees, from a bee farm...we tried to make contact with some local bee farmers...no one was a all interested. So we thought, well maybe they are the old fashion wild bees. We left them alone.
Joe had not forgot about the honey he smelled in the spring, and he watched with great interest as the bees worked in two locations in the old house (We have only open one location).
This is kind of humorous as Joseph has a real phobic fear of bees and wasps and such. When he was dating Corinna his darling wife, she tells the story of a walk in the park in Halifax. Holding hands, walking in the evening breeze, when a bee buzzes toward them....the next thing she knows is Joe grabs her and dragged her in front of his body, using her as a human shield, ducks behind her and shouts,,,"Beeee, oh nooo it a bee!" She knew that day in the event of a bee hurting her or Joe...it would indeed be her...Bless her heart, she married him anyway! LOL.
Joe did watch these buggers from a far. As winter settled in we all ceased to see any more activity at the old house. Joe...of all my darling kids...Joe wanted to look for some honey. December held temps around 25 to 45 below. However January brought mild temps 0 to +9 and sunny days. Finally Joe and his dad decided to go look and see what was in the walls.
Did they ever find honey!!!!....Oh My Goodness, the eves was full, as far as the eye could see...and it is easy to tell that the bees have been using this for a long, long time. They brought in a small amount of honey comb inside to me and I was able to get 4 jars of honey. It was free...sort of?!
I cannot give you a really good reason, for the fact that not one of us....Joe, Papa or myself, to the time to looked up "how to extract honey" Papa took the lead (as he so often can and does) and put the honeycomb in one of my pots...and let is slowly simmer....to melt the wax, and pour out the honey...sounded like a solid plan to me. Oh it was solid all right!!!...That wax was the most solid, hard, cement stuff I ever dealt with. As soon as it melted...wax rose to the top...honey on the bottom....just poured off the liquid gold...Oh we were such a happy little group in the kitchen that evening...Joe, Mark , Corinna and I. and then......then....
I went to wash my pot.....Ollie old dickens, I could not scrap it off.....I could not wash it off...it turned into demon glue. I looked around the kitchen, seeing little dripples here and there...in the sink, on the stove,on the counter....and that was when the whole production of honey came to a very abrupt halt!
I now had two or three pots covered, as well as two measuring cups and one large mixing bowl. We finished bottling the honey that was melted....I put all the dirty waxed glued dishes in my roastpan and began cleaning the sink...if that stuff went into the drain...just kiss your pipes good by.
When Papa saw the cause and effect..(of the wax I mean ...not me) he help as best he could. Joe and family left for home...and after a few hours, papa and I went to bed, dishes still in the roster.
A fresh start in the morning after the mess of the night before, brings new and fresh ideas...I had to wash the waxy dishes. I filled the roaster with warm water and a generous helping of soap....put if on the middle burner of the gas stove....as the water became hotter and hotter I began to scrub the dishes, first the glass measure cups....came off not too bad, then I dried them lifting of little bits that were still sticking.... finally all the glass was done, I notice a thin film forming over the water....but I only had two more things to clean....so I did not want to change the water yet! Changing the water involved me carrying it outside and dumping it to the ground. I grab the last pot and that was when it slipped right out of my rubber gloved hand and fell into the roaster making a splash of water bigger then life. It splashed up on the wall....to the top of the stove panel and down into the grates....there I stood with that demon glue all over! I cried out in great tears of complete frustration...Mark came running. "Don't say anything to me" I warned him. "This is a dreadful mess"...heated bees wax is not like candle wax. "How do people do this" I demanded he tell me? Mark was being kind enough, and said we would get it cleaned up...."How"? I lemented. Is this how people do honey. I went and sat down with my computer to do the thing I should have done yesterday. RESEARCH!! No people do not slowly warm honey in THIER kitchens and bottle it!
1) do this outside
2) do not heat your honey(kills the living good of it)
3)have all equipment ready .........the list went on and on....all you have to really do it drain the combs for goodness sake...or if you want honey combs just crush it all up and strain it in a strain or cheese cloth .THAT's IT!!....THAT IS ALL!!!!! Good Gravy!! SAKE ALIVE!!!
Now how did we clearn it.......Mark has used braked cleaner over the years for many, many things including laundry. I do not know were or how he ever came to the knowledge of the "wonders" of brake cleaner...because as handy as Mark is ,,,,and he really is....the one and only area I never see him tackle is mechanics. I do want to report and with a most grateful heart that Papa was able to clean my stove and "others" stuff with brake cleaner and at the end of a long cleaning day, nothing was truly harmed excepted my nerves.
We have also been studying all about "Bee Keeping" because without a doubt, we are wanting to keep these bees...They are the real deal. Wild Canadian bees that can live through -50 weather and boy can they ever build hardy hives and hey did I ever mention that the wax they make is extraordinary...I think it could be use to weatherproof a roof! Yep we are learning....here are the photos that have been taken over the last few days. (most photo are after t we educated ourselves))
Who knew that when we wanted a farm...it was going to be a BEE FARM! HA! Our first animal was already here! Came with the land as they say!!!
White honey comb are royal honey...stuff used to feed the Queen...it taste great but is a thiner more watery honey and because it had more water it can ferment. Ripe honey cannot!
Another educated fact we have learned is that we have Canola honey which is know to be the mildest tasting honey. It is a light colour. Mark has built a bee box which we hope they will like and use...just to make the harvest easy. Today Papa got his first bee sting from the brood, right on his wrist. He was replacing the boards back on as we are headed from colder more seasonal temperatures this week.
Oh Honey....by the way, I really do love you!!!