Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the BUZZ around here...

The Bees Knees lip balm: I just ordered 500 more tubes for lip balm. They should arrive midweek, and we've got PLENTY of McCarty beeswax....therefore, MORE LIP BALM ON THE WAY, folks!

I am working to add more flavors, but I want to test demand before investing MORE money into the operation. It will be safe to say, I should have each of the flavors below available by the beginning of next week:

Vanilla Mint
Orange Spice (our seasonal scent--think orange, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla)
Peppermint Twist
Dolce Cappuccino
Honey Lemon
Lemon Mint
Cinnamon Stick

If there's a flavor combination from above that you'd like me to custom-make, I may be able to do that for you.

McCarty Apiaries Raw Honey
All honey from last week's extraction has been sold. We plan to extract again in the late spring; if we have any available before then, I will contact those on our waiting list.

An aside: It was accidental that we had honey to sell this year, as we (the bees, primarily) usually only produce half of what they did this year. We are hopeful that our hives will remain strong (and not swarm this year) and the queens will produce even stronger hives than last year. We, here at McCarty Apiaries (primarily the senior beekeeper) will work hard to make the bees' winter easy and spring much alive for them--all in hopes for a fruitful yield next extraction!

If you are not on our waiting list and wish to be, reply to this post or email us direct at mccartyhoney@gmail.com.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

THE BEES KNEES: for sale

it starts here...
the star ingredient, the beeswax, was absent for the shot

and ends here:
an all-natural lip balm, a blend of beeswax,vitamin E, lanolin,joboba oil, coconut and essential oils.

"the bees knees" is a term indicating excellence of quality.
Bees carry pollen back to the hive in sacs on their legs. The allusion in this term is to the concentrated goodness to be found around the bee's knees.

Today was my first (of many to come) attempt at crafting my own lip balm. By blending beeswax from our own McCarty Apiaries, with vitamin E, lanolin, coconut oil, jojoba oil and essential oils, I created 50 tubes of lip balm with MINIMAL ingredients.

After experimenting with my first batch, I was able to perfect the recipe, providing the best consistency with a comfortable level of flavor. The Bees Knees is currently available in Orange Spice, Vanilla Mint, Peppermint, and Tangerine flavors. More flavors, including Cappuccino, Lemon, Lemon Mint and Cinnamon, to come within the next week or so!

If you are interested in purchasing YOUR OWN Bees Knees, please contact me, via this post, email, or by phone. The cost is $2 per tube.

BEEmused: Honey Extraction 2010!

the extraction begins HERE:
incensing the bees as you remove the frames from the beehives. Our senior beekeeper was stung four times, his youngest apprentice, only three. :(

The above is a photo of a filled frame before uncapping.

these particular frames had been frozen.
He heated the wax a bit to ensure it wasn't frozen.

The first step in the process is to break or remove all of the caps, this may be accomplished with an automated uncapper or with a manually operated knife. The removed bits of wax, called uncappings, are rich in honey which can be slowly drained off with the help of some heating.

The uncapped frames are then placed in a honey extractor, which spins them so that most of the honey is removed by the force of spinning.

The resulting honey will contain bits of wax and must be passed through a screen so that clean liquid honey results.

more honey continues to drain from the wax from the extracted honey.
Unwanted hive debris, bits of wax, and so on may still appear in extracted honey no matter how carefully you perform the extraction process. After being jarred, the honey will naturally filter itself, as any wax and residue will rise to the top. Upon opening, the wax can be neatly scraped from the top before the first consumption.

Not necessarily part of the process, popcorn may be used to catch any stray drippings. (I caught the little guy doing this and thought the combination unusual. Think, caramel corn.)

the result: no-heat, unfiltered 100% raw Oklahoma honey.
We have about 17 quarts+ 30 pint-jars full, a decent yield for our small operation.
And because of the frozen frames taken from earlier in the year, we have TWO VARIETIES, each having a distinct flavor.

Any honey that can't be harvested, which includes any left on the frames after extraction, can be placed outside so that it will be reclaimed by the bees. This must be done early in the morning or late in the evening as the bees will aggressively harvest such a rich source. As I look out the back window this morning, I am watching them devour the remnants.

After extraction last night, we counted and estimated that we extracted twice as much as the past two years. This means that we may be able to sell and share our honey with others who have been asking. Of course, there will be a limited supply, but it is exciting to merely consider the yield.

Our extraction process has gotten much simpler and much less laborious, messy and time-consuming. Also, my appreciation for these thousands of busy bees has increased exponentially over the years. The entire process is amazing. Their God-given design allows us to enjoy and savor the fruits of THEIR hard work. And how fortunate we are to be able to do so!