Wednesday

{ Fair Share Honey's Perspective on the Flow Hive }

alOha Friends : )

   We've been hearing a lot about the "Flow Hive" over the past week or two, and people want to know what we think. 

   We were considering just saying, "Anything that gets more people interested in bees and beekeeping is good by me" but then we kept thinking .. and here's our thoughts. 

   The short answer is .. we're not into it.

   But here's more ..

    

    As with most of their marketing, it's all about the honey .. I'm seeing kids carrying gallons of honey, and big bottles being drained from small hives. It feels a little like a gold rush, enticing people's greed and amplifying excitement through their lack of knowledge. Because when it comes down to it .. if you're going to leave any honey for the bees and the bee babies, you don't get nearly what they're showing.  


   This pic shows a 5 gallon pail coming out of a two stack hive ?? A thick hose tapped into every frame : ( Looks a little Orwellian to me. The box below the one that's being drained  is called the brood box, "brood" is babies .. hungry babies, nurse bees, workers & the Queen.

   First of all, you can't get 5 gals out of a single box - that's just marketing -  and secondly, if you did drain it ... what would the colony eat downstairs ??

    This product seems, to us, unnecessary, misleading, more disruptive, and especially dangerous in the way that it's telling New-bees that hives need no care, and that like a soda fountain, you can just turn on the tap whenever you want.

   This is not the way we should be selling people on beekeeping. I'm seeing a lot of people spending a lot of money only to have their hives starve, swarm away, or be taken over by moths or beetles or mites while the lazy beekeepers twiddle their thumbs and waits for the flow.

    There are many potential problems and heartaches when it comes to keeping bees .. but harvesting honey is not one of them. 




   Here's the pitch video for anyone who hasn't seen it. The whole premiss of the product is that we don't have to open the hive and "stress the bees" but then they claim to have a symbiotic relationship with the bees ... how do you do that without opening the hive? 

   Any good beekeeper's going to open the hive, and maybe with this gadget you don't have to open the hive on that one occasion to harvest the honey, but this process causes a lot of destruction and chaos in the hive, and it's only easier for the beekeeper, not the bees. For somebody who truly cares about the bees and wants to treat them well ... you'd be better off doing it the old fashion way and putting in the time to do it right.

  _____________


   The flow hive claims not to disturb the bees, but the way it's designed, when you turn the crank, it actually breaks apart thousands of artificial cells in odd places inside each comb, and then the bees have to clean up the mess and sew the whole thing back together. (If you're confused about this, watch the pitch video up there and skip to 2:11. There you'll see how the inseam breaks, and these are constantly re-broken during harvest ..)

   When you harvest traditionally, only the caps are shaved off the comb and then they're spun in an extractor. When the comb goes back in, the walls are all fully in tacked, and the comb only has to be filled and capped, not laboriously sewn back together like the flow design. Which seems more disturbing to you? This thing's being sold like it's better for the bees, and that's just not true ..     

   With a first-year hive,  in these days of drought, your biggest issue will most likely be How to keep your bees alive when they're running out of food, not how easily to take their food away. We live in the desert, and nearly All of our first-year hives ran out of food, and we had to find the healthiest way to get them through the winter and keep them from dying or swarming. (We used organic evaporated cane juice rather than the less-than-food-grade corn syrup which was suggested to us.) So how much worse would this have been  if we had this honey on tap, and just cranked the lever every time we saw comb filling?

   If and when you take honey from the hive is a thing that should be done with love and care .. not through the drive through window. You have to go in the hive, and the bees are surprisingly mellow about it.

    Here's a video of a Huge 5-year-old bee colony that we removed from a barn wall before the owner sprayed them, and you can see the neighborhood kids, without suits or veils, eating honey from the comb and playing around. These are wild bees who aren't farmiliar with the hand of man. Do they seem disturbed? And this is with us cutting the whole hive up and moving it around. So how disturbing do you think it is come harvest time for beekeepers to just slide a few frames out and brush them off?

   As long as the bees have enough food, they don't fret too much on sharing ... but this invention seems to advocate taking without first looking in to see they have the stores to spare. Seems a little grabby to me ..  .



