Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas


     It's a cool Christmas Eve in Vancouver with the possibility of snow through the night and a white Christmas. The bees are snuggled in their hives waiting for Santa.  Penny, from the Natural Beekeeping Trust of the United Kingdom says "Traditionally, Christian beekeepers have visited their colonies at midnight on Christmas Eve to tell the bees of the nativity.  They also hoped to hear the special melodious humming that the bees were said to perform at this time, portending health and prosperity throughout the coming year.  It was thought that this custom was predated by an earlier pre-Christian one when the return of the sun was by no means guaranteed!"
     If you're wondering what to recite to your bees on Christmas Eve here is a poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

Silently on Christmas Eve,
the turn of midnight's key;
all the garden locked in ice -
a silver frieze -
except the winter cluster of the bees.

Flightless now and shivering,
around their Queen they cling;
every bee a gift of heat;
she will not freeze
within the winter cluster of the bees.

Bring me for my Christmas gift
a single golden jar;
let me taste the sweetness there,
but honey leave
to feed the winter cluster of the bees.

Come with me on Christmas Eve
to see the silent hive -
trembling stars cloistered above -
and then believe,
bless the winter cluster of the bees.

    
      At this time of year I'm especially appreciative that I have a roof over my head and food in my belly when so many in the world have neither.  Giving gifts to those in need who are not as fortunate as I seems like a good idea at Christmas and for that matter throughout the year.  Here are a few Christmas gift ideas for less fortunate beekeepers in the world. 

    I hope that you, your bees and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.  Peace on earth and good will to all.




Monday, December 10, 2012

Charles Darwin and the Bumblebee (Humble Bee)

 
     This quote from Charles Darwin is applicable to present day bees.  Bees have a very weak immune system and are not very adaptive to environmental changes caused by us.  Global warming and the increased presence of agrochemical toxins are conditions many species of bees will not survive. Their extinction will effect others species dependent on their pollination.
     I think like many of us Charles had a special place in his heart for Bumble Bees or Humble Bees as they were known prior to World War I.  With the help of 5 or 6 of his children between the years 1854-1861 Charles made a number of recorded observations on the flight routes of male Humble Bees (Charles Darwin on the routes of male Humble Bees).  In the first edition of "On the Origin of the Species" by Charles Darwin (1859) he describes how essential Bumble Bees are for the pollination of plants and specifically the red clover (Trifolium pratense).  This he explains is because of it's unique ability to reach the nectar which eludes other bees. (Different pollinators for different plants)

     "Charles Darwin wrote of "humble-bees"... "plants and animals, most remote in the scale of nature, are bound together by a web of complex relations. [...] I have [...] reason to believe that humble-bees are indispensable to the fertilisation of the heartsease (Viola tricolor), for other bees do not visit this flower. From experiments which I have tried, I have found that the visits of bees, if not indispensable, are at least highly beneficial to the fertilisation of our clovers; but humble-bees alone visit the common red clover (Trifolium pratense), as other bees cannot reach the nectar. Hence I have very little doubt, that if the whole genus of humble-bees became extinct or very rare in England, the heartsease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear. The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr. H. Newman, who has long attended to the habits of humble-bees, believes that 'more than two thirds of them are thus destroyed all over England.' Now the number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number of cats; and Mr. Newman says, 'Near villages and small towns I have found the nests of humble-bees more numerous than elsewhere, which I attribute to the number of cats that destroy the mice.' Hence it is quite credible that the presence of a feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district!" (from Chapter 3 "On the Origin of the Species").
     A logical extension made in jest by Thomas Henry Huxley (Huxley, 1892) was " that old maids keep cats, and by unknown others to include the concepts that the economy of the British Empire
was based on roast beef eaten by its soldiers, and cattle rely on clover, so as to conclude that the prosperity of the British Empire was thus dependant on its population of old maids." (Charles Darwin, Humble Bees, Clover and Cats).
     
