Monday, January 30, 2012

BLOG GIVEAWAY: BEESWAX CANDLE

When I took my beekeeping course two years ago there were a few beekeepers on hand to show us treasures from the hive. One man and his young daughter had a tiny beehive candle that I fell in love with. I asked if they sold the mold, which they did not, but they said I could purchase one from a bee supply company and make my own once my bees started giving me some wax to use.

Well, I've waited ever so patiently for my honeybees to create a surplus of honey and beeswax for me to take but we've gone another year without any extras. Am I sad? Not really. Our bees know what they are doing and why they do it so I just have to make do with other people's extras :D

The other day I drove over to Natures Nectar, our honeybee supplier, and picked up 4.5 lbs of beeswax to make candles with. There is nothing better than beeswax straight from the hive, except, of course, HONEY! Beeswax from a local beekeeper is the best! I have to keep my kids from pawing all over it, wanting just one last sniff because it smells so amazing!

Here is our lovely slab of beeswax:



But... beeswax in slab form doesn't do me any good when I'm about to make candles so I had to break it into chunks.



Once the beeswax was cut up I had to get my mold ready. I purchased this cute little beehive mold from Mann Lake, the same company we buy most of our bee equipment from.



I heated up the wonderful beeswax in a double boiler.



Poured them into molds.



and what did I produce?



The cutest little beehive candle ever :D

Now for the giveaway. I've not been the best "blog giveaway" person but all of that is about to change. I'd like to start 2012 off right by sending one of these cute candles to someone in the blogosphere to say THANK YOU for reading my blog. The only thing you have to do to qualify is post in the comment section on why the survival of the honeybee is important to you.

The winner will be determined by random number generator (online) and announced on this blog February 10 :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

TEACHABLE MOMENTS

Today while driving in the car with my children one of my daughters asked me if she could purchase a song from Rihanna when we returned home (iTunes). For those of you who don't know who Rihanna is, here is a little info on her: famous singer gets beat up by boyfriend, doesn't really want to end the relationship even after her battered face is plastered all over every media outlet. She ends the relationship basically to save her career but now, apparently, has been seeing the abusive boyfriend in secret, doing some kind of code talk over twitter. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Ok, mind you, this is all gossip that my morning news outlet HLN likes to share (not news but we all know today's journalism is yesterdays garbage). Anyhow, when my daughter asked about buying the song, although it isn't R rated, I told her she was never allowed to buy music from that singer again and I was asked why. My response?

It is a matter of principle.


Of course, my daughter is a 6th grader, not quite sure what principles are yet. So I asked her... does she believe a man should hit a woman (or vice versa). Of course, her response was no. I asked her if she thought it was strange that although Chris Brown beat up Rihanna he's still doing well in the music industry, she thought it was weird. So I told her what I believe to be true; Rihanna is a role model to a number of young girls whether she likes it or not, if she doesn't want to be a role model than she shouldn't be an industry that demands it of her. I explained that as a role model a lot of young people without guidance will emulate the choices a celebrity makes and if Rihanna chooses to forgive a man for beating her she was setting a bad example. My daughter asked "why should we care about her personal life, we just like her music." I pointed out to her that it isn't really her personal life I care about but more the fact that I don't want my dollars going to a woman who sets a bad example for young minds. Why should my money help create a lavish lifestyle for someone who is a poison to society. Which lead me to the Kardashians and a slew of other oddities in Hollyweird. The light bulb went off and my daughter understood.

I was impressed that my daughter understood so quickly the meaning of having principles. What I question now is, will she live accordingly.

So many people today, young and old, refuse to live by their principles. When I tell people that we don't like zoo's they tend to understand why. In fact, most people I talk to will agree zoo's are barbaric and criminal but yet they still visit them. Any time I ask why they still frequent the zoo the most common response is "it goes against my principles but I really like that my kids can see the animals up close."

I've had a whole slew of experiences like that. Everyone claims to have principles but they always find reasons to go against them.
Why is that? I believe that a lot of individuals, mainly Gen Y & X, have NO PRINCIPLES at all.

What happened the the late 60's early 70's anti war activists? What happened to the late 90's animal rights & climate change activists? Sure, some still exist but how many people who refused to use products tested on animals are now using Loreal, Clinique, or Lancome? How many people who claimed to believe in man's large contribution to global warming frequently use private jets or live in 20,000 square foot mansions?

It almost seems as if being apart of pop culture or should I say "modern" American culture one must profess to have principles but have a list of reasons for going against them.

I don't want my children to be one of those people.

Friday, January 27, 2012

HANDMADE SOAP GIVEAWAY!!!



My friend Teresa over at Raising Our Own...kids & food is having an awesome blog giveaway. Don't miss out! Teresa will be sharing some of her sisters amazing handmade soaps with fellow bloggers so make sure you follow the link above to get all the details and enter for a chance to win.

This giveaway is for residents of Canada & the U.S.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CAPITALISM: MODERN DAY SLAVERY?

While doing some reading on capitalism recently I happened to come across another writing blog titled "Forbidden Heights." I don't know much about the author of this blog other than I think his name is Frank but I do know I enjoy the articles he has shared and I can identify with his purpose for writing. I think this article in particular is worth sharing:

VAMPIRE CAPITALISM: ENSLAVED BY AN ILLUSION

(Click the Title to Read the Entire Article)

There are many other ways in which vampire capitalism can draw the lifeblood of the masses. It can take control of all resources or means of production in a particular channel and even create an entire industry - often at a cheap "introductory rate" - to attract people away from other competitors or less-offensive, community-oriented systems. The Monsanto Company, as an example, has been the subject of much controversy in the agricultural world. Over time, vampire capitalism can systematically strip away options making it exceedingly difficult for the individual to avoid participation in an enslaving paradigm. How many of us in the United States for example can simply forgo having a car, and all of the mandatory, associated costs including insurance, gas, maintenance, registration, etc, in order to carry on with daily life? Any person or entity trying to circumvent the channels of vampire capitalism through self-reliance or creativity is either cast out, crushed through economic, political or legal means, or simply bought out of the way. From local farmers to grocery stores to hardware stores to independent bookstores and movie theaters, many have gone out of business or have been bought out by the heavyweight competition in the industry. A drive today through any average American city or suburb will take us past a repeating, nondescript landscape filled with strip malls proudly beaming neon signs of chain restaurants, department stores and supermarkets, all owned by large corporations eager to maximize their profits. And while they may advertise a million products tailored to one's "unique lifestyle" and needs and tastes, it is not too difficult to be overshadowed by a feeling of sameness.

Thank you Frank at Forbidden Heights for allowing me to share a piece of your article on my blog.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

WHAT IS FRACKING?

I thought this video by EARTH JUSTICE was a great way of explaining FRACKING. If you are interested in what the debate is all about, please watch the short youtube clip.

Monday, January 2, 2012

ACCEPTABLE LEVELS?



Thanks to Maryam Henein, director of Vanishing of the Bees, for sharing the link to this video on twitter.