    **** Skip to 8:35 to see into the hive : )   

      So in my eyes, this doesn't seem to save the bees any heartache, if anything it just facilitates lazy, greedy beekeeping. 

    For people who don't know much about beekeeping, staying out of the hive all together is a bad idea. You need to peek in there to make sure they still have a Queen, that she's laying well,  to check for mites (and treat naturally if so ... garlic powder is a good way) also, wax moths can destroy a hive, and when we have the pleasure to go looking around in our hives, we know just were to look for moth cocoons (normally in the grooves under the frames) and we pull those little intruders out of there with a flick of the hive tool.

   Staying out of the hive is neglect, period. And ... besides the benefit to the bees, looking around the hive and seeing the Queen laying, the nurse bees feeding and the new-bees chewing their way out and emerging from the capped cells is a kind of bliss and meditation for us. We loVe gently moving through the frames and seeing into their world, and if you're keeping bees, you should too.

    Another thing that jumped out at me the moment I saw the design, was that you don't want to harvest a frame of honey unless the bees have capped all the cells. The way honey works is that the bees move the flower nectar into the cells and then certain bees have the job of fanning the nectar (which is more watery than honey). This pulls the moisture out, and when the nectar is thick and dry and now technically honey, the bees will cap the cells for storage. With the flow design, all you can see is a tiny portion of the frame edge, but you don't know if there is still uncapped nectar farther down the frame. If you just tap the honey and too much nectar (watery nectar) mixes in, you can have problems with mold forming in your honey. Their drying process is very important, and they monitor it to a fine calculation, and we'd never harvest honey without first seeing that it's true blue honey, and you can't do that without popping in for a friendly visit.

   Honey harvest is fun if you've had a good year and built a strong hive! Have you ever seen somebody slide that hot knife through honey comb and watch the golden goodness flow out? It's as satisfying as popping bubble wrap ... why would you want to rob yourself of that experience? 

   A novice beekeeper (which is the only kind I'd see wanting this product) should want to cut that wax .. or crush and strain that comb. It's your big payout and prize for raising healthy bees and having a good year. A big beekeeper would never use this ... they're methods cut and spin combs by the hundreds. It's barbaric the way the big guys do it .. but they do it fast and cheap, and I just don't see them sitting there watching a trickle run out ..




   I had to laugh a little when they started talking about all the "back breaking" labor involved in honey processing. It's the same way all those infomercials start, "Are you tired of breaking your back to open that jelly jar???" ... insert the house wife, all red and perspired and hair frazzled like she's been mauled by a bear, and she's nodding her head to this disembodied voice, "Er Herrr !!" But real beekeepers know better.

   The media men always invent a problem and then claim to fix it. Going into the hive is not a problem, it's the solution to problems. And now that you know you have to go in anyway, pulling a couple of frames of honey is not a big deal .. and it's exciting : ) But if you do what this product suggests, your bees will most likely be battling something inside the hive while you're out there drizzling their honey on your pancakes. You need to go into the hive for many reasons, and a big one it to make sure that there's enough food before you start collecting rent.

   Anyone who's ever had honey out around beehives ... or even left a can of pop out at the end of the season when the bees need food, will know that bees will team on that sweetness. I'm at a loss to know how you could have thirty thousand bees in the hive and have a jar of honey trickling out back, and they don't seem to notice. Honey harvesting should always be done off-site. It's our shared don't ask don't tell with the bees. We sneak the honey away and process it back home, but the bees don't want to see it going on right there under their sweet little feelers.   

   A couple side notes that will probably seem finicky to people who don't keep bees - bees don't like plastic. If you give them empty frames where they can build their own comb and also frames with plastic foundation, they'll always leave the plastic for absolute last. They'll build everywhere else before they touch that plastic. 

   We let our bees build their comb how they'd like, and some bees will build smaller comb (depending on their breed) and some will build larger .. or mix it up in a way that we can't pretend to understand. Plastic doesn't give them this choice. We bought a hive from a swam guy down south, and he had a sheet of plastic foundation starter in there, and the bees actually hung a new sheet of 100% wax comb out in front of the plastic so they didn't have to touch it. They know what they like, and they don't like plastic ... if you give them no other choice, they'll build off it, but they might also be making plans to move out.

