Candles in the wind?

Recently, I was able to harvest about 16 pounds of honey from one of my hives that has been in existence for two-plus years.

I don’t have an extractor just yet, so it all has to be done by hand and wait while gravity takes the sticky, gooey, delicious honey from the comb on the frames from the hive box and drips into a food-safe tray to then be filtered and bottled.

At the present time, it takes a lot of patience and time to get even a pound of honey, but the other product produced while harvesting are the wax caps that the bees place on top of each honeycomb cell to protect their valuable commodity. This wax can then be rendered down into various products, such as lip balm, candles, salves, etc.

This time, I was able to pull around five frames of honey out to harvest, and as I cut the wax caps off of the comb, I not only was excited for the promise of honey to sell but also the beautiful wax cappings that were oozing down the frame. It was beautiful beeswax, too, pale yellow in color and pure.

It took around 24 hours to wait for the last of the honey to drip from the hive frames, and then I filtered the honey through a fine mesh cheesecloth, which caught the remnants of the beeswax. This was going to be amazing.

I rinsed the wax to remove any residual honey and laid it out on the kitchen counter on a piece of wax paper to dry. Imagine what I could do with such a haul.

Now, if you’ve read for a while, you know I have a shepherd/Newfoundland dog named Ozzie who loves to keep me on my toes with things. He has been known in the past to do a little “counter surfing” for various food (and nonfood) items — chips, pens, dog treat dough, a Fitbit. He can’t help himself.

Obviously, the smell of the fresh beeswax was just too tempting for him, and I returned from a trip to town to do errands to find that every bit of the beautiful wax was gone. The wax paper only showed a small rip but was otherwise still in place where it was before I had left. Ozzie had eaten every morsel of the wax.

Understandably, I was concerned for the big guy for any gastro maladies that might occur, but I’m happy to say he’s doing just fine, save for what was left in the backyard 24 hours later.

Perhaps I could stick wicks in the “deposits” and at least get to enjoy some of the wax. Then again, I don’t think a scented candle of that variety would be very pleasurable. One thing with dogs, you learn that those things which you thought were very important may not be so.

Still though, the thought of several candles burning in the backyard makes me laugh.

Until next time…

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].