Archives for posts with tag: bees

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Ah, the long stretches of yellow fields that have come to seem normal in springtime in the British countryside.  When I posted this picture on Instagram, I got lots of likes that I sensed might be approving of beauty, and an idea of pastoral, productive bloom.  Me, I see monoculture and pesticides and the economic restructuring of landscape and our relationship to it. I think about the battles between farmers (as represented by the NFU) and environmentalists about many issues, and neonicotinoids in particular, and just how complicated everything is.

To be fair, I also see Oil Seed Rape (OSR) for Rapeseed Oil as a rural, agricultural industry that has marketed its product very appealingly as local, gourmet, and of a terroir– as British “olive oil” in a foodscape in which most dietary fats are problematic in some (social, environmental, nutritional) way, and in which “British” and “local” represent virtues. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m not a keeper of bees (though maybe someday would like to be).  It requires so much attention and knowledge. Especially in this time of colony collapse, it’s a sacred task you need to do with all your heart and mind.  A wonderful friend of mine who has tended for years to bee-hives remarked that now it’s a kind of scientific job, whereas in the past it was “wild-crafting.”

But I’ve been peripherally following the phenomenon Flow™ Hive, and feeling the enthusiasm and relating to the critiques alike.  Flow™ Hive offers a plastic comb that can be turned from outside a box for the easy release of honey in a manner that does not seem to upset the bees.

Reading this article this morning — “Don’t Go With the Flow™, Go With the Wax” — however, my enthusiasm has vanished. This to me so far has been the most compelling argument against Flow™ Hive, something about the objectification of the comb– so many lessons I’ve learned from Feminist critiques of body representation should have alerted me to this as an ecological issue.

“One must realize that a hive and its honeybee population is essentially a superorganism, and that the wax comb that the bees build via extrusions from their body isn’t simply a widget that can be nonchalantly replaced, but is rather an essential part of the wholeness of the hive.”

This is just a quick post. Wanted to share this article.  Read it.

and PS: My friend Sarah Nelson at Killer Pickles has written a multi-part article on the state of bees in the US, not just honeybees but native bees as well.  May I recommend it? She’s very smart indeed.  Here’s Part 1, and you can follow from there.

24 April 2015  Just read the following from Permaculture Magazine, a very balanced approach that places Flow Hive within conventional beekeeping, and objects to it only insomuch as he objects to conventional bee-keeping.

Red Apples

Coming home to a gift from my friend Hannah.

Love how she used the litter tray that was floating around for a container. I truly love this. I love resourcefulness. We have no cats right now, and we’ve been using this to sift big bits out of our composted leaf mould into the raised beds.

These are my favourite shoes.

Apples are really plentiful this year, the wet spring, the warm summer. Last year, there were very few. I feel strongly the vagaries of unpredictable extreme weather, records broken constantly in all ways, up, down, wetter, wettest, dryer, driest, strange and ever stranger. A positive mental consequence is that I no longer take anything for granted, and have a much keener sense of gratitude.

Last year, I could imagine that maybe someday apples would be scarce. And maybe they will be, because pollinating bees are in such terrible jeopardy. This year though, there are so many apples around, in shops, on trees everywhere– and more “eating” apples, though I’d come to think of “cooking” apples as those simply less ripe or sweet, having had less time in warm sunshine to become…. so immediately edible. I feel a reprieve, though maybe it’s false– the day apples end is pushed further forward. And a renewed imperative to fight in my small ways for the survival of everything that matters.

It’s a balmy autumn day. There was white sky, and a blue sky, and a sense of changeability, and now some drizzle. Even normal doesn’t feel normal.  I can no longer not have a sadness about so many things, which all feel a part of the cycles of “nature” that have been so … shunted into unknown possibility.  Apples feel a part of this story.  So, gratitude for them, big thank you to Hannah, and slice them in quarters to offer to my children.

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PS  I want to write about something I’ve learned about through a friend in London.  On 7th of October, yesterday, Camberwell Community Green Orchard was bulldozed  by Southwark Council for a building scheme that could have happened elsewhere and which was fought by the community.  You can read about this on the internet.  I am really feeling this terrible loss.   It had been a garden project, 20 years ago, in which children established an urban orchard that would be a sanctuary for years to come.   There’s a violence to the destruction of trees, of a garden, of the fruition of people’s efforts towards healing and sanctifying our cities with beauty.  My friend is really upset.  I’ve never been to this orchard, but I too feel upset.  Because we critically need to be creating these spaces, and in a time in which this is so clear, a council, representing government, aggressively spits on our hopes for a livable future.

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