   Bees are very smart ... they talk through pheromones, communicate through dance (in the dark), and they will notice that something is wrong with this strange comb and that the honey is slowly disappearing  from within. This is going to stress the bees for a longer period of time rather than if you just snuck the frames away and replaced them with empties. I'm thinking they'll figure out that something is wrong with this comb and stop using it. The product only works if and when the bees go in and seal up the slots in the plastic comb where they're broken during harvest, and I just don't see them doing that over and over. Einstein's definition of stupidity is .. doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Bees will only put honey in those magic combs so many times, only to find them broken and empty and in need of repair, before they say F this man .. Bees are not dumb. And this is a lot of work/ stress for the bees to do over and over.

   Another note on plastic. The bees keep the hive at around 95 degrees, even in the winter, and with those observation windows it's going to get even hotter in there ... do you really want your honey cooking in that hot plastic? Even if the jokers at the FDA declares some type of plastic food grade, it's still made from petroleum which is toxic. 

   I don't know if the guys mention this, but the only way to make sure that those fancy frames have only honey and no bee larva inside, is to segregate the box with a queen excluder so she can't get up there and lay (a queen excluder is a sheet of metal grating that's too small for the larger queen to fit through.) This upsets her because she feels like she can't move around her own hive and lay where she wants .... (we give our queens free reign of the whole hive) And one of the main reasons for bees to swarm away (which is a thing that the queen suggests to the colony) is when she feels like she's running out of room to lay. So this product, and the segregation that is needed for its function, will up the chances that your bees will move out on you ...   

   Sorry to rain on anybody's parade .. I love innovation, but this product feels a lot like telling people they can keep chickens down in their kitchen cabinets to enjoy Fresh Eggs.

   People need to be informed and loving if they're going to raise any kind of creature .. and the marketing here talks nothing about being a good beekeeper and everything about taking away. 

   In the beginning of the season last year we only took a small sampling of honey from our biggest hive, but we had a happy time caring for them and learning more about these fascinating creatures. 

   We won't be using the Drain Hive in our apiaries ...

loVe,
p&j 

{Pollen Arts}  &  {Fair Share Honey} 





my queen bee working with her colonies : )














  

Friday

{ 33% OFF 2nd's SALE !! }

  alOha Friends ; )


Time for another 2nd's Sale !! 
 All pieces are 33% off ... 


***** * Please copy and paste -- The Names & Prices -- of any requests in an email to pollenarts (at) gmail.com & let us know the State we'll bee shipping to and a good email to send your paypal request to ; ) 


   If you live out of the country - please let us know - for shipping costs ; ) 


   None of the candles are dented or broken .. near perfect, but we just don't want to throw anymore of our best 2nd's back in the melter ... hundreds have gone in there already ; (  

   We have eccentrically high standards for what we send to collectors or stores ... so .. we're doing this little trunk show ; ) 


NOTE *** Seeing as though these are from many different wax batches over the months, the golden shade will vary a little from candle to candle - from light yellow to rich caramel - they're all beautiful though ; )


  Now's the time to save some cash and get some awesome candles !! 

 loVe, 
 p&j 

*****Everyone who comes to our studio and looks through our seconds always says, "WHY are these seconds !!??" They're practically perfect - and burn bee-autifuly !! *****



******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Here are some examples of some of the very --worst-- 2nd's .. most aren't even this bad, we just wanted to show the extreme. Most times it's just a few bubbles - not even breaking the surface ; ) 



  The owl itself comes out perfect most times .. but we've gone through spans where we were plagued with these tiny bubbles - lot's of owls - whoot ; )



Most times the bubbles on the key are on an edge. 



And a few have these micro-bubbles ...

Ready ... GO !!





