This is a story Una Morera wrote about her recent trip to Mexico, difficult decisions and her encounters with honeybees and humans in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. Enjoy! Claire
At times we are asked to reflect about the qualities we like about ourselves. We come up with list in our head, we look in the mirror at ourselves, we contemplate on our meditation cushions, or we discover it in a meaningful conversation with someone we barely know or someone we know really well. One of qualities I really like about myself is my ability to love and care for honeybees. It’s a deep concern and profound love I have for these amazing insects. I am always in awe when I meet others who share this love, or at the very least, this respect. Currently, my boyfriend and I are the proud guardians of two top bar hives. These hives not only provide us with honey but also relaxation, curiosity and the kind of pride that happens when you know you are doing something right. We both feel that it’s improper to try and make money from the honey or even mess with the honeybee’s way of life. We take a truly hands-off approach. Continue reading
Check out our 2012 Colorado beekeeping classes at BackYardHive.com
Corwin and I went down to Carbondale and Paonia a few weekends ago to teach a few beginning and then intermediate beekeeping classes down there. It was so awesome to see how excited everyone is about honeybees! By the end of each class, almost everyone wanted to build or buy a hive and start an adventure into beeguardianship. It was so much fun to hear different people’s stories as they came over to chat during breaks asking all sorts of different questions about bees.
During the last couple days of their trip, Karen and Corwin visited the tulip fields and flower festival in Holland. From what they said, It sounds like that while it was incredibly awe-inspiring and beautiful to see the fields and fields of colorful flowers, it also seemed rather put-on and artificial… miles and miles of human made monoculture that requires so much attention, fiddling not to mention all of the chemicals used just to keep these flowers looking good for the eyes of tourist to enjoy. It sounds to me like a balancing act on a rickety slope. Continue reading
Next installment of the Finland trip:
The following day we drove 4 hours northeast to Ari’s house. Ari and his wife are large-scale “hobby” beekeepers. They manage over 400 hives. Hummm what a hobby! The night we got to Ari’s house we stayed up late listening to stories from Ari about past 25 years of his career as a “friend to the bees”. Not only does Ari manage 400 plus hives he also is the Bee Advisor in Finland. He is the guy to all if you have a bee question about your Finnish bees. Continue reading
This is something Karen wrote about Corwin and her adventures with the black bees of Finland:
The Quest for the Black Bees
(Written By Karen Sendenwater)
Cody Oreck from the US Embassy in Finland set us up with the Bee Adviser to Finland, Ari Seppala. While telling us about beekeepers in the arctic circle, Ari also mentioned that Finland had black bees. BLack bees, we had heard so little about black bees. Why were the so important in Finland? Finland beekeepers use black bees because of their ability to survive the very cold and long winters there. Black bee colonies brood up slower and more cautiously then other colonies and they are able to keep a small brood nest going into winter helping the colony survive. Continue reading
The next morning after the presentation, Corwin and Karen visited the guerilla gardeners and permaculture group in Helsinki who have raised bed gardens near the railroad tracks in the center of Helsinki. Karen and Corwin talked to them about working with bees and figuring out a good location to put their top bar hives for pollination in this very urban setting. It sounds like this group of young people is super enthusiastic and excited to start a few hives this year!! With the average age of beekeepers in Finland being 60, this new generation of bee guardians is really inspiring and energizing the local community of gardeners, farmers and beekeepers alike.
Later that afternoon, Corwin and Karen were chaperoned in black embassy suburban to the University of Helsinki where Corwin gave a 2 hour presentation about beekeeping in urban areas. Continue reading