Posts Tagged ‘cappings’

July bee class

Hello there! Guess what we added to the calendar since we are actually doing more work around the Bee Ranch now? A new class date for Introduction to Beekeeping. Our next class will be Saturday, July 18 in case you are interested. Here’s link for more information as well as to register. We have some seats still available and hope you can join us! Click here for class info.

In other wonderful news – pollen, pollen, and more pollen. WOW! We are loving how the pollen looks AND tastes this year. Subtly sweet and soft to the touch. Due to the hot weather, we aren’t shipping it out but if you would like some, do stop by the Bee Ranch one Wednesday or Saturday (9-12pm).

Pollen is amazing this season!

And in case you would prefer honey – it’s coming! We have started a slow harvest due to rainy spells and high levels of moisture in the honey. What we have harvested, we like. A lot. And we can’t wait to host a few honey tasting events to share it with you all!

Harvest time at the Bee Ranch


Read Full Post »

Attention to detail

I visited Mark out in the candle/honey shop yesterday and as always, I enjoyed looking at the bucket o’ beeswax, thinking about how that bucket you see below turns in the lovely creations we take to market, ship out in orders and gift to others. How amazing, right? That’s cappings you see in the bucket – this is what is sliced off the tops of honey frames during honey extraction. The bees seal up each honey cell once they have dried out the honey to their liking. Remember the 80/20 rule? If a frame in a honey super is about 80% sealed, it means the honey is pretty much ready for harvesting. Anyway, we have to remove that capping in order to open up the cells so that the honey will sling out when the spinning extractor is turned on. The cappings sit in a tub that allows honey to drip off into a tub that we later filter to remove big chunks of wax as well as bees who have gorged themselves silly on honey (what a way to go). But not all the honey is completely gone so when we melt down the cappings and run it through the micron filter to remove dirt and debris, there is enough honey left in the wax so that when you light our pure beeswax candles, you will smell the sweetness of the honey. It’s very subtle (unless you are like me and light about five at a time, or ten during winter months) and does not overwhelm a room like traditionally scented candles might. We love it and we love it when customers come back to pick up more as gifts because they enjoyed their candles so much. Great feeling. Still, I’m just always amazed that this is what it looks like at one point in the process. Of course, it makes me think of cookies and I want to just grab a glob of it as if it were cookie dough. Sigh.

Beeswax post extraction

Today during lunch, I treated us to a delicious new sweetness I’ve been wanting to try since I saw it last week. I picked up some delicious figs at the Quarry market Sunday and while they are quite delicious just washed and quartered, today I caramelized them in the skillet and then put them on my plain Greek yogurt and then added a big of Gonzales honey on it all. Oh. My. I liked it. Mark liked this fresh fig and liked the caramelized figs even more. We love finding new ways to enjoy honey and we also appreciate the opportunities to try new foods – wouldn’t be happening so often if we weren’t at market. Yay for local farmers we meet! I got these from 9-1 Farm at the Quarry. Fernando is super nice and hard-working, like everyone else. Can’t wait to tell him how much we enjoyed his figs. I’ve gotten lots of other produce from him in the past, including that super awesome purple cauliflower. Loved it. Can’t wait for it again next year. Tomorrow’s fig adventure will include comb honey and Brie!

Figs and yogurt

This was the finished product this afternoon. I adore fig preserves so that’s going on my list to learn and we’re wondering where we can plant a fig tree or two on our little Bee Ranch. 🙂 Just a random comment about figs – I was at HEB today after work and I noted there were no fresh figs to be had. Made me wonder why they didn’t have any.

This little figgy

Read Full Post »

Mark working with some wax cappings

People sometimes ask what we do with the cappings from our honey frames after we extract. That gray tub Mark is working with is where we shave off the tops of the capped-over honey frames. The wax falls into the tub, which has a grill on the bottom and the grill allows the honey to drip off the wax and into the bottom bucket under the draining tub. It looks and smells wonderful because there is a good amount of honey left on that wax as we uncap and prepare the frame for extracting. Anyway, as the extracting continues and we need more space in the two uncapping tubs, Mark puts the wax into buckets for later processing. Look at that scrumptious looking batch of wax cappings. Is it just me or does it look like makings for some oatmeal raisin cookies?? It really does! I wanted to grab a gob of it but didn’t…have to behave.

Oatmeal or wax cappings?

Okay, so now that all the harvesting is finally, finally completely done, Mark started to go back to those buckets of cappings and put them back in the tubs for more complete draining. I was totally shocked when he told me how much honey was left on that wax (and he’s not even done yet). We’re not talking chump change either. Wow, I didn’t realize how much honey was still left in all that wax. And thank goodness my honey bee knows these things. That’s why he’s the boss and I’m the documentarian. 🙂 Lifelong learning – gotta love it!

In the end, after the micron filtering the wax goes through, Mark hand pours each and every candle and bees wax block, whether it’s an ounce or a pound. We love turning people on to beeswax and the people in San Antonio seem to REALLY love the wax products. We have never sold so much wax products in non-cold months as we have since joining the Pearl Farmers Market. That’s awesome! Mark is trying hard to keep up with demand, especially with several multiple event weekends coming up (and soon!).

Bees wax products at the Pearl

Speaking of events, guess what’s coming up this weekend now that we have hit October? That’s right – the 3-day Come & Take It Festival in Gonzales starts Friday afternoon already! Woo hoo! We love that event and if you haven’t been, you should really check it out – great music, fun environment for the whole family, good food, great night lights lighting up the entire downtown area, parades, reenactments, and tons more. The Gonzales crowd also knows what they like and we’re happy and proud they love our Gonzales Wildflower Honey. But the also like the specialties as well so we’re taking it all with us. We still have the Pearl market so we’ll be splitting up and lining up two separate teams. Thank goodness we have good friends helping us out. Thanks, everyone!

The lake at the Pearl Farmers Market

And speaking of the Pearl market, we were soaking wet this past Saturday but we still managed to have fun and had a decent showing of customers. Wow – what loyal shoppers! They didn’t let torrential downpours stop them from doing their weekly market shopping. And we thank them for showing up and shopping with us some. Especially in the location we were in – near a drain hole that was not draining. At one point, we had water halfway up past our tables. We were literally standing in water. Thank goodness a friend of ours at Springfield Farm (another vendor) had something with which to pry up the wood covering on the hole. Then another gentleman stuck a bit of a cone under there so that the opening could remain up and allow the water to drain. Hooray for friends who care. We have got to get better draining or a better spot. Last weekend it was the sun hitting our bees and beeswax and this weekend it was the non-draining drain. Let’s see what is next. I’m hoping they fix that drain at least. We got a new canopy with an extendable awning so we’ll see if that helps with the sun at least.

Read Full Post »