Copy name and price of each candle you'd like, and let us know how may of each : )



We have a select few Collections up for grabs
and we'll start with those:  

 

-- KEY COMBO --
$16.50


Sale Price - $16.50 from $25 

Qt - 2

 Md. Key Candle - Details: Size - 4 5/8 T x 1 5/8 W

.. and the mini key is 1 inch wide X 3 inches tall


    Romeo & Juliet - Poison -and- Holy Water




Sale Price - $37.60 -  from -  $57 

Qt - 1

RIBBED POISON
circa - 1800's
Size - Lrg - 6 3/4" T x 2 1/4" W

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOLY WATER
circa - early 1900's
Size - Lrg - 5 1/8" T x 2 1/4" W






        --------------------------------SMALL--------------------------------




-- DIAMOND INKWELL -
$6



Sale Price - $ 6 from $10  

Qt - 7

Size Sm - 2 T x 2 W

circa - late 1800's

Bottle Reads: "DIAMOND" "1 1/2 OZ" "INK CO." 

   This is our newest inkwell. Most times inkwells don't have text, and to actually have the word "ink" is very charming !! LOve the multi-teared neck, and boxy frame ; )  







-- Mini FLORIDA WATER --
SM - $6



Sale Price - $6  from $10 

Qt. 1
 
Size Sm - 5 5/8 T x 1 3/8



circa - 1890

Great Western Style Text Reads:
     
                    FLORIDA WATER
                    MURRAY & LANDMAN
                    DRUGGISTS
                    NEW-YORK





-- FRENCH CAFÉ --
Md. $10




Sale Price - $10 from $15 

Qt - 4

Size Md - 4 3/4 T x 1 3/8
   
   Like a zipper running down the front of this sleek French bottle, split measurements descend from head to toe. On one side, small embossed numbers roll out from “1 to 15” next to the Text – “CUILLEREES A CAFÉ” and on the other side, “15 – 75”  stand out beside the French spelling “GRAMMES”. Sweet little bottle with a perfect burn ; ) 





-- Md. POISON -- 
Md. $13




Sale Price - $13 from $20

Qt - 3 

Size Md. - 2 3/8 W 4 5/8 T

circa - 1900

   This bottle o' poison was buried underground for over 100 years. The ribs on the front and sides of this bottle served as a warning for anyone who may have mistakenly grabbed it in a dark cabinet. Having an oblong shape, this little bottle burns in the most interesting way - leaving behind the tall, ribbed shoulders and hollowing out through the center in a fishbone pattern. 


 -- HORSERADISH --
Md. $13.50




Sale Price -  $13.50 from $20
Qt - 1  

 This is our new curvy Horse Radish Jar ; ) 

Front: "Horseradish" in banner & "And Vinegar" "Portland" below.

Back: "Williams" in banner & "Seattle" below

We love it's funky shape, cap, and it will be a great, low maintenance burn ; )

Size: 2 W X 2 3/4 T




-- GREENFIELD DAIRY ½ PINT --
Md. $16.50 


Price - $16.50 from $25 

Qt. 2

Size Md – 5 1/8 T x 2 1/4


circa - 1940

   We’ve had pints and quarts in our line before, but we’ve been holding out for the right ½ pints. This stout bottle comes with a long burn and lots of charm. The two round crests on this bottle are iconic of its time period.

Bottle Reads – “HALF PINT LIQUID. GREENFIELD DAIRY. REGITERED COMPANY.” 

And above in a smaller seal, “MASS. SEAL”.


--  DAIRY ½ PINT --
Md. $ 16.50




Sale Price - $16.50 from $25

Qt - 5

Size Md - 5 1/8 T x 2 1/4 W

circa - 1940

   Another great ½ pint ; ) Equal in shape and size as the Greenfield Dairy (above)  but with a little more simplistic image. With embossed pinstripes running down from the neck, and plenty of text on the backside, this is a great looking little milk bottle. 

Back reads - "UNIVERSAL STORE BOTTLE. HALF PINT LIQUID." 



The milk men ; )





--------------------------------LARGE-------------------------------





-- ATLAS MASON - 
Lg. $18




Sale Price - $18 from $27

Qt - 6

Size - 3 3/8 T x 2 3/4 W


circa - 1930

   This is a beautiful stout pillar molded from an old canning jar. The screw top lid has lots of character and is iconic of this style of depression-era masons. This candle is an amazing burn, and if burned correctly, will hollow out and leave behind the shell of the jar, which can be used as a 100% organic herb planter pot!