  Bombus pascuorum (Common Carder-bee) on red clover

     As most bumblebees are ground dwellers their existence depends upon the population of nest destroying mice whose population depends on the subsequent population of predatory cats.  Therefore, the greater the population of cats the greater the number of bumblebees and the greater the pollination of red clover.  We must also consider the negative effect of cat predation on birds, amphibians and reptiles.  This is why an ecosystem functioning in equilibrium (balanced populations) is so important.
     In May of 1858 with the aid of a beekeeper Darwin carried out studies on honey bee cell building at his home in Kent, England.  "For people to accept his theory of evolution by natural selection Darwin knew that he had to explain how the hexagonal cells found in the wax of the beehive were fortified by natural processes.  As a result of his observations he concluded that the hexagonal shape is produced as a result of spherical cells touching each other and the bees using the minimum amount of wax possible.  The experiments are described in "On the Origin of the Species".

 
     The family home of Charles Darwin is wonderfully preserved in Kent and is much the same as it was in the 19th century when he and his children carried out their observations of both the honey and humble bee.

   
 
     Due to habitat loss and the use of agrochemicals many species of Humble Bees are endangered.  In Britain the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust is working to save the Humble Bees.  In North American join Bumble Bee Watch to help endangered species of Humble Bees.

Left Bombus Mixtus (Male) and right Bomus Caliginosus or Bombus Vosnesenskii on a sunflower in my garden

My favorite an Orange Rumped Humble Bee (Bombus melanopygus) enjoying a cranesbill geranium in my garden

Another Humble Bee beutifying my garden

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fried Honeybee Pupae


     As a beekeeper I have tried many different honey recipes but have never considered eating the bees or bee pupae.  In the mountain district of Zhangjiajie, China the large,wild honey bee (Apis Dorsata) is very nutritious and a favourite part of the Tujia people's diet.




     The cooking directions for fried honey bee pupae (which I do not intend to follow) are:

Heat the oil till boiling, put the honeybee pupae into the oil and do not take them out until they float to the surface of the oil. Then put them into a clean pot, add salts, green onion, bruised ginger, chili, and peppers into the spot, and stir-fry them for 1 to 2 minutes.

     Apparently this dish goes well with wine.  Might I suggest tequila and a lot of it.  For more recipes go to the Recipes section of our Beekeepers' Library (honey recipes).


                                 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Natural Beekeeping




     The greatest dilemma for many beekeepers today is whether to be treatment free or not.  The most widely used label for treatment-free beekeeping is "Natural Beekeeping" although there are several others.
     Natural beekeeping is not to be confused with "Organic Beekeeping" which allows for the use of organic medications and large cell bees.  The actual definitions of these Beekeeping Labels are like most beekeeping issues arguable.  When I started beekeeping an old beekeeper told me if you have 6 beekeepers in a room you will have 8 different opinions because two will change their minds during the discussion.  I have found this to be true.  To be a true "Natural Beekeeper" you must be treatment-free and regress the cell size of your bees to their natural size (approximately 4.9 mm).  The European Honey Bee was artificially increased in size by increasing the foundation cell size over 100 years ago to produce more honey. Although the honey yield was increased with bigger bees "Natural Beekeepers" will argue that some of the subsequent health issues that we are now dealing with are a result of messing with Mother Nature.  Philosophically I agree 100% with this approach but the pragmatic skepticism in me needs absolute proof.  There are no long term scientific studies which prove the benefits of small cell beekeeping though Dee Lusby (a pioneer of Natural Beekeeping) will adamantly argue that point.  Dee and her late husband Ed (commercial beekeepers) began small cell natural beekeeping in the 1980's and published their findings in "The Way Back to Biological Beekeeping".  Dee is the owner and moderator of the yahoo discussion group "Organic Beekeepers".
     Both Michael Bush and Dee Lusby are extremely knowledgeable beekeepers and I highly recommend visiting their websites for a natural perspective on beekeeping.  The difficulty with "Natural Beekeeping" for most of us is in order to develop a survivor, resistant stock of bees (treatment-free) you must allow your weaker colonies to die.  This is often referred to as the James Bond method or "Live and let die".  Despite the obvious long term benefits this goes against our natural instinct to help the weak and sick. The other issue is the possibility that the sick, untreated colonies may pass their pests and diseases onto other (i.e. neighbours') colonies.  For small, backyard beekeepers this can be devastating.
     Despite the lack of scientific proof of the benefits of small cell, natural beekeeping I hope to one day follow this natural approach.  For more information on "Natural Beekeeping" go to the Natural Beekeeping section of our Beekeepers' Library.
      Jacqueline Freeman is the author of an upcoming book "Bees, the OTHER Way". She points out the different strategies that conventional bee keepers might try to save their hives from colony collapse disorder. Although she refers to her beekeeping methodology as organic (which it is) I believe it is what most would refer to as "Natural".  Similar to organic farming there are a number of organic bee medications (i.e. Essential oils, formic and oxalic acids) that would not be acceptable to "Natural Beekeepers".

