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Anne Arundel Beekeepers Association

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The meeting was called to order at 7:04 p.m. by Loyd Luna. Loyd welcomed all beekeepers, new and old alike.
Educational Program:
The program speaker was Gale Farquhar, owner of Burkittsville Beekeeping Company, LLC, who explained to the group the process for making taper beeswax candles and goat's milk soap. Gale's goat's milk soap has won blue ribbons at the Maryland State Fair, The Great Frederick County Fair and the Anne Arundel County Fair. Gale explained that he became interested in making the goat's milk soap because he wanted to find a soap that would heal and nourish the skin.
Gale explained the process for making beeswax taper candles:
Beeswax is melted in a stainless steel container which sits in a water bath (of hot water). Beeswax melts at 143 degrees to 147 degrees.
A thick wick is tied to a holder. Gale gets some supplies from Spirit Crafts in California. The vat of water should get to be approx. 180 to 190 degrees. The optimal temperature for the beeswax for dipping is 165 to 168 degrees. Dip and coat the hanger holding the wicks. Dip quickly so the bottoms of the candles do not melt. Let dry 5 minutes before dipping quickly again. It will take approx. 32 to 36 dips to get a thick taper candle. Let candles cure (harden) for approx. 1 month. Some candle makers add bayberry wax for Christmas scented candles. Gale cautioned that an open flame should never be used. Gale sells his candles for $8.00 retail.
Gale then described the process for making goat's milk soap. Gale's goat's milk soap is very gentle on the skin and the soaps make wonderful gifts. He recommended that coconut oil not be used because it can crack the skin. Gale uses a double boiler - always use stainless steel, not aluminum, since aluminum exposed to lye will create hydrogen gas which can be fatal.
Use thick rubber gloves. Put a large stainless steel pot on the stove and melt beeswax. Gale uses 4 to 6 ounces of beeswax. Make sure you measure the ingredients by weight, not volume. Add oils and butters (according to the exact recipe you find). Take a stick blender and mix all ingredients. (Be careful of wood floors - soap will take the finish off a wood floor). Let these ingredients cool. Prepare molds that are lined with freezer paper (Gale recommends Maplewood molds).
In a second stainless steel pot take frozen goat's milk that is in cube sizes and begin to melt it. It will eventually get slushy. When the first pot of hot oils reaches 135 degrees, you will take the lye you are using and pour 1/3 of the lye into the slushy goat's milk. Stir gently. Add another 1/3 of the lye and stir. You don't want the goat's milk to burn. The other pot of oil/soap mix should now be about 120 degrees. The basic idea is that the pot with the oils/soap mix is cooling and the pot of goat's milk and lye is rising in temperature. Pour the goat's milk into the soap/oil pot, stir gently. This is the suponification process. Be sure that soap doesn't collect on the sides of the pot. Consistency of the mix should be like watery pudding. When you run an implement over the top of the mix and get a "trace" of that implement, then you will add other ingredients including honey, oatmeal (and fragrance if you would like). Mix it up. Take a large stainless steel scoop and scrape the mix into the mold. Smooth the top. Keep stirring the mixture so it doesn't harden. Clean up all tools and shower off in order to remove any flecks of lye. Let the soap sit in the molds for 24 hours, then lift the soap out and cut into bars. Cure soap for 2 months. Each of Gale's soaps retails for $5.00/bar. Gale emphasized that having a good formula is essential in order to ensure the correct ratio of lye to other ingredients. (Please note that these directions are general instructions and that a specific recipe and instructions should be used).
Following the educational program, there was a short business meeting:
The June minutes were approved without changes.
Doris Luna reported that the AABA currently had a bank balance of $1645.34. Doris stated that expense money would be needed for the State Fair exhibit.
Loyd thanked Donna McCoy for handling the extractor rental. Donna has moved to Mississippi. Chrissy Perry will be in charge of renting out the extractor. Her phone number is 410-849-2726 and e-mail is . Rental is $25 and if you return it clean, you will get back $15
The State Fair is August 27th to September 6th. All slots have been filled and all volunteers should have received their State Fair admission tickets by now. The theme for the display this year is "The Future Rides on the Wings of the Honeybee".
The Anne Arundel County Fair still has three vacancies for:
Friday, September 17th 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, September 18th 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Saturday, September 18th 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (as of posting of these minutes, there is only one open slot - September 18th 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
If you can assist in the honey/beekeeping area at the county fair, please contact Loyd. Entry tickets were given out by Loyd. If a member was not able to attend the meeting, the tickets will be mailed to that member. Honey entries are needed for the state and county fair.
Short course fliers have been prepared. The course will begin March 15, 2011.
The dates for next year's meetings will be held the 3rd Tuesday of the month in February, April, June and August. Please mark your calendars. All meetings will be held at Arlington Echo.
Dave Crump proposes the group places a group queen order in order to save on shipping costs. If you are interested in ordering queens, please contact Dave at 410-923-3538 or
Ned Wall reviewed the results of the survey which was recently distributed to all members of AABA. There were approximately 40 responses. Based on the results there appears to be an interest in the following:
- emphasizing a social component to the association where members can meet one another and discuss beekeeping. Loyd suggested we schedule a potluck dinner in October and there appeared to be an interest in doing this. Loyd will ask Joe Brotherton about possible space at Sunrise Farm. Doris and Loyd have a community building for gatherings, but there is a fee. Loyd will check into this possibility and scheduling a potluck dinner sometime after October 15th, possibly a Saturday evening.
- Programs for next year. If anyone is interested in a particular topic, please contact Bart Smith
- Mentoring: There seemed to be an interest in having mentors for new beekeepers. Steve Hanlon volunteered to compile a list of mentors for new beekeepers to contact. Please contact Steve
if you are interested in mentoring or having a mentor (410-987-5480 or
- Loyd indicated there would be another board meeting in the near future so the board could review the survey results.
Please remember safety in the apiary - always wear protective clothing and use a smoker! Please remember to register your bees with the Maryland Department of Agriculture!
The 2 door prizes were won by Frank Sullivan who won a bar of Gale's goat's milk soap and Kathleen Grant, who won a double screen board.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. (Meeting minutes prepared by Lindsay Barranco, AABA Secretary)