--DREY MASON -- 
Lg. $18




Sale Price - $18 from $27

Qt - 8

Size - 3 T x 3 1/2 W

circa - 1920's

   Our little Atlas Mason has long since been a best seller of ours, we've scoured for other 1/2 pint Masons and finally found this little beauty !! The text is flowing, and the features of the cap are pronounced and iconic. This candle burns so effortlessly with no drips and leaves behind a fun little container which can bee used as a tea light holder or small pot for herbs or planted flowers !!  

Bottle reads: "DREY" "PERFECT MASON"




-- HOLY WATER --
Lg. $ 18 






Sale Price - $18  from $27 

Qt - 6

Size Md - 5 1/8 T x 2 1/4 W


circa - late 1800's

   This antique holy water bottle features a large cross hovering above a bowl and bordered by a fleur design. It has a great flared neck and wide mouth and makes for a beautiful burn. This bottle was used by the priest for home visits to deliver blessings or to exorcize bad spirits.






-- ACME SODA WATER -- 
Lg. $20 


(front) 



("blob top" neck) 





(back logo) 


Sale Price - $20 from $30 

Qt - 5

Size - 6 1/4 T x 2 1/4


circa - 1880

   This is an amazing piece - and one of our oldest bottles - dating back to 1880. The glass on this bottle is thick and heavy - much like the candle we built from it. The bold embossed text stands out perfectly on the front as well as the interwoven logo on the back, "A, W, S, Co.". The “blob top” neck and lip is classic to it’s time period. This will be a good, long burner, and watching the text glow once the bottle hollows out will animate this piece to a whole new level.








-- SODA POP --  
Lg. $ 20







Sale Price - $20 from $30 

Qt - 2

Size Lg - 8 1/4 T x 2 1/8 W


circa - 1950 

   Besides the “NOTHERN BOTTLING CO.” text circling the bottom of this bottle, this piece speaks volumes through its iconic features. With rims and ridges, crosshatching and curves, this POP bottle has classic 50’s style. Watching the texture and features melt and transform as the flame works through its shape is a pleasure not to be missed. 





--  4oz HONEY  & 1 lb. HONEY -- 
$10 & $23.50






4oz Honey (right)

Sale Price - $10 from $15

Qt - 3

________________


Lg 1 lb. Honey - (left)

Sale Price - $23.50 from $35

Qt - 3



   With the exact shape and design as our smaller 4oz honey, this 1 Lb. Honey is four times larger. This large square beauty features the text, “4 OUNCES PURE HONEY”, and it has an image of a beehive between two trees with four little stars dancing overhead. What better bottle to pour from beeswax

 

-- ROOT MASON -- 
Lg. $23





Sale Price  $23.50 from $35 

Qt -3

Size:  5 T x 3 W


circa - 1930

  This is a beautiful large pillar built from a standard pint sized mason jar. The old light-bulb style screw cap dates it back to the depression era and comes out perfect in the wax. The scribed text stands out nicely, and with it's wide shape, it can be burned for long periods at a time.


 
 




-- GERMAN WINE --
Lg. $23.50
 

 

Sale Price - $23.50 from $35

Qt -1
Size: Lg - 5 1/4 T x 3 1/4 W



   This bottle was originally cast in pewter, and the detail is amazing .. standing in bold relief you can see the trees and flowers and farm house, etc. There's a large section of old Germanic text that reads something to affect, (from the man to the woman) My cup is empty and my purse is limp, and your eyes have done me in ... " 
  loVe!
 
(this is a wide candle .. best to burn for long sessions .. 5-7 hrs or so) 





-- PROSPECT BREW --
Lg. $23.50



Sale Price - $23.50 from $35

Qt - 1

Size: Lg. 7 1/2 T x 2 3/4 W

 "The Prospect Brewing Co." 