#1 general approach: use organic practices
#2 general approach: strengthen bee immune system instead of "attack and kill" what nature uses to remove weak bees
#3 don't use insecticide (for mite control or any other insect problem) inside of hives - bees are insects!
#4 allow bees to create their own cell size (typically smaller) - no more pre-made foundation or cells
#5 genetics based on "survival of the fittest" is superior to genetics resulting from mass production where the weak are medicated
#6 swarming is the natural way to good genetics
#7 local bees have adapted to challenges in your area
#8 stop moving hives
#9 feed bees honey, not sugar water
#10 feed bees polyculture blossoms, not monoculture
#11 stop using insecticides on crops - bees are insects!
#12 raise hives off the ground



     Another book "Natural Beekeeping" (Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture) by Ross Conrad describes the philosophy and methods involved in organic beekeeping.
Natural Beekeeping Excerpt

     Natural Beekeeping follows the basic philosophy of permaculture which is sustainable agriculture systems based on natural ecosystems.  To learn more about permaculture go to Permies.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Protect Your Ass (Donkey)


     I know that most of you (like me) at one time or another have wondered why don't they make a beekeeping outfit for my donkey.  Wonder no more.  Manuel Juraci, 59, a beekeeper and inventor from Itatira, Brazil has designed a protective outfit for Boneco his friend and beekeeping partner for 10 years.  Boneco does most of the heavy lifting.  According to Manuel, "Not to discount the others, but Boneco is a faithful friend."  Manuel Juraci, also known as Professor Pardal (a comic book character who was an inventor) has also created among other interesting items, a lanyard mango, a honey centrifuge, a prototype helicopter and a wide variety of toys for his children.  



       The Itatira region (a largely arid and uncultivable landscape) is the largest producer of honey in the district of Ceara, Brazil, harvesting about 90 million pounds of honey per year.  Most of the harvested honey comes from africanized bees ( Killer Bees) so Boneco is definitely appreciating the new garb.  This video gives you a good chance to practice your Portuguese.
Salvar seu burro            


     I wonder if Manuel makes beekeeping outfits for pigs.  Probably not a good idea.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tales From the Hive

One of my girls enjoying a Sunflower


     "Tales from the Hive" is a beautiful movie from the PBS program Nova which follows a bee colony for a year.  The usage of macro lenses allows the viewer to see intimate activity inside the hive like the exchange of nectar between the foraging bees and the hive bees. They were also able to film bees in flight and the mating of the queen. 

     "We built a tower about 26 feet high and mounted the camera at the end of a six-and-a-half-foot-long extension. With this we were able to set the camera into a 360-degree rotation. (The queen has to be flying to mate.) We "tied" the queen in front of the camera, then we had to lure the drones from their altitude of 100 feet or so down to the level of our queen. For this purpose, we filled a weather balloon with helium, tied queens in a cage underneath that balloon, and let it rise. The idea was to draw the drones down with the queens' pheromones."

