Ronnie the bee guy who I do swaps with - eggs for his honey - saved me the wax capping from his last honey harvest. It seemed a shame to throw it away when beeswax is a great raw ingredient: lip balms, furniture polish, candles. All great things, right? And of course with the interweb, all the information I needed on refining beeswax is right there in seconds (well minutes). I got the general idea and printed off some simple instructions and started my stove-top beeswax refinery.
This is what it started as:
Then I melted it:
And filtered it - 3 times:
And I ended up with this:
Does that look right to you? I know I filtered out a lot of schmutz but I expected more wax than that. If anyone has made beeswax before and you can point what I did wrong, I would be grateful. Still, I have enough to make a little pot of polish. And with the money I've saved I can hire a housekeeper to use it, because I cannot remember the last time I dusted. I leave the windows open on a nice day and hope it kind of blows away.
My homemade custard had a funny turn too. Though I was careful not to boil it, it curdled. I added arrowroot powder to thicken it. Could that be the cause? Nothing goes to waste and I fed it back to the chickens. Grandma Brown and her chicks were most impressed with my culinary skill. You just have to know your audience.
I also made a few more suet balls for the birds (I was cleaning the coffee cups out of Boris). Those seem to be today's big success. Sad, isn't it?
Collette allowed me to raid her eating apple tree, two buckets' worth. Tomorrow I'll do some stewed apples for the freezer. I will appreciate those in winter. I love it just warmed through and served with vanilla ice cream. Even I can't screw that up. My new jam pan is getting some mileage.
My other main job at the moment is dogs. They will be back to work next Tuesday and start with a pretty hard 4-day week. I can split them into groups so they can share the workload. Dogging in (chasing pheasants home) has upped their fitness, though I do my best to keep them mentally and physically well by running them behind the quad bike 3 times a week in the off season. But they know the 'real deal' is coming and nothing gets them more excited (and worse behaved) than warm game to hunt and retrieve.
Spud the puppy is taking well to her training. Neither of us have had a flat-coated retriever before. They are described as the 'Peter Pan' of the dog world and it seems to be true. She has the attention span of a butterfly and the energy of a charged particle. But we have totally mastered the 'sit' command, so we can build on that. We are working on sitting and staying at a distance, in short bursts of course. And Spud is food oriented, which makes it a lot easier. She won't even see the shooting field this year, there's no sense pushing her. And if this picture is anything to go by, she may be a little slower than the rest -