“Mind your own beeswax!” It’s a saying that takes me back to when I was a kid. Whenever somebody was getting too nosy in your business or gave an opinion you didn’t ask for, you’d kindly reply to them to mind their own beeswax. Many tall tales of the origin of the phrase are out there.
““Beeswax” is an intentional mispronunciation of “business,” probably meant to sound cute and soften the blow of telling someone to buzz off. Google Books first documents it in 1939. A related expression, “That’s none of your beeswax,” shows up in a 1929 children’s book.” (Herman, 2014)
Beeswax has far more uses than just a silly childhood phrase. One often overlooked use is as a lip balm. Just about every gas station and pharmacy store carries some brand or another of lip balm. So, it’s apparent that it aids with chapped lips. What about other uses?
Bees contribute much more than just beeswax. Most notably, honey is an excellent source of flavoring and sweetening. Honey is sold in various ways from raw honey to processed honey. Be careful when at the supermarket or wherever you buy honey. If it’s a processed product, it may contain fillers like high fructose corn syrup or other types of sugars and sweeteners.
In order to get the story about beekeeping and honey production, I wanted to go straight to the source. At the farmer’s market today, I ran into a stand that was selling honey and beeswax, as well as other products. The stand was run by Melody Bee Farms. To better answer my questions, I was advised to contact the owners. The young gal at the stand gave me their business card with their contact information and website.
What to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon? ROAD TRIP!!! The best way to get answers was to go to the farm. Their website indicated the main farm and store weren’t too far away and they were open on Saturday. This reminded me of my foraging excursion a while back, as I had to go down some back country roads to find the farm. It didn’t bother me a bit. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon. We have been very sun deprived in the month of June here in Michigan. It was time to head out with the windows down and good tunes streaming from the speakers.
At the farm, I was greeted by Josh Nobel. Josh and his wife, Melody, own the farm. He seemed to enjoy my questions about the farm and the bees. As Josh gave me the buzz on the bees, he invited me to see more of the farm. Much to my pleasure, I was introduced to these well landscaped gardens full of all types of fruits and vegetables. In the back were large barns for their livestock. With sustainable growing practices, humane livestock practices and non-GMO products, it brought me back to the bees. The bees were the one thing I wanted to see, but I did not see any hives.
I asked Josh about the hives. “Where are the bees?” “They’re not on site,” Josh replied. The bees were kept at multiple other locations, far enough away that they did not interfere with the everyday practices on the farm. Josh was kind enough to take me over to one of the hives. On the way there, he told me there were several types of bees involved with the hives. The Italian Honey Bee(Apis Mellifera Ligustica), the Carniolan Honey Bee(Apis Mellifera Carnica) and the Russian Honey Bee(Apis Mellifera) are the three primary honey bees used for production. Once we were at one of the hives, I had to be careful. I am allergic to bee stings. It was rather warm for the first time in a while. The sun was out. This meant the bees were going to be active. Fortunately, I was able to get close enough to get a couple of pictures. Zoom was a very nice feature in this situation.
My time at the farm had to come to a close. It was time to go home. The sun was still plenty high in the sky. It was time to go use some of that fresh honey to make dinner.
Article: “10 Wacky Whoppers About the Origins of Popular 18th Century Phrases” written by Judith Herman. Posted on April 9, 2014 on www.mentalfloss.com.