Cinematographer Wolfgang Thaler




Mating Tower

     "Amazingly, it worked on the very first day. I don't know how or why; perhaps I'm lucky. On the other hand, we never succeeded in repeating this scene over the following days. When the queen finally moved her wings, the drones were not interested; when she flew and the drones felt like it, the wind was too strong. If I had known how impossible it would be to film the scene while I was writing the script, I would have cut out the queen's mating flight." 
     "With every day of the shoot, we became richer in experience, and so I saved myself the most difficult shots for the end. These included the queen laying her eggs (filmed from the inside of the honey cell), the storage of pollen, and the feeding of the larva with royal jelly. Again we had a lucky day, because queens are the shyest of all bees, especially young queens. As soon as something disrupts their environment, they stop their natural behavior and hide among thousands of bees."   
         Cinematographer Wolfgang Thaler     

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Urban Homestead


     On just one tenth of an acre, on a city lot in Pasadena, California 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles the Dervais family have created a truly amazing "urban homestead".  They produce 7,000 lbs (3175 kgs) of organic produce annually on their city farm which includes ducks, chickens, goats and bees.  Their livestock provide eggs, milk and honey for their vegetarian diet and they use alternative fuels like biodiesel, pedal power and solar panels.  I think this is an amazing, inspirational example to us city folks as to what can be accomplished on a small parcel of land. Go to Urban Homestead to learn more about this urban farm.

      In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can- and will- overturn the corporate powers that be. 
By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world… (urbanhomestead.org)
The Dervaes family on a small city lot in Pasadena, California

     One of the greatest obstacles our bees face is living in the toxic environment we have created.  Living and planting organically, producing our food locally and reducing our consumption of fossil fuels will go a long way to creating a more healthy environment for our bees and our children (Urban Homestead Bees).  
                          


P.S.   If you are in the Pasadena area on November 22 Urban Homestead is holding a Thanksgiving Dinner. Wish I could be there.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Effects Beekeepers


     Hurricane Sandy has devastated a large number of people by the destruction of property and most importantly loss of life.  Bees and beekeepers are not immune from the suffering.  Many beekeepers have lost their hives to the hurricane including those from the Brooklyn Grange’s Navy Yard urban farming project  (Brooklyn Grange) that lost 25 hives situated near the water.  Chase Emmons, a managing partner and the chief beekeeper at Brooklyn Grange said “All our hives that were out on the pier were destroyed.  An additional 10 hives located on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farm survived — but the loss is catastrophic for the city’s largest apiary. Emmons knew before the storm that the hives were at risk.  There was little we could do without a Herculean effort,” he said.  What’s most heartbreaking, said Emmons, is that all of the lost hives were donated by a retired Pennsylvania beekeeper last year — so they housed extra-hearty bees with stellar genetics.  “The biggest loss is to our selective breeding genetic program. Our plan is to end up with bees that are well suited to the New York environment,” said Emmons. “This puts us back at least a year.”



     The loss of bees and hives is not comparable to those who have lost their property and more importantly their lives.  However, when reassembling the hives the beekeepers were shocked to see surviving bees attempting to rebuild their colonies just as survivors of the Hurricane are now courageously rebuilding their lives.  Our prayers and best wishes go out to all those effected by Hurricane Sandy.  



Friday, October 26, 2012

Labelling Honey Jars




     While you may not have this much fun labeling your honey jars there is no reason why it can't be enjoyable and creative.  Note that this posting is for backyard, non professional beekeepers.  The legal regulations for labeling honey jars for sale vary according to where you live.  In Europe this includes whether or not your honey contains pollen (has not been micro filtered) or was derived from Genetically Modified Plants.  In my opinion both of these considerations are very important and should be included on commercially produced honey.
     Whether you are canning produce from your garden, bottling jams or labeling honey jars most of us will begin with hand written labels meant to identify the product and when it was produced (Jars can get lost in the pantry for years).  A good idea is to get your children to do this.


     By using label templates you can easily upgrade the design of your labels.  I have found that they are easy to use and allow your to personalize a gift.