This is another big boy - bold text, blob top ; )









-----------------------X-LARGE ---------------------- 



-- ATLAS XL --
XL $37


---> The big one on the left : )

Sale Price - $37 from $55

Qt -4

Size - XL - 6 3/4 T  x  3 3/4 W
  
Text reads in Big Bold letters: 'ATLAS STRONG SHOULDER MASON'

We absolutely loVe this big beauty ; )
The pint size Atlas Mason has been one of our best selling and best burning candles and we are excited to offer this big and beautiful version ; ) 





-- CHESTNUT FARMS DAIRY -- 
XXL $40 





Sale Price - $40 from $60 

Qt - 1

Size XXL - 9 T x 3 1/2 W


circa - 1940

   Ding-Dong, it’s the milk man! This is by far our biggest bottle, weighing over two pounds. This will burn for a long, long time, and as with most of our larger candles, this piece will burn and melt away from the center and leave a thin facade of the outer rim as the inside hollows out.

   The embossed text and imagery on this bottle is remarkable. It’s ribbed all the way from the lip down and displays great character on both sides. It’s a perfect table piece because people on both sides of the table will have a great view.

Front side reads: "CHESTNUT FARMS DAIRY - WASHINGTON D.C."

Front Imagery:


  Bordered inside the classic prize-ribbon shape w/ two flowing tails, you’ll see an image of a large textured tree with a little farmhouse under one side and a grazing cow under the other, and right in the bottom center there are two chestnuts still connected to a few leaves.

Backside reads: "ONE QUART - CHESTNUT - FARMS - DAIRY"

Some of the glass text is roughed up from the many trips through the dairy machinery as these bottles were refilled time after time.




-- TREE OF LIFE --
XXL $40 



Sale Price - $40 from $60

Qt - 5


Size XXL - 7 3/4 tall
                    3 1/2 wide at top
                    2 5/8 wide at bottom

This is a Huge candle with 200 + hours burn time.

   From it's gorgeous oblong shape, to the embossed text and large Tree image, everything about this bottle is AMAZING. If only we could magically refill this beeswax bottle with an herbal "Tree of Life Elixir" !!!

   Definitely hundreds of wonderful hours of enjoyment ; ) Watching the flicker of the flame glow behind the Tree is mesmerizing. The branches and leaves almost dance for you as they appear to burn. Truly resplendent!

   Front reads: "Straubmullers ELIXIR. TREE OF LIFE since 1880"

   Back reads: "NECTAR OF THE GOLDEN LIFE OF HEALTH AND VITALITY"








-- CALDWELL'S RUM -- 
XXL $40 



**** THIS ONE IS A LIGHTER YELLOW/ BLONDE WAX ; )


Sale Price - $40 from $60 

Qt - 2

Size XXL -  10 3/8 T -  3 3/4 W  

Circa - 194o's

   Another amazing Rum bottle! With a unique shape, stylistic lip, and some of the best embossed imagery we've ever seen, this old booze bottle has an edge. As with our other quart sized candles, this one will burn for 100's of hours, and leave behind a great shell of the main body ; ) 




Sale Price  - $40 from $60

Qt - 1

Size XXL - 8 3/4 T x 4" W  

Circa - 1941

   This is our first historic alcohol bottle. It's a Full Quart, same as our XL Dairy and Coffee Mason. The finely embossed text reads: "FELTON'S. NEW ENGLAND RUM. SINCE 1819." And above that, you'll find a warning reading: "FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS SALE OR REUSE OF THIS BOTTLE." 



New England Back Reads: "ONE QUART." 

This is a thick, heavy bottle and perfect for long and luxurious burning ; )





--OLD JUDGE COFFE Full-Quart Mason--
XXL. $40




Sale Price  - $40 from $60 

Qt - 1 

Size XL. - 9 T x 3 1/2 W

circa - 1930's 

   This is by far our largest mason. At around three full pounds of wax, this full-quart Coffee Mason towers above the pint and 1/2 pints. The harlequin pattern is very charming, and in a center crest, stands a wise old owl on a branch with the text "OLD JUDGE" (top) "COFFEE" (bottom). This candles makes for hundreds of carefree burning as the flame tunnels through its body and emits the soft sent of honey and nectar and flower pollen ; )










... that's all folks  : )