Soap And End cappings

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Posted by kat | Posted in Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 15-06-2015

So for Christmas last year I made soap, I ended up making about 52 bars, if your counting the pieces that were not the right size to give away.   I had hoped to make some mechanics soap for my brother for his birthday( it was in February ) and life got in the way, I still owe him the soap and my sister in law her present( her birthday was also in February)  What does soap have to do with end cappings and what in the world are end cappings?    I am not talking about the end caps for plumbing or any other number of things that have end caps.   The end cappings, I am talking about are from when your are extracting honey from honey comb.     Here is where it involves soap, certain oils and waxes do certain things to your soap and adds or takes away things as well.  I personally like a nice hard bar of soap, with 5 people in the house and living in the south( Georgia) we take showers everyday in the summer, and it wears down the soap.  I currently buy coast, it smells good, it lasts a decent amount of time and I like the price and shape of the bars.  I do not consider myself granola crunchy,  but I do try and live as healthy as possible.  I cook as much as I can from scratch, I prefer butter over margarine( we have both in the house) , I grow a garden when ever I can( mine is not doing very well at the moment), I get a flu shot every year, make sure my kids get the vaccinations they need, when they need them, I go to the Dr and get a yearly physical,  I am not AGAINST modern medicine, but if I can I will take a more natural route first.  BUT I am not so crunchy that I buy into buying only organic foods, not buying anything with food dye or high fructose corn syrup, no modern medicine and that sort of thing.    No! I am not going to start trying to change your mind, one way or another, it would take a lot more time than I have and I am trying to do better about thinking that everyone should think like me.  Deep down, I know that everyone has a right to what they think, coming from a very opinionated family, sometimes makes it really hard for me to keep that in mind.

Anyways!!!  Back to the soap and end cappings before I totally loose track of what I want to say.    So I found this recipe that calls for beeswax.  In the store beeswax is $17.00 for 1lb,  I have several friends that are beekeepers and IF I knew what I was doing, I might still have bees myself.  I haven’t had much luck with the beekeeping aspect of things, but I am going to try again and HOPEFULLY, they will like me this time around, enough to stay.   I asked a friend that I knew was getting ready to extract honey from his hives, if he would save me any extra wax and was willing to pay for it.  He said he didn’t have any extra honey and I was prepared to move on to the next friend.  I get a call from the next day( I had talked to him via Facebook on Saturday or Sunday I think it was) and he said what about end cappings?  Could you use those to get your wax?  I not really knowing how to go about it, said sure.  So he said I will bring you some.  I thought he might have a cup or two, as I really only needed a few ounces of wax.  He shows up on Monday and has a good sized tote full of end cappings and better yet there is honey in the bottom of the tub too.

Tub of end cappings

Tub of end cappings

I remember helping my dad with the bees, he had while I was growing up in Oklahoma, I don’t think I ever helped him with the honey side of things.  So my friend tells me, grab your colander, put a pot under it and let it catch the honey, then melt the wax, but use a pot you don’t mind ruining.  I have yet to get a pot, i had planned on going to the thrift store and finding one, but I haven’t had time yet.    So I wash my colander, after I take out the scraps that I was supposed to throw to the chickens, Yes! I made sure it finally made it to the chickens.   Stopped at Home Depot, bought a bucket to let the honey drip into, stuck it in my shed and proceeded to put the end cappings in the colander to drip.  I did take out three small containers of end cappings and gave one each to my parents and brothers.  One of my brothers has horrible asthma and he is hoping the end cappings which sometimes has pollen mixed in will help.

End cappings in Colander

End cappings in Colander

End capping in my cheese mold waiting to be used for soap.

End capping in my cheese mold waiting to be used for soap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I have all the honey I can get out of the end cappings, I then have to strain the raw honey.  I strain it through a reusable coffee filter.  This takes out any dead bees( they sometimes get in there without being seen and drown) hive beetles, grass and anything else that is not supposed to be in there.  Again while I was at Home Depot, bought a little 2 gallon bucket to put the honey in, I don’t think I should get any more than that out of the end cappings.

Filtered honey

Filtered honey

 

 

Honey from letting cappings drip

Honey from letting cappings drip

 

I had so much cappings left over, there was more than I could see in the container and I did have to go buy two more of the two gallon buckets to put it in.

