Friday, November 20, 2009

Magical, Mystical Bees: Friendly Haven Rise Farm: Jacqueline

One thing, I would love to do is add a hive or two to our yard to support our honeybees (and to have some of our own raw honey. YUM!) When I saw a documentry on PBS about CCD, I realized that our food supply could be in trouble if our honeybees disappear. A huge part of our food is dependent upon pollunation by bees..fruit, vegetables...are all bee dependent. Bees are not just important for honey!

1 in 3 U.S. Bees Died This Winter (May 2009)
That's good news, in terms of colony collapse disorder -- but still very bad news for beekeepers. Also see our DIY backyard beekeeping guide.Read more:
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) or sometimes honey bee depopulation syndrome (HBDS)[1] is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.[2] Colony collapse is economically significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees.

A couple of years ago, I attended a Beekeeping class at this farm:

Jacqueline was an amazing teacher. I still feel refreshed when I think about the hours I spent on her farm that day and what I learned. She is a bee rescuer. She will get a call that a swarm has been located in someone's barn, or inside of someone's wall, and she will capture and relocate the swarm and create a new hive/home for it.
I believe she takes a bio-dynamic approach to farming. (something I would like to learn more about!)
Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms,[1] emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil, plants, animals as a self-nourishing system without external inputs[2] insofar as this is possible given the loss of nutrients due to the export of food.[3]
Regarded by some as the first modern ecological farming system,[4] biodynamic farming has much in common with other organic approaches, such as emphasizing the use of manures and composts and excluding of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include the use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar.[5] Biodynamics originated out of the work of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the spiritual philosophy anthroposophy.

Jacqueline takes an approach that is very different from commercial beekeeping. Did you know that most commercial hives do not contain a true queen, but a "weaker" substitute queen that is only supposed to function for about a year until a true queen is born, but subs are continued to be used, to keep the hive from swarming away? These subs, will never be strong like the true queens..never meant to be the queen for long, etc.... Did you know that queens are marked with a dot-from a permanent marker so that commercial beekeepers can keep track of the queen. I could go on and on about why bees could be disappearing..pesticides, monoculture crops, commercial-large scale practices, etc.."Every colony has a queen, and what we’re finding is that those queens are dying. And if a colony is unable to successfully replace them, or if the beekeeper is unable to identify that there’s a problem with the queen and buy a new queen to replace her, the colony dies.
Also, we’re finding that beekeepers tend to have better success keeping their colonies alive by keeping colonies as healthy as possible and by aggressively treating disease and keeping colonies well nourished."
It is a very interesting topic to me.. One I hope to learn more about at some point. To me, bees seem magical/mystical. I highly recommend reading The Secret Life of Bees
There are so many aspects to bees, that are truly amazing. How they set up their community, their hive, their social order, even how their little bodies work, how they pollunate...
Amazing how important one of God's small little creatures is! How easy it is to forget...


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