This is What Security Looks Like

by ziggy on September 9, 2013 -- 6 comments -- Follow

Homemade Beeswax Candles

Our very freshly made 100% beeswax candles

Security is… a freshly made batch of beeswax candles. Their smell is intoxicating, and they provide beautiful light for us year-round. We have been making them for about five years now, and 3 days of candlemaking work a year is all it takes to provide light for the other 362 days. Not bad.

We use way fewer in high summer, when the days are long, and when we can cook without them, but in winter, we use significantly more because it’s dark by 5:00 p.m. We also use more when we have guests, because they create such a great mood, ya know?

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  • Scott

    I was given a few a couple years ago, and to me, they smell like honey on warm, fresh bread…absolutely great.
    One thing I’ve wondered about is how do you cool a house without electricity? I’ve seen solar a chimney(on an outhouse), but they really don’t move much air. For me, cooling/ventilation is almost more important than heating. I would think the need to move air as necessary to keep mold/mildew/general funkiness down when it’s hot and humid out.

  • Tracy

    Scott,

    I’m no expert on these matters, but I have been reading about cob houses and building small cob projects for several months. From what I have read, cooling in a cob home isn’t too difficult because of the thermal mass of the walls. Basically, the walls absorb the heat energy and slowly release it back out, as the atmosphere and temperatures change around it. This is why earthen materials are so popular in desert areas.
    The cob also helps to regulate the air quality and control humidity. Cob homes are considered very healthy in terms of air quality for these reasons. The walls absorb the humidity when necessary. To me, cob houses are almost alive in a sense. They are a clean, natural, completely capable of running on renewable energies, organism that maintains itself and provides shelter and comfort to us. Can’t wait to get started on my home.

    Tracy

  • Scott

    Hi, Tracy
    I’ve never been in a cob house-or seen one, for that matter. I’d like to see one sometime. I thought adobe was popular in desert areas just because it was the material available. I wonder what would happen to a cob house after a steady rain of four days? I would think the ability to move air-regardless of how you do it-would be at least helpful. I take it cob is a good insulator. One benefit of not depending on electricity is that a storm doesn’t “paralyze” your house!
    Living in Ziggy and April’s house during a ice storm-the biggest danger would be slipping and busting your butt-no freezing pipes, falling power lines, or need to drag out the gas generator ($30 day in gas, plus it’s noisy). Or trying to drive a Chevette on ice (interesting). Personally, I think it’s coll Ziggy and April are keeping this technology alive and promoting it-and making it work in their own lives(the best demonstation you can have).

  • wallum

    Hi
    They look like beautiful candles, and I know they’d smell wonderful….it almost makes want to get some beehives, so I can make my own.
    Did you make them from wax from your own hives? I’d love to know how many hives one would need in order to produce enough candles each year.
    I use beeswax (bought from elsewhere) mixed with short fibres (e.g. chopped up jute twine) as a sealant for small holes in pots and things. It works really well. I also use it to coat cotton cloth to use instead of plastic to wrap my food in.
    Seriously considering getting bees though.

  • Scott: Cob is a terrible insulator. In fact, it shouldn’t be considered “insulation” at all. It is purely massive, so its properties are totally different. I’ve written about cob and cold climates before, but it’s interesting to talk about cob & heat, too, since cold is only half of the climate equation in a temperate location.

    It seems as though cob fairs well in the heat here, on average. That is not to say it is always cool, however. Every house (at Dancing Rabbit) without active cooling, no matter how it is built, seems to get hot and uncomfortable after 3-4 days of 95+ degree weather. Ventilation is key for us, since we don’t use electricity — being able to bring in the cool air at night is essential. Our new straw bale home has excellent airflow, and cools down rather well.

    This might have to be another blog post, because I might end up jumping all over the place here…

    wallum: We’ve kept bees before (somewhat unsuccessfully), but this wax comes local a local apiary. We buy big 10, 20+ lb. chunks of it at a time. I wish I could answer how many hives you’d need to be able to make all of your own candles, but my guess is…. quite a few. More than a couple, for sure.

  • Scott

    I think I’m mixing cob and straw bale houses up-maybe it’s the straw bales that are good insulators-it would seem so. Cob is sort of a natural-materials concrete, then-just mass to absorb/radiate heat. Humans have done without forced-air ventilation for a long time, I realize, but for me I would almost need some moving air-even if it’s a bank of used computer fans running off a solar panel and battery. Moving the cooler night air in would have to help.
    There are Stirling motor fans that use a variety of fuels, but they’re not cheap. I’m not sure if you could get one designed for solid fuel like bees wax or not.
    One of these days, I’d like to see a cob and strawbale house.

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