 

 

 

 

 

We Have Ducks Again

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Ducks | Posted on 11-06-2015

I broke down and bought ducks again, these are pictures of when they were little.

middle and duckling

middle and duckling

Peking Ducklings

Peking Ducklings

Ducklings in brooder

Peking ducklings in brooder

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

Peking, Mallards and baby chickens in brooder

Peking, Mallards and baby chickens in brooder

Bee Swarm Catching

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Bees | Posted on 01-04-2013

Today I got a call from a friend, he told me that he had a swarm of bees in his backyard.  I rushed to get my stuff together and then rushed over to his house.   I had to take all the frames and foundations out to get the bees in, and of course in all the excitemet I didn’t take pictures.   They swarmed on to one of his blueberry bushes, and I had to shake pretty hard to get them in.  I then taped the entrance and stuck them in my car and brought them home.   I stuck the nuc on my hive stand and then mixed up some sugar water for them.   Tomorrow I will switch them to my 8 frame hive and hopefully, I can find the queen and make sure I have the start to a good hive.

Hive Beetles

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Bees | Posted on 03-09-2012

Saturday, I went and checked on my hive,  while I check them daily, the hive hasn’t been opened since April when I transferred the bees into it.   I noticed a little black beetle on the outside of the hive, so I took a picture and then searched on google to see what it was.    It ended up being a hive beetle, and my hive ended up being fairly full of the larvae of the hive beetle.    So I did some research and there are several things you can try and do to battle these pests.  Hive beetle larvae love the pollen and honey, so as they burrow through the wax, they leave behind stuff that causes the honey to ferment and the bee’s will abandon that frame of honey.  If your infected in high enough numbers, you can lose several frames of honey.  Then you have to winter feed your bee’s, which can be a pain for you and can sometimes cause you to have syrup instead of real honey.  If they weaken your hive enough, you can also leave them open to getting wax moth’s which can further damage your colony of bees.   Your hive being in full sun is supposed to help keep them at bay, as the beetles do not like light.

1)  My hive was  in partial sun, so I moved it to a full sun location.   I had to wait until after sunset when all the bee’s are supposed to be in the hive, you then trap them temporarily inside, then after a day or two you remove what ever was keeping them inside and they are now readjusted to the fact they have been moved.

2) Take out any infected frames and put in clean frames.
I added four new frames that had never been used.  I will clean the other frames and then use them later if needed.

3) Requeen the hive and add some brood.
I am not going to try this one yet, as I am not sure that my queen is dead, but I know I lost some brood.

4) Squash any and all beetles you find when you open the hive or that are crawling on the hive.
I have been doing this the few times I have opened the hive, since finding the beetles.  I also have been squashing any of the larvae I have been able to get to.

5) Put in roach station bait traps
You can also make your own version of these, or there are several different traps out there that you can buy.  I tried a mouse sticky trap and it was loaded and it was only in there overnight.  I thought it would only let the beetles in, but I found a few live bees in there as well.  So I need to find a way to make the hole smaller.

For now I am going to try the moving to a full sun location and then we will go from there.   If all else fails and I loose the whole hive, I will see if I can buy a queen and some brood and try again.  I also might be able to see if someone has a hive ready to swarm and then see if they are willing to let me have the swarm to add to the hive once I have the issues fixed.    I should know in about 6 weeks if I need to find a new queen or not.

To Market, To Market, Jiggity Jig

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Posted by kat | Posted in Our Goats, Sandy Creek Farm | Posted on 24-08-2012

OK!, So I wasn’t going to the market to buy a fat pig.  I was going to market to see if I could sell the two male goats and one of the female goats.  I took them to the Taylor County Animal Auction, located in Reynolds, GA.  They sell every kind of fowl( chickens, ducks, doves, pigeons, turkey and guineas) I thought they only took chickens, or I would have taken my male ducks there.   They sell pigs, goats, rabbits and sheep.  I had never been to an animal auction before, and it was rather interesting.     The people that own and run it were very helpful and they even helped me figure out what the goats might go for.  They were even really nice about the fact we couldn’t stay till the end of the auction, they mailed me the check.   I got what I had hoped for on two of them and other goat while not quite what I thought still brought in enough that it was worth the 30 min trip.  I now have three less mouths to feed, one less goat to deal with at milking time and three less goats to untangle.   The kids loved looking at all the animals and maybe one of these day’s, when we have more time I will take them at let them watch the auction.  I will go back there again, and hopefully I will have more than just goat’s to sell, just wish that it was on the weekends.  They sell every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

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