Monday, September 23, 2013

Bee all that you can bee

Hi. Thanks for stopping by. One of the seasonal activities that we don't really enjoy around here is the annual effort of wasps and their like to find places in the house to winter over. On the other hand, have you read, or heard, about the problems bees are having world wide, concentrated in the US and Europe? That could be devastating to agricultural crops which depend on bees for pollination. More broadly, it could also  threaten entire ecosystems. But, did you know that the University of Minnesota is home to one of the world's current experts on bees, Dr. Marla Spivak?

photo of bee on yellow Chrysanthemum
 bee on yellow Chrysanthemum     © harrington

Dr. Spivak and either her Bee Lab or the Bee Squad provides classes, I think through the Extension Service, on Beekeeping in Northern Climates Part 1 (Getting Started in Beekeeping). So, since we've pretty much decided that goats or sheep might not be the best fit with our sand plain soils and vegetation, we're going to sign up for a class and see about setting up a couple of hives next Spring. The "Urban Honey" folks in the cities shouldn't get to have all the fun. Besides, we're not in favor of anything that threatens entire ecosystems, especially if, for a few hundred dollars and some time, effort and land, we can do something to help .

photo of bee on pansy
bee on pansy                   © harrington

Stay tuned for occasional reports on any progress we make. I've already flagged the idea on needing an electric fence because of neighborhood bears. Maybe that will just be a first step in making this place more dependent on solar and less so on natural gas and coal. I'd feel pretty good about that. Speaking of feeling good, I bet this poem, The Miracle of the Bees and the Foxgloves, by Anne Stevenson, will help you feel good.

Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.