Thursday, June 09, 2011

Entering the Man-cave

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...


  1. I've told you before, I want Eugene for a neighbour. Actually I think I have probably been one of those people at UCV who pestered him with incessant questions. Taught in Iroquois today and was thinking on my drive that it is about time for our annual UCV visit.

    I always just strung the wires, but never zapped them. As I recall I did one on one side and two on the other, and it just kind of held together until the bees did their magic.

  2. Gordon is obviously only good for reading the paper, whereas you're indispensable!

  3. Musical Gardener, Eugene is a great friend/neighbour to have around! And he's used to people pestering him with questions at UCV. I think he secretly likes it. :) We have to get out there this month too. This weekend is the Medieval Festival thing but I can't go because of Art Fayre.

    I don't think you have to zap the wires. Some people use a little rotary tool to push the wire in. It is a neat trick using the battery, though!

  4. LBM, I like your way of thinking! (And he's also good for making me tea!)

  5. You must be pretty special to have gained not only access but working permission into Eugene's Man Cave. As for Gordon...I guess with a woman on the premises, the presence of two men are necessary to retain the Man Cave title (even if no worthwhile contribution is made LOL)

  6. Paula, GOrdon was my guardian in the Man-cave. Hahahaha!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!