a sticky housewarming

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Oh boy have we had some real adventures getting these bees cozy here on the homefront…

Our buzzing nuke arrive Saturday afternoon, with some 60 other nukes of Canadian, naturally raised honeybees from about 3 hours west of us. The beekeeper delivered them in person and was on hand to answer questions and tell us all about his gentle approach to raising and breeding honeybees. We then took in a couple demonstrations of how to install the nukes into their new home. The nuke’s are actually 4 frames of brood (baby’s and larva), capped honey, nectar, pollen, bees and a queen of course. All of this is settled onto small traditional rectangle frames… which to be installed into a top bar hive, need to be (somewhat brutally) chopped and strung into position to accommodate their new sacred geometry housing.

This process was actually painfully traumatizing for us newbie beekeepers, as we had to literally chop cells of larva and babies in half, all the while new baby bee’s were being born on the frame! I understand that this is far more horrific for us humans than for the bees.

Our first task was opening the box and seeking out our queen, frame by frame. We found her pretty quickly, then moved onto the sticky job I described above, and finally moved the little colony into their stunning new top bar hive. We made a batch of energy boosting “bee tea” with dandelion petals, thyme, nettles and organic cane sugar, and started observing in awe.

Fascinating! What lovely creatures honeybee’s are.

We had our first swarm scare (like new parents) we have been hyper aware of what is normal, and what is alarming, and twice now we have found a buzzing crazy entrance way to the hive. Soon after, we realized (with the help of google) that this was not pre-swarm activity, and thankfully our bee’s were not rejecting their new home… rather it was baby bee flight school! OMG, imagine dozens and dozens of tiny new bee’s taking their maiden flight, all the while working bee’s are coming and going, bringing in huge bulging leg-fulls of bright yellow pollen!

Our garden is even more alive with this ever present group of gentle and beautiful pollinators! It’s hard to keep out of the hive, they are so engrossing. Isis and I have fallen so hard for these bees, I can’t believe it took me so long to make this move.

Anyone considering beekeeping I would strongly recommend exploring top bar hives and holistic bee guardianship. What a rewarding partner in diversity and food security bees are.

Here are a few lovely places on the web to explore: thequeenbeeproject backyardbees backyardhive biobees

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honey-bee-busy

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We are all pretty excited about the 20 000 sum new girls we are going to have a round here!

Our nuc of honeybees arrives on Sunday, sourced from a holistic bee keeper in Vernon, this Canadian born Queen and her entourage will be nice and cozy in the lux top bar hive Dyl has been building them. Isis and I have been taking in as much bee education and hands on opportunities to learn as we can, and with the support of 3 of our local girl friends who are all taking on bee’s this year too… I think we are going to make a great home for our team of pollinators!

Isis was so busy yesterday broadcasting flower seeds (following again the bio-dynamic calender) all over the place! It’s too bad our bees have already missed all the cherry, plum, apple, and all the other fruit tree blossoms and we had to pinch all the blueberry flowers… but there will be so many more blossom to come!

… Just a short and sweet update, more to follow.

blueberry luv’n

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Way back in January we ordered 20 blueberries from our local perennial nursery Against the Wind. This week Jordan and Isis planted them with such love and attention that we just had to share this loving process with you all. I can’t help but feel these bushes have the best possible chance at rooting in successfully, and enjoying their life here at Tricycle Acres…

We decided to plant the bushes 4 feet apart on the bias (in a triangle grid) which we do a lot around here, maximizing space. The blueberries were co-planted with a row of strawberries which I am hopeful will produce fruit for us this year as they are hearty and mature so… fingers crossed we will have our own bounty this time round. Here is how these bushes were welcomed to our garden:

First they dug a nice deep hole, at the base of which they placed a fist size rock. Why a rock you say? Well after Jordan spent 2 weeks at the clear sky meditation center planting an intensive cold climate food forest, learning from Richard Walker, he came back with more than one juicy planting tip. The rock for example is more conductive than soil alone and is able to pick up the earths current ever so slightly. Over 25 years trialing this method Richard has found that plants with a rock at the base of the root ball has proven to be more fruitful than those without the bonus conductor!

Next a slurry of peat moss and bone and blood meal was made and poured into the hole with the plant. Then came a layer of premium worm castings (which our very own DIRT BAG: aka Jordan) has begun selling and brewing as his off farm funding venture; more about that soon. The plants then got a layer of garden soil, and a nice serving of our own fungal dominated compost, and then another layer of soil. Then a nice firm pack and a little hand formed crater was deeply watered and top dressed with a thick layer of straw mulch.  Jordan then gave all the plants a boost with his “Better Soil Biology Extract” which consisted of worm castings and two types of our finished composts. The whole patch got a serpentine of soaker hose and a deep rooting growth blessing.

Oh, and we pinched off all the flowers, so that this year the plants energy will go into making roots rather than fruit 😦 I know sad right, but here’s hoping next year will be a blueberry flush… especially with our buzzing honey bees to pollinate them next year… who will be arriving here on Sunday, all 20 000 of them!

epic rocket cob oven workshop

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This next workshop is going be be AMAZING:

JUNE 1 + 2 (weekend) here in Winlaw at tricycle acres :

2 days, 2 rocket stoves, 1 cob oven, 1  cob bench and a ton of foot stomping cob dancing!

First off, are you wondering what is a rocket stove?
A super efficient cooking stove fed with small diameter wood fuel that is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber with an insulated vertical chimney to ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. In short: Less Wood,Less Smoke, More Heat! We have always wanted to build a rocket stove, and when Bryce one of our instructors suggested we look into rocket ovens, we were over the moon! Same stunning cob oven we have been longing for, but with faster heating, less scorching and more happy living trees for the same wood fire oven dinning experience… YES PLEASE!

In this 2 day hands on workshop you will learn from three of our valleys own cob experts; Peggy Frith, Bryce Ehrecke, & Kelly Brown! They will share with us the artful cob dance and the joy of natural building techniques. Over the weekend we will be busy building: a traditional Quebec Style Earthen Oven (with a rocket twist) & a large cob bench with glass bottle details & 2 small rockets stoves.

A couple weeks after the workshop (when the oven is all dry) we will host a pizza party so that everyone can enjoy some rocket oven baked pie while relaxing on the cob bench in our abundant permaculture garden!

Cost is $80 for both days of instruction. Please bring a lunch and be ready to get MUDDY!

All of the great photos in this slideshow come from Kelly Brown our newest local cob teacher and fabulous photographer! Thanks Kelly for the great pictures to get us all in the mood for getting dirty next month.

REGISTER NOW, there is only room for a handful of folks for this epic rocket cob weekend!