In early March, the nights are cold and the days are warmer and sunny. These are the ideal conditions for tapping sugar maple trees. In North America, sugar maples are tapped as far southwest as the State of Missouri, and as far northeast as Nova Scotia.
While larger maple syrup operations use an efficient system of tubes stretching through the forest and draining into one single large collection container, Camphill Village still employs the traditional hands-on approach to tapping our sugar maples.
If you visit us during maple season, you’ll be delighted to see every pathway and patch of forest adorned with glistening aluminum buckets. Each sugar maple on our property receives a drilled hole into which we insert the tap before hanging one of the 13-quart buckets unattended to collect the sap until we return to that tree.
You may think 13 quarts produces a lot of syrup, but that’s not the case. In fact, there’s a 40 to 1 sap to syrup ratio! We’re lucky to be able to boil the hundreds of gallons of sap that we collect in our own sugarhouse.
We load firewood into our cast iron woodstove, and boil the syrup all day until it’s ready to bottle.
So if you’re in the Village in early spring and you catch a glimpse of smoke billowing out of the sugarhouse, stop in for a fresh sample of one of our most celebrated traditions. You can also order some HERE.
Beeswax is a natural wax produced by female honeybees—the workhorses of the colony. They use it to form cells (honeycombs) within the beehive, where their honey is stored. For centuries, beeswax has had various applications through many aspects of human life.
Good for your skin When mixed with other natural ingredients (such as essential oils and honey) beeswax is a great choice for natural cosmetics, especially skin products: moisturizing creams, acne remedies, stretch marks and anti-aging solutions as well as fungal and skin infection treatments. Beeswax has an amazing ability to moisturize the skin, protect against irritants, and repair rough, dry or chapped areas while still allowing the skin to breathe. Beeswax is rich in vitamin A and possesses other soothing properties that soften and re-hydrate the skin, assisting in healthy skin cellular reconstruction. If you suffer from cracked or chapped lips, our Healing Plantlip balmcan provide much-needed relief.
Good for your body Beeswax offers mild anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral characteristics that are not only beneficial for our skin, but for our bodies as well. A study published in the Korean Journal of Internal Medicine found that beeswax alcohols mitigate fatty liver disease and improve cholesterol levels. As a natural remedy, beeswax is used in natural and homeopathic products to assist in relieving pain associated with inflammation. Other remedies include beeswax as an ingredient to treat respiratory-related symptoms like cough.
Good for your Soul For good reason, many of us think of candles when the topic of beeswax arises. Beeswax candles relieve stress and promote relaxation, and unlike synthetic paraffin-derived candles that could be detrimental to your health, our 100% beeswax candles burn brighter and longer while giving off a sweet, warming honey aroma.
Good for daily use Did you know that beeswax has a plenty of other uses around our home life? Let’s look at some of them:
Arts & Crafts - Beeswax is used in the ancient folk art called Batik, a method of fabric dyeing using hot wax and dye. Another traditional folk art is Pysanka, or Ukrainian egg decorating, which uses the same wax-resist method. Pysanka roots from the word “pysaty” which means writing, and indeed, designs are not painted but written with beeswax on the eggs. You can also switch from common paraffin crayons to beeswax crayons, which tend to be sturdier than their soy counterparts.
Food Storage - Did you know that according to National Geographic, 91 percent of plastic is never recycled? Luckily, cotton cloths dipped in beeswax and mixed with natural oils and resin are quickly becoming a natural alternative to plastic wrap for food storage. You can wrap cheese, half a lemon, bread, fruits and vegetables. You can over a bowl or pack a snack for your next adventure. A Vermont-based company called Bees Wrap is making beeswax food wraps that are washable, reusable, and compostable. They provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage that can be used again and again.
Household & Maintenance - one of the main characteristics of Beeswax is its ability to coat, seal and protect. That’s why it can be helpful in the house in so many ways:
A fantastic lubricant for old squeaky furniture joints, sliding glass doors, windows or drawers to restore smooth and quite movement.
Coating nails & screws - once you coat your nails and screws with beeswax, they do not splinter the wood while you hammer them in.
Coating your hand tools, cast iron, shovels (and their handles) with beeswax will keep them from rusting.
Furniture polish—Beeswax is a great furniture polisher. Mix it together with coconut oil and use a clean cloth to rub it onto your wood furniture.
It’s good to keep a small cake of beeswax in your sewing box. waxing the thread before use, makes it easier to thread the needle and will keep the thread from knotting.
Beeswax, in all of its natural versatility, can be purchased in many different places, including many farm markets, homeopathic and health stores, and right here through the Camphill Village Store. Keep some at home. We’re certain you’ll find it useful!
Learn more about the gap year opportunity attracting volunteers from across the globe to a unique community nestled in 600 acres of wood and farmland in upstate New York. Start here.
Pillars burn longer than tapers. Learn how to maintain your pillars to get the most out of your investment. Browse our Pillar Guide for more information
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Camphill Village Store is dedicated to products made by Camphill Village Copake, an integrated community where people with developmental differences are living a life of dignity, equality, and purpose.