Honeycomb Hearts

BEES_featured

My grandma’s house is magical. There is a lake and cabin, beautiful gardens, a sugar shack where I had my wedding and barns full of treasures. There is a “happy tree” straight out of a Winnie the Pooh story.

One day, I received a picture text from my mom. The picture was a bag full of honeycomb that she found on the ground under the “happy tree” – this grand old tree is central to many memories that we grew up with. It held swings that multiple generations enjoyed. I would lazily swing on it for hours.

It now holds lots of honey bees!

I went home to Ohio this past weekend for a surprise visit to see my mom on her birthday. Sunday morning we awoke and I felt the overwhelming need to make something. I’ve been working crazy hours and though I love my job, it’s doesn’t fill my crafting void.

BEES_basket_comb

I checked out the honeycomb and it looked like Pooh Bear had already gotten to it. It was in lots of pieces and no honey was visibly left.

I have been big into making Chapstick with my friend Christine and was excited about the idea of not needing to buy beeswax. It’s very expensive. Let me explain, the long way, how I learned why that is…..

BEES_boiling_water

I took the honey comb and tossed it into a big pot of boiling water and boiled it down to a mush.

BEES_boiling_comb

I then let it sit to cool so all of the wax would rise and hardens together, like a soup base when the fat congeals on top.

BEES_watching_wax

This process is literally like watching paint harden…..so I gave the hot pot an ice bath. Still about an hour before shit happened.

I went to do a final check and a honey bee was playing in my wax! His little feet and wing were covered! I pulled him out and set him the the ground. I felt sad about hurting a honey bee while making beeswax…then I thought maybe it was like if you were to dip me in melted chocolate and then thought maybe it was the happiest way to go…

BEES_wax-solidifying
I skimmed the top layer of wax and remelted it on a double boiler. At this point I needed MORE pots and pans.

“So mom….if you were to lose ANOTHER pan….”

We mastered the heat gun trying to get the wax out of the strainer. By master I mean I managed to spray hot wax everywhere and ruin multiple more pans.

Mom got an Amazon.com order the next day with all the replacements…

My brother awoke at this point and came down stairs. “What is that smell??” He complained, half awake rubbing his eyes. PS – it’s about 1PM.

BEES_sift_wax

Well, it wasn’t coffee. It smelled great, like the earth and honey! I guess I won’t make his girlfriend a lotion out of it for Christmas.

BEES_spoon

I strained back and forth and repeated the process 2 more times to go through all of the honey comb.

Hours later, I pour the end of my clarified wax into a silicone ice cube tray.

I managed to get 2.5 heart shaped ice cubes when all said and done. This amount probably retails for about $10 online. I spent about $80 on replaced pots and pans…

BEES_wax_hearts

Worth the wonderful experience to say I did it? Absolutely. But next time I will use the Internet…