|Rustic Fern Piller|
|Hand dipped beeswax tapers|
The bee store doesn't make much money doing the candles, but it comes at a slow time of year. Its good to stay busy at this time of year and anything that brings in a little revenue is nice. In past years, I've used the extra candles from the classes to stock the bee store with candles. This year, the students have purchased almost all of the candles we have made in class. Consequently, I've had to spend more time at work pouring candles. I don't know how many candles I can sell at the store, but I know I can't sell them if I haven't made them. I usually pass on to the customers a favorite quote from Jonathan Swift; the one where he refers to honey and beeswax as the gifts of "sweetness and light".
I have to admit that I really enjoy making candles and playing with the beeswax. Our primary source of beeswax is cappings that we purchase from some local Ukrainian commercial beekeepers. I have a cappings melter that does a pretty good job rendering the beeswax. Last year we rendered over three hundred pounds of beeswax. I say we, but really my minion Quentin did most of the work rendering the wax. I personally have twelve beehives and I only got about three pounds of beeswax from my own hives. My preferred way to render beeswax is to use a solar wax melter. Cappings wax done in a solar wax melter turns out a light cream color as opposed to the yellow wax we get from the water jacket cappings melter. The big problem with that is we only have about six weeks during the year when it is sunny enough and warm enough for my solar wax melter to work. Also we have more time to fool with rendering beeswax in November and December. Hence most of our beeswax is done with the water jacket cappings melter.