Can you find the queen?
Rooftop tree swarm
In January I attended the screening of the documentary, "Queen of the Sun" in Charlottesville. Gunther Hauk, biodynamic beekeeper, lecturer, and teacher is featured in this beautiful depictive documentary. He recently moved with his wife Vivian to Floyd Virginia. "Queen of the Sun" is filled with inquiry and healthy solutions for the decline of the bees. It made my heart sing to witness so many people tending to the bees with deep mindfulness. I took Gunther's "biodynamic" beekeeping class last weekend. Gunther Hauk has 36 years of beekeeping under his belt. He is passionate about sustaining the future of the bees. I welcome his approach and look forward to learning more from him. How fortunate we are to have him in Virginia! Queen of the Sun will be released this summer, it's a must see.
Honey bees are terribly wise, we have a lot to learn from them. With the recent awareness about how the bees play a crucial part in a healthy ecosystem, lots of folks are taking up backyard beekeeping. Wouldn't it be nice if we stopped trucking these sensitive super organisms from the midwest to Fresno to pollinate almond trees in the dead of winter? Just like confined poultry and meat growing the bees are at the mercy of our actions to control their production. This long trip is terribly stressful for them. I look forward to the day Fresno and other states start to foster there own "local" healthy bee production.
Last year I had the privilege of catching several swarms. The pulse of a spring swarm of bees is a sight to see and feel. I found one in our neighbors oak tree. It took a few days to get them into my bee box. Now I'm hooked! Pest control companies in California do not want to kill the honey bees with pesticides, at least not where I was living. They too have become concerned about their decline. Thus, I put my name on local pest control rosters and I received at least 2 calls a week for swarm removals. Being a new beekeeper it was a super quick learning curve. I look forward to catching my first swarm this year in Virginia. I have purchased incredible local honey and eat it daily. Hot water with cinnamon and honey instead of tea is one of my simple favorites and it's great for respiratory ailments. I use honey for cuts and wounds, bee stings, sunburn, facial masks and as a sugar substitute. Honey has an outrageous healing quality and it's local! Honey truly is the nectar of the gods.
On the farm front! I caught a few of our girls in their dirt baths sharing afternoon gossip. This was their last day in their winter hoop house, as they are making their way to fresh pasture behind the cows in their egg mobiles. Big transition for them. Watching them clean their feathers while lounging in the sawdust in the warm sunlight gives me a warm tender feeling. When our animals are happy, we are happy!