Our friend and fellow beekeeper Eugene offered to teach us how to wire wax foundation into beehive frames. Despite the fact that it was 33C/90F yesterday with a humidex over 40C/104F (freakish for June!) we headed over to Eugene's Man-cave for a lesson.
Now, what is wrong with this picture?
Man at work. Man. As in ONE man!
Eugene is a great teacher. He is, among other things, the cheesemaker at Upper Canada Village and is used to tourists photographing him incessantly, although yesterday he finally got fed up and told me to put my camera away. I refused! When I get feisty like that, Eugene starts lecturing Gordon about keeping me under control. When I told Eu that Gordon was making dinner yesterday, he was crestfallen. HAHAHAHA!
Back to beeswax. Before putting the wax foundation in a new frame, you need to string and tighten two horizontal wires. This helps keep the foundation from buckling or becoming otherwise misshapen. You "burn" the wires in with a little zap from a battery charger.
Gordon took a stab at this, but manual coordination is not his strong point, so he returned to his newspaper-reading. I gave it a whirl and took to it immediately. It reminded me of the jewellery-making I did many moons ago, working with wire and pliers.
No way would I let go of the wire!
My favourite part: zapping the wire with electricity. Eugene twice scared the crap out of my by making a very loud noise just as I touched the clamps to the wire. One day he's going to be performing CPR on me if he keeps that up!
Once the foundation is wired into the frame, you can put it into a hive box, and the honeybees will draw the wax out into the cells you know as honeycomb.
As for Eugene, he does allow females into his Man-cave, but I think there's some secrecy oath you're supposed to swear when you leave. I guess I just broke that by putting photos on my blog. But he'll never ban ME because he knows I'm his reliable slave labour. I load and unload firewood from pick-up trucks, babysit boiling sap, stoke fires with holey firegloves, and otherwise do whatever Eugene tells me to!
For some reason, he almost never puts GORDON to work...