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their home after about 3 weeks of being on the land. We were especially interested in the bees in the top bar hive as they had no extra stores of honey to start out with and a very different space than the conventional hive.
In the top bar hive above you can see that the bees are forming round frames of hives which are 100% beeswax and honey! All of their frames together form a huge sphere. Roundness is the natural shape for bees, which means that in conventional hives they are being forced into a framework that is not natural to them. They are often also forced into building hives that have larger cells than they would prefer. All these unnatural things predispose them to disease. The photo of this hive does not do it justice, it is truly an AWESOME sight to see the bees building their hive as they would naturally. We could not take up any of the frames to look for bee babies (larvae) but trusted that all was okay with them.
This is the top bar from the other side. Bees are crawling all over the hive, dedicated to their communal efforts, taking care of their babies, gathering honey, distilling honey and more. The bees are so busy that the pay very little attention to us when we are looking at them. But it is important to move slowly and with respect because if they feel threatened they will attack.
Another view of the top bar hive. You can see the beautiful spherical shape. We are looking forward to seeing the difference in the health and vitality of our two hives of bees. Certainly the wax in this hive must be harvested with the honey, so this will be the hive to produce comb honey (where you eat the comb and honey) and wax itself. There are MANY beneficial health properties to RAW honey, comb and propolis (bee "glue") which is the substances the bees use to seal up their hive, it is a dark orange and so effective that it can be a struggle to get into the hive sometimes (especially the conventional hive).
One more view of the comb in the top bar hive.
Here we are checking the conventional hive. The smoke you see is from "the smoker" which is a tool to pacify the bees. The bees when they sense smoke start to eat lots of honey in preparation for a potential flight from the hive. When the bees have eaten a lot of honey they are so full they cannot sting. So we use limited amounts of smoke to get the bees to eat lots of honey and be less prone to stinging. However, in our experience, the bees are so focused on their work that they rarely bother us. The occassional "guard bee" will come and buzz around our head. They inately know where the vulnerable spots are, and if they do attack, they will attack our eyes, ears, nose. It is also true that since the bees stinger gets pulled right out of their body when stinging humans,
they do not really want to sting and will only do it if they feel desperation. They can sting other bees without their stinger being pulled out, and if an hostile bee, wasp, hornet comes into their hive they will attack it.
There is the smoker by one of the upper hive bodies. We needed to look through the entire hive to make sure that the queen bee was laying "brood" eggs that turn into larvae that turn into bees.
We finally found the brood in the second hive body. The hats and veils are a very necessary precaution as the bees will sting the face first and will get caught in hair. You see here that White Wolf has not learned her lesson, you see her hair here still exposed. Kao goes to look at the bees totally geared up, taking every possible precaution including multiple layers of clothing. She knows the dance the bees can make you dance too well.
Frames of bees. We take each frame out to examine it, to look for brood and to look at how much honey they have made. It is important to give them enough space to make more honey. If they feel too cramped they will swarm, which means that they will make a new queen bee (by feeding a fertilized egg ONLY royal jelly) and the majority of bees will swarm away from the hive with her.
The whitish part of the comb is bee larvae, you can see a tiny curled up "worm" in them that will become a bee! All the "nurse bees" are busy feeding the little larvae.
Another comb with some capped honey. The bees cap the honey when it is full and when they have distilled it down to the perfect point that it will preserve for years! The metal tool here is the hive tool that enables us to pry open the hive that the bees have sealed shut with the propolis.
Right in front of the bees are raspberry rows. The bees LOVE the raspberries, so we know that much of our honey will be from the raspberry plants. The bees also love the locust tree blossoms and the tulip poplar tree blossoms that are also in full swing at this time. This time of year is the largest nectar flow for the bees in our area. We will also be growing specific plants the bees like to compensate for the slower nectar flow in the months of JulyAugust. We grow a lot of medicinal plants here so the bees also get nectar from them. The type of flower will greatly change the color and flavor of the honey!
Close up of raspberries. We also have a row that is already blooming and growing the tiny green raspberries that will turn red in a few weeks. These raspberries are a later harvest, which we also hope will provide the bees with nectar later in the season.
View of the top bar hive through the orchard trees. Remember that bees are essential to fertilization of many plants and trees. The bees are highly respected and appreciated contributors to the Gardens!
Our peach trees especially love this location. Anything connected with peach grows well, apricot, nectarine.... This was the part of the larger farm that had peach trees, so we often find wild ones which we transplant to our nursery and will eventually transplant to our orchard. This particular peach tree produces HUNDREDS of peaches and the birds wait for it, and as soon as the peaches are ripe they decend on them and eat them all. All we see is a bunch of pips on the ground. SPECIAL NOTE: There was a comment made recently on a Taino network (TNS) expressing scorn and derision towards working with the Earth, a refernce to toiling alone on a field by the female moderator and another reference to subsistence farming on another network (ICN). We do not see our work with our Earth Mother as "toiling" or as "subsistence livivng", we know it to be expressions of
LOVE and APPRECIATION for all that she gives us, for without her abundance we could NOT have our experience. We also know it to be expressions of Love and Dancing with the Spirit! We are constantly amazed at how the Spirit brings something new into the Land. Just the other day we discovered a "garden" within a garden which had sprung up in the middle of an Ancestral Batey where nothing had been planted before. This is not toiling with the soil. This is living a healthy experience to the best of our abilities in the current crisis situation. As the Spirit brings something new to the Land, the Spirit brings it into our lives! One thing is for sure, there is such an abundance on the Land that when needing medicine resources, we do not have to spend a dime or look beyond the land to find whatever is needed. We have huge slabs of marble to carve, endless logs and roots for carving, plenty of medicinal plants for medicine, for spiritual baths, a wonderful well of healthy water, clay by our little stream, a Bohitu's paradise! Contrary to popular belief we are not isolate or alone and are not alienated in our little hills. It disturbs me to see an apparent distaste or at the least a diminishment of the very things that our Ancestor's held in high regards and sacred. I know that the Ancestor's still hold these things as sacred otherwise we would not be doing the things we are doing. I have said before and I will say again, I work for the Spirit. I have never made it my business to work for "people" but rather for the Spirit that is looking for the progression of the people. There is a big difference sometimes in what someone's Spirit wants for them and what they want for themselves, because they are sometimes very shortsighted and caught up in their own ego trip, victimization role, obsession, compulsion or what have you. Their Spirit
wants them to move through that and manifest more wonderful things in their lives. For those whose pettiness moves them to make such callous and ignorant statements, this is a shame, and they will continue to eat their burgerkings, mcDs, and other such toxic waste dumps calling themselves fast food, never fully recognizing what they are missing out on!
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