Wiring Frames at YCBA meeting.

Posted in Bee Tools, Bees, Things to do in Winter on December 14th, 2010

Two Ends of a Frame

The York County Club was lucky to have Karen Thurlow speak about wiring frames for foundation. I’ve included a portion of the club minutes  about her talk.

Place extra horizontal wires on a frame helps to add support to the wax comb.  This is important for frames which are going to be placed in extractors or when wax foundation is used in extremely hot temperatures. For deep frames which are going to be extracted Karen recommends using 4 wires, for brood frames 2 are enough. Medium or shallow frames use 2 wires.

First, you need to place grommets into the pin holes. These holes typically are used for pins if you don’t use wire.  She recommends hammering them with a punch to ensure they stay in place. You then place two small nails on the side of the frame close to the grommet holes. Use the same nails used to hold the wedge in place.  You feed the wire into the frame and wrap the end around nail. Pull the wire tight until you can pick it and the tone sounds like a D  sharp (or just finger tight).  You then wrap it around the second nail. Cut the extra wire off and pound the nail into the frame. Make sure it is flush. Once you place the wax into the frame, use a crimping tool and press the wire into the wax. You do not need to use wire heaters. They tend cause the wire to melt through the wax. The best way to add wires quickly to frames is with a wire jig. Karen is planning on selling them in her store.

Karen also advised against using fishing line. It will stretch too much over time and won’t hold up as well as wire. The wire is sold by most bee supply companies and appears to be Tin #28 wire.


Honey in Breads

Posted in Things to do in Winter on December 13th, 2010

I have taken to using honey is a lot of recipes. I find it makes a good substitute for molasses in breads. It gives the bread a slightly sweet and a light color. Perfect for toasting. The recipe I like the most is Oatmeal bread. However for breakfast some Challah French Toast with fresh fruit and honey can’t be beat.

Vanilla Beans

Posted in Things to do in Winter on December 9th, 2010

Sugar and Bottle
With temperatures hitting the low 20’s the bees are tightly clustered and doing their best to keep warm. My way to stay warm is to turn on the oven and fill the house with the smell of baking goodies. This year I have discovered something which have greatly enhanced my baking, vanilla beans.

My local grocery store had a fancy spice bottle with one sad looking vanilla bean inside. They were asking roughly a week’s pay. I figured there had to be a cheaper way, so I turned to online shopping. I was very skeptical at first about purchasing beans online, however I decided to risk $20 for a quarter pound of Prime Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. Amazon has lots of different sellers for Vanilla Beans , so search around for the best deal. When they arrived I cut open the package and was greeted with an unfamiliar but pleasant smell. The beans do not smell like a scented candle but have a much more complex smell and flavor. I saved a few to make ice cream and split the rest in half.

The first batch I used to made vanilla sugar. You simply cut the beans in quarters and put them into some sugar. After a day or two the sugar starts to smell wonderful. I found it added a nice flavor to coffee without any artificial “flavors”. It adds a nice touch to cookies. Fresh sugar can be added as you use the vanilla sugar.

With the second batch I made a batch of vanilla extract. I slit the bean up and then placed them into a small Vodka bottle. Every few days I would shake it and watch the seeds swirl around. Now two months later, I have a wonderful smelling and tasting bottle of vanilla extract. I use it right out of the bottle and the tiny speaks of seeds don’t seem to change the recipes at all.

Both these products would be wonderful for homemade gifts for any bored snowbound beekeeper.