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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Annual honey contest at Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association

Today was the annual honey contest and picnic for our beekeepers' club. I usually love the honey contest but this year my bees didn't make much honey and I didn't have my usual entries.

I usually enter chunk honey and cut comb honey. I didn't get entry quality chunk honey this year. I also didn't get any cut comb honey - boy, am I going to miss it for winter biscuits! I didn't enter in either of those categories.

I did enter light and medium honey, but my honey didn't win anything. The judge said my light honey had foam in the jars. I thought I had checked each and looked again when I got home, but still didn't see the foam that obviously they saw....oh, well, live and learn.

The good news about honey being judged is that you learn a lot about your honey. Our judges always make notes and give them to us. I learned that my honey that I entered was well below the 18% moisture that is required by refractor test. This is great - many people have said that the honey this year is not as viscous as in other years. So this would make one worry that the honey would be too moisture laden.

My medium honey had a moisture content of 17.8 (it was not a prize winner because they said there were smudges on the jars). My light honey had a moisture content of 16.75. Hooray for the bees!

What was really nice is that a lot of different people won this year. The contest wasn't dominated by any one person and that makes everyone feel so good about what they accomplished for the year.

Below is a picture taken from far away of the judges looking at my wax block. In the end I poured the block six times this year. They are Welsh honey judges, which means that they must wear the Welsh judging coat and hat while they are judging a honey show.



And my wax block won a blue ribbon - first place! This is the top of the block.



This is the bottom side of the block (they look at all sides). The judges commented that there were some "scratches" on the top. Actually what was on the top were some swirls from the dishwashing detergent I used to grease the pan. I had polished it with panty hose, but still didn't get it all out.

They also said that they loved how it smelled. This was all wax from this year, melted in my solar wax melter.

This is the third year in a row that I have won first place for my wax block!



I also put the cross stitch below in the "craft" part of the contest. I bought the pattern at a needlework shop in Hiawassee when I was in Young Harris in 2008. I promised myself I'd finish it for the honey contest this year.

This won a blue ribbon as well. The judges made lovely comments on it: "beautifully framed, great work." So I was pleased.



This coming weekend is the Georgia Beekeepers' Association fall meeting (and honey contest). Last year both my honey and my wax block did well there, but I am not going this year. One of my daughters who lives in Atlanta is due to have a baby any day now and I don't want to be out of town for the event, so any honey contest entry for GBA will have to be in 2010.
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7 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the blue ribbon!
    Silly question: How would you increase the moisture content of your honey? Does it have to do with the nature of the honey itself, the processing, or bottling steps?

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  2. You do not want to increase the moisture content of your honey. The bees determine the moisture content and if you only harvest fully capped honey, it should always be under 18% moisture.

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  3. Congratulations! It is always nice to be rewarded for hard work. Good Job.

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  4. Oh, gotcha. I misunderstood. That wax block is gorgeous! Any plans on what to do with it, crafty-wise?

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  5. how do you get your wax so clean??

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  6. I melt it in my solar wax melter (directions on the right side bar) which makes beautiful bright yellow wax. Then when I melt it for a wax block, I filter it through white silk cloth....about lining weight cloth.

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  7. Congratulations Linda! The wax block looks absolutely lovely.

    I tried the solar wax melter this summer - I even put it in the car where it'd be warmer but with our temps not going over 25 Celcius this summer the wax only got warm but wouldn't melt.

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