Wwof, buzz, cluck

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Why did the bee get married? Because she found her honey!

What’s a bee’s favourite novel? The Great Gatsbee!

Where do bees go on holiday? Stingapore!

Hahaha. Sweet jokes, mate. Wondering what else is the bee’s knees? (Besides puns that should be read with the appropriate nasal German accent?) Wwofing at an apiary and permaculture farm. Wwoofing: Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Buy a membership, get a book with farmers’ contact information, volunteer your time in exchange for food, a place to stay and (most awesomely) free knowledge. I spent a week south west of Sydney during the school’s term break and it was great. My host was a little crusty at first… “Zis is not a vacation, you are here to verk”…but soon he was rank ordering honeybee books I should read, movies I should watch and giving me home brew pilsners and honey mead. He said his goal in life was to inspire people through his lifestyle so that they could go home and implement small (or big) changes into their own. I find that inspiring in and of itself! Thus far it’s mostly just been reading for me, but I have tweaked my tiny garden a bit, and Curtis and I have planned the next place we want to wwof together: a permaculture farm/education centre inland from Newcastle. Hopefully in June! Excited! Anyway.

Permaculture, from what I can surmise so far, is basically a system of ecological design and management that emphasizes sustainability, and in which all relevant factors of living things are considered, and where all resources are used to the maximum. The aim of permaculture (I think) is to imitate natural ecological systems, which are self sustaining. The idea is to create a living system that maintains itself, requiring as little energy input from the human managers as possible. So basically closed sustainable ecosystems are a yay, monoculture is a nay. I really like this concept, it seems very practical and pragmatic. And my bee farmer was just that. He had “systems” set up around his five acres. An aquaponics system to water his greenhouse garden, chicken runs that he would periodically rotate with a veggie garden, geese to keep the grass short (and incidentally try to murder me throughout the day) and of course, honey bees! He was, thankfully, patient enough to let me do hive inspections with him. 20 hives around his property and 20 scattered within a 40 km radius of his acreage. I now know that a) I definitely do not want 40 hives of my own b) I DO want 2-3 hives c) animal husbandry is, unsurprisingly, a real commitment so we will need to be pretty settled to do it. I also learned, unfortunately, that I am officially allergic to the outdoors. Or it makes my asthma worse, or both. I shouldn’t find physical limitations so frustrating, but I do…just like everyone else in the world with allergies no doubt. I am going to have to sort this out soon as I do in fact love mowing grass and playing with chickens, plus also breathing and the ability to sleep at night. Oh well, this is what drugs are for! I still had a fantastic time!

When I got back to Sydney, Curtis and I, along with a fellow Calgarian, managed to sneak our way onto racing sailboats for the first Sydney Harbour race of the winter season. Thanks Lisa, for organizing! We each got on a sailboat and were allowed to grind winches and other grunt jobs and it was so much fun!! Though Curtis said his boat had puppies and wine and quiche on board, so I think I was doing it wrong. We’ll have to try again soon!

If you happen to be interested in some of the bee movies I watched, here’s the trailers:

Vanishing of the Bees

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3giFDIRZIgE

More than Honey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NT05qEJxUk

Queen of the Sun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NT05qEJxUk

I am not sure where you could watch the full versions, but if you’re super keen this might be useful: ( Go Calgary!)
http://www.backyardbees.ca/free/external_resources

We’re buzzing along into May and it seems like it will be another busy month. Missing everyone back at home. Hope the tulips are blooming!

Love!

3 thoughts on “Wwof, buzz, cluck

  1. Nature and honey bees and heathers charm transcribed through the magic of the Internet! What a wonderful world it is. Queen of the sun is on my list too! I’ve been hanging out with the bees at work watching them bring in blue pollen from who know where 🙂

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