Sunday, June 1, 2014

Keep on Keeping On

Yesterday Zan Asha of Beyond Vagabond came to the farm to teach Beginner Beekeeping Workshop here at the farmhouse. I have been keeping a hive for years but don't have anywhere near this third generation beekeeper's knowledge of the hive and its many parts, so it was an honor and delight to host her. She was a great speaker and a real inspiration, sharing stories from the front lines of the hive. That was what really made the day different from other workshops I think, the stories of her relatives and grandparents in Hungry and how they kept bees, the legends and the rites of the whole heady dance that is convincing 10,000 strangers to move in with you.

Zan told us all about the queen, drones, and workers but also about the folklore, tales, gods, and traditions surrounding our historic relationship with bees. Of all the little anecdotes shared through the day I think hearing about the pre-industrial bee farms that suited up working teams of horses in bee suits to protect them were my favorite! Can you imagine these animals, dressed up in bee suits, keeping the honey train going?! You don't have to imagine it, actually, because there are still people suiting up draft animals to collect honey. Check out this video of a news report on a man, his ass, and his sweet sweet loot! Skip to 4:15 to see the big show.

Guys, you can't get this information just anywhere.

I also learned about Warre hives for the first time ever. The Warre hive is a combination of the traditional box hive and the recently-popular top bar hives. It combines the free combs and bee-friendly environment of the top bars with the accesibility and upward growth/expansion of the langstroth hive we all know so well (the one pictured above). I thought these were fascinating and found at later that day that we have one right in town at one of the several Common Sense beehive posts hidden around town. I love that about this place in the world. You can casually mention an extrenely rare model of insect housing in small talk and someone in a commune will say "Oh yeah, we have one a mile from here!" Oh, Cambridge. I adore you.


Blogger Unknown said...

That poor donkey didn't look too happy! Too bad they didn't show him collecting honey :)

June 1, 2014 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! I think that donkey in a beesuit might just be the funniest thing I've seen in a while!

June 2, 2014 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I thought the donkey as incredibly patient, even though he had to walk funny in the suit. I wish I understood the language!

June 4, 2014 at 7:16 AM  

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