Crimes of Opportunity

Back when we lived in Roostertown, our neighbors were frequently burglarized, probably because they were asking for it.*

Invariably, the po-po local constabulary would show up and lecture everyone within hearing range about “crimes of opportunity,” which was a concept I could never wrap my mind around. Not because I would never steal anything. Far from it. Rather, if I did, I would do so intentionally — and, God willing, in the form of an elaborate heist. (Seriously. I’ve got, like, three items, total, on my bucket list and that is one of them.**)

Also, who walks past a window and says, “Wow, I’ve never thought it about before, but I really like that brass votive holder shaped like Ganesh.* I think I’ll break into that random person’s apartment and steal it.”?

But now that we’ve got bees, I completely understand the impulse. We didn’t open up the hive to extract frames, we opened it up to check up on the general health of the colony and, in the process, switch the positions of our hive bodies.

However, once we were rummaging around in there, I noticed something: one of the deep frames that we usually just ignore (on the assumption that it’s going to get filled with brood) was completely full of capped honey. And since it’s been pretty mild, with a fair numbers of trees and flowers in bloom, we decided that the bees would probably rather have the extra space than the honey. And so we swiped the honey-filled frame…or rather, swapped it for an empty one.

At least, that’s what we told ourselves. What really happened was that our pathetically primitive primate brains went “OOH! SWEET GOLDEN GOO!!!” and then prompted us to rob the hive.

Yep, crime of opportunity. And here’s the loot:

"capped deep frame"

As you can see, we’ve attached the frame to our top oven rack — mostly so that we could stick it in the cold oven and keep it safe from our pets. Here’s another shot of our impromptu honeycomb hideout:

"in the oven"

We scraped off the wax caps and hung the frame over one of those disposable roasting pans from Food Lion, to catch the honey as it dripped from the comb. I’ll say now that our original intent was to leave the comb intact but empty and later return it to the bees.

That was our plan, but then My Fella decided that the honey wasn’t flowing fast enough. “Guess what?” he said, after banging around in the kitchen for a bit. “I’ve discovered that I can set the oven temperature below the number printed on the dial!”

Which may well be the case, except that this sub-setting is still higher than the melting temperature for beeswax. As we found out the hard way:

"like something out of Mordor"

I’m thrilled to post this picture, because while I was setting up the shot, I was laughing so hard that I nearly wet myself. I wish you all the same amount of sheer mirth and merriment.

Anyway, once all the honey and wax comb had fallen from the frame and into the pan, we applied the potato masher. Like so:

"honey goo"

Here’s a close-up shot, of unfiltered molten honey goo:

"honey melt"

We had to get the wax out, so I purchased a box of nylon knee-highs from CVS — because they are the BEST strainer. Also, the cheapest.

"stocking strainer"

We applied the pantyhose to this mason jar, which is another of those statistically improbable phrases that this blog seems to inspire with some regularity:

"jar"

And then came the fun part — the STRETCH!

"honey extraction"

Impressive, no? And here’s the result of the STRETCH…

"blob"

…a ball of wax encased in a stocking, and a jar slowly filling with honey.

"cave wax"

I’ll leave you with a picture of Jar No. 2, which resembles a stalactite  — or perhaps a lingam, which is basically a stalactite that gets worshipped because it look’s like some deity’s wang. I think that might be a direct quote from one of the residents of Roostertown. See? Full circle.

And that’s honey extraction on a shoestring.

*They really were, for various reasons, and I sincerely hope that the culprits were the preteen Burmese BMX bandits that used to hang out on the footpath that divided the two apartment complexes, because some people deserve to have their car windows smashed by about five or six of Justin Bieber’s Karen doppelgangers.

**I’ve got a sign-up sheet, actually. Y’know, if anybody’s interested.
***or whatever. When you live with a bunch of freegan faux hippies and perma-students who rely solely on the parental ATM for all their living expenses, yet refuse to pay ANY rent unless the money comes from either the cover charges for their $#!++y bands’ barroom concerts or from some form of social justice work (and by the way, there is NO money in music OR social justice), you start to notice that they almost all have an affinity for a.) cultural appropriation at its most oblivious and tawdry, b.) self-centered interpretations of blenderized, highly diluted doses of world religions, and c.) crap they find on the curb or while dumpster-diving. Anyway, my point being, people like that own tacky junk like that.
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8 thoughts on “Crimes of Opportunity

  1. amenitya says:

    You CRACK me up. I’m addicted to your blog.

  2. Graydon Speace says:

    Gill,

    Want to collaborate on some design/branding for your honey. I need more cool stuff for my portfolio.

    Sincerely, Graydon

    • Sure! That would be really awesome! We’ve only got a couple of jars at the moment, since this was mostly an experiment (to see if we could successfully extract honey from a frame), but our bees seem really busy, so hopefully we’ll have more later this year!

  3. I had never thought of the panty hose! Can you use them for making cheese (er, did I just write that?)

    • You did just write that. And I suspect that they’d work for cheesemaking, too, although I’ve never personally tried.

      • Fella says:

        I’ve always used handkerchiefs or sackcloth for cheese. I think nylon would work if you could get it in giant sheets, but hose has the problem of not being able to shape into the mold. Then there’s the problem of getting the pressed cheese out….

  4. Libby says:

    Thanks for sharing–it was fun to see photos of actual honey-extracting in process!

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