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Building an orchard takes time. So, you can imagine how excited I was to receive a catalogue this week on various fruit trees and shrubs.

Two words: Catalogue Devoured.

This lovely piece of reading material resulted in an order for fruit trees – two plums and two crab-apples. As we increase the size of the apiary, we also expand the orchard, so I do not doubt that the bees will love them just as much as we do.

Now if I can just avoid the Vessey’s Flower Catalogue. 🙂

 

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It’s a sunny day here in New Brunswick, so I couldn’t help but to peek in on the bees, plus take the dog for a walk.

Though the hives are quiet, there’s the odd bee stepping out as she house cleans. It must be a nice change in temperature for them compared to the frigid numbers we had just last week.

I know it is for me!

 

 

Food and Community Connectivity

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I watch patterns.

One in particular that I have paid keen attention to, over the last ten years, is the evolution of the food grower and its effects on the community.

And it has been an interesting one.

People are more aware of their food through the help of social media – and who can exclude the support of local growers from chefs such as Michael Smith, Guy Rawlings, and Jamie Oliver? They have contributed to bringing awareness to eating and living well and as a result support local food producers from either a market, CSA box, community garden, local grocery store or their next door neighbor.

They’ve encouraged people to get back to the basics – and as a result, have filled another void in our world – relationship connectivity.

It’s a shift that our communities have been needing.

This getting back to our roots reminds me of the small town gardens that many people had back in the 1950s, they kept their yearly supply for themselves, and the extra was sold or traded for other products of value. A backyard contained a garden, berries, flowers, and some fruit trees.

Absolutely brilliant concept – but it was bigger than just food.

I recall stories of how my great-grandfather would graft fruit trees for more variety, sharing his knowledge with those around him. How Mrs. Greenthumb always had cabbages to share, or how the young people would pick and sell berries to the women too busy to pick for themselves. And this created a friendly culture which in turn created life-long relationships.

We lost that as we evolved in our world.

But, it’s coming back – but with a modern twist.

I suspect that the continued interest in buying local is more than about food – it’s about strengthening our communities. Social groups were initially how we kept in touch with people within our hamlets, towns, cities or villages, and as many of these groups struggled to evolve in our technology driven age, people sought another way to meet this basic need in humans – food.

What has filtered out in social groups has now returned with the common interest of what is served on our kitchen tables.

We have reconnected with one another.

And small to medium farm business have sprouted from these changes.

It will be interesting to see what the next ten years bring to our communities. I hope it will be the start of meaningful relationships and more local and delicious food for our tables.

As I wrote this article, I just noticed a lady advertising a potluck get together which was open to the community – the perfect example of gathering around food to refuel the community spirit.

The Bee, by Dr. John Evans

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“But now, when noontide Sirius glares on high, With him young love ascends the glowing sky. From vein to vein swift shoots prolific fire, And thrills each insect fibril with desire. Thence, Nature, to fulfil thy prime decree, Wheels round in wanton rings the courtier bee ; Now shyly distant, now with bolder air. He woos and wins the all-complying fair ; Through fields of ether, veiled in vapoury gloom, They seek with amorous haste the nuptial room, As erst the immortal pair on Ida’s height Wreathed round their noon of joy ambrosial night.

But mark, of regal port and awful mien, Where moves with measured jjace the insect queen ! Twelve chosen guards, with slow and solemn gait, Bend at her nod, and round her person wait. Not eastern despots, of their splendour vain, Can boast, in all their pomp, a brighter train Of fear-bound satraps ; not in bonds of love Can loyal Britons more obedient move.

But now, when April smiles through many a tear, And the bright Bull receives the rolling year. Another tribe, to different fates assigned, In ampler cells their giant limbs confined, Burst through the yielding wax, ^tA wheel around On heavier wing, and hum a deeper sound. No sharpened sting they boast ; yet, buzzing loud. Before the hive, in threatening circles, crowd The unwieldy drones. Their short proboscis sips No luscious nectar from the wild thyme’s lips ; 20 THE BEE AS AN INSECT. [Ch. i. From the lime’s leaf no amber drops they steal, Nor bear their grooveless thighs the foodful meal : On others’ toils, in pampered leisure, thrive The lazy fathers of the industrious hive. Yet oft, we ‘re told, these seeming idlers share The pleasing duties of parental calre, With fond attention guard each genial cell, And watch the embryo, bursting from its shell.”

 

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Why did you want to raise bees?
Aside from the fact that they are so darn fascinating? Then it would be safe to say that it is because they pollinate our crops, give us honey, and are an important part of the eco-system.

What have you learned in beekeeping?

That we are on their time.  Bees expect Zen behaviour around their hives, or else they give you the hairy eyeball as a warning to smarten up. So, it’s been a way for us to stop and smell the flowers – so to speak.

What do you like best about beekeeping?

Our bee suits. Joking aside, a great bee suit, like the Ultra Breeze Suits, protects you against newbie mistakes that will lead to stings. It builds your confidence, thus increases your enjoyment, while working with these fascinating creatures.

What is an interesting fact about beekeeping?

The fact that the colonies are run by the females – and these hives are a smooth running operation.

What do you think contributes to the success of a beekeeper?

Reading and experiencing everything that you can regarding bees and what’s happening in the industry.