Holland: Tuesday and Wednesday Adventures

  TUESDAY... Bear with me beeloveds: I worked until midnight again on a lovely post, hit the "publish" button, and it all went out into the cosmos, never to be seen again, so I am needing to put two days of adventures here. This might be a bit long... Tuesday morning I awoke at 6am and darted into Ferry's weaving studio. I was eager to start another skep, because the first coils of a new skep are the most important, and the most challenging. The circles you form are very small, and the grass wants to poke out everywhere and…

Holland–Our First Day

Oh, goodness, where to begin, and how to share it all with you! Well, how about I let some pictures paint the image of our day? If there is a better way to spend your day than with bees and gardens---well, is there any such thing? Just let me sit among straw, bees, and skeps, and leave me here until I become a very happy fossil! This is a corner in Ferry's sweet bee apiary, "Smart Beeing." It is on the grounds of--oh please help me spell this right---the Vrij Waterland Biodynamisch Onderwijstuin, a huge garden installation next to one…

Learning from the Bees–Holland

Well, after a full year of planning and anticipating, Jacqueline and I are now in Harlaam, Holland with our bee friend Ferry and his lovely wife, Anna! Yesterday was a whirlwind of plane travel, customs, and more plane travel. I finally figured out how to move my photos to my computer (no small feat for a techno-wimp like me...). So, here we are on a rainy, blustery first day, making plans for bee fun. Today, we plan to visit Ferry's apiaries, which are stashed about town. Ferry has been making woven hives of many kinds, and his work is beautiful.…

April Bee Club: Bait Hives!

April Bee Club!

Mark your calendars for April 7. From 10am to noon, we’ll be gathering at the Camas Library at 625 NE 4th Ave. in Camas, in the upstairs meeting rooms. There will be a $10.00 materials fee, and you may make more than one, if you wish.

We’ll be having a “crafty” bee meeting, making bait hives for catching swarms this spring! We’ve purchased two cases of recycled paper plant pots that are light-weight and sturdy enough for a season of “hunting” for bees.

I’ll be bringing propolis water to spray the interiors with, plus lots of old comb for you to place inside (bees love to be where other bees have been before. I think they like the smell of old comb as much as we do…).

I’ll also bring my lemongrass essential oil, to mimic the queen smell. Oh, and zip ties to fasten the pots together. You’ll go home with a bait hive to hang, and we expect your reports on whether bees found them enticing over the next couple of months!… (more…)

Late Summer in the Bee Yard

While my yard is beginning to show the withering effects of August heat, there is still good bee forage. I wanted to share some of my favorite bee plants with you. These are the flowers that pack a lot of bloom for a long time, and are the favorites of my bees: " order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]

Drumming the Bees

The swarm began like any other swarm. Just a big, roaring, exaltation of bees, 20,000 strong and taking to the sky in a glittering amber cloud. I couldn’t possibly know in those first exhilarating moments that by days end, the bees from RainTree hive would change my relationship with bees forever. The morning started out warm and lush, and my attention was on all six of my hives. Four of them were telling me, through false starts and bees plastering themselves by the hundreds all over the faces of their hives, that they were in swarm prep mode. In a…

SWARM SPIRIT

I had almost forgotten. But the second the sound reached my ears, memories flooded in: The sound and the controlled frenzy of thousands of bee bodies in the air, the sight of them moving like an amorphous amber cloud across the yard, then up high, high into the air and down again to settle in my neighbor’s maple tree just a few feet above my head. The first swarm of the year is not just the bees’ rebirth but mine, too; that precise moment that I step out of a long, cold winter and into the promise of the sun…

Straw Hives: A New/Old Way to Bee

It has been seven months since I brought my bright and beautiful Sun Hive home, and just six months since I escorted a small cast swarm up a wooden ramp and into its dark and enfolding interior. Small the swarm may have been, but the bees took to the woven hive like they had been born to it, building up their comb and their numbers in an explosion of creative energy... Some days, I would lay beneath the hive and look up at this precious, new kind of cosmos, populated with amber, swirling, sun-lit bee stars and the welcoming dark…

Autumn In The Bee Garden

In my morning walkabout in the backyard, I noted the first bronze and peach leaves crowning the top of our old vine maple and the brown heads of the bending goldenrod. Fresh borage plants are poking up happy blue flowers and yet one more small, self-sewn crop of phacelia is blooming. My computer had assured me of a warm, sunny day and the gray sky was quickly being overtaken by blue, wispy holes. Already my bees were out into the morning, visiting late-blooming false dandelion, borage, and the rounded mounds of dark purple asters and lavender. Against the conventional grain,…