Honey Label

     I have compiled a group of 60 label templates free to use for the backyard, non commercial beekeeper and canner to download here.  You can also preview and download them in four categories: Honey Labels (which includes a 1920 selection, a botulism warning label and a honey nutrition label); Modern Canning Labels (Circle) ; Modern Canning Labels (Rectangle) and Vintage Canning Labels.  The first step is to choose the template of your choice.  There is a wide range to choose from.  You can also use your own photographs.

Vintage Canning Label
Honey Label
Modern Canning Label

Honey Label

Vintage Canning Label

         
     Once you have chosen your label you can use a free image editing program like Gimp or my favorite Photoscape to add words to your template.  With Photoscape you open the program, go to editor, choose your template on the left side, click on "Object" and choose either "Text" or "Rich Edit" to add words. You can then choose the size, type and color of font you want to use.  When finished save your label, print it, cut it out and glue to your jar.  I use regular printing paper and minimal glue as a lot of glue tends to discolor the label.   
     Botulism in honey is a risk to babies under the age of 1 year.  Although the risk is minimal it is recommended (to be on the safe side) that you not feed honey to infants under the age of one.  If you are giving jars to those you don't know you may want to include a warning label. 


     For commercial beekeepers the regulations on labeling food products is changing constantly and very dependent on where you live and how much you sell. For example in Florida beekeepers are now allowed to sell their honey from home (not stores) using a Florida Cottage Food Label as long as they do not exceed $15,000 in revenue. There are no regulations on non commercial home canning or honey production so like the ladies in the video above have fun and be creative. 








Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wintering Hives Beekeeping Webinar


     The October 17th Beekeeping Webinar put on by author Kim Flottum and Ohio State University was a good overall reminder of hive dynamics in winter and how we can help our bees survive.


     The major problems for honey bees in winter are starvation, varroa and poor ventilation.  Cold condensation created by heat generated by the bee cluster contacting the cold inner cover will drip on the bees.  In cold climates wet bees are dead bees.  Possible solutions are insulation between the inner cover and outer cover, a moisture quilt or an Insulated Moisture Quilt.


     Wintering your bees is like real estate value in that the most important consideration is location (location, location, location).  Location dictates the methods you will use to protect your bees from the elements. Windbreaks are essential in some areas where there are cold, winter winds.  In winter we have a predominant, strong, low pressure, southeast weather pattern that brings with it fairly constant cold, wet winds.


     Wrapping is also very helpful at reducing heat loss.  Roofing paper is the favourite wrapping material (black absorbs heat from the sun) making sure to leave an upper hole for ventilation.  Some beekeepers insulate not only the top of their hives but the body as well, making sure once again to leave the upper ventilation hole open for air circulation.


     Other considerations are what type of bee you have.  Carnies and Russians (particularly Russians) winter smaller clusters, eat less, produce less winter brood and generally winter better than their southern Italian cousins (The Best Bee Type).  However, most bees are a hybrid of various types of bees.
     A great concern when wintering bees is starvation and to prevent this beekeepers must simply make sure they leave adequate frames of honey for thier bees.  Once again this is location dependent and for us is about 65-75 lbs or 10 deep frames.  For information on feeding bees go to Feeding Bees in Winter .
     To view this webinar go to the "Getting your hives ready for winter" with Kim Flottum or
"Putting the hive to bed for winter" with Kim Flottum .  You may also want to check out The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter , Winterization Guide for Beekeeping , The Thermology of Wintering Honey Bee Colonies or Wrapping a Honey Bee Colony with Tar Paper  from the Beekeepers' Library.


   

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Winter Prep Beekeeping Webinar


     This Wednesday, October 17th at 9 a.m EDT (real early in the west) Ohio State University will be presenting their October Beekeeping Webinar with author Kim Flottum entitled "Putting the Hive to Bed for Winter".  To join in the webinar go to the Sign-in page at 8:55 a.m EDT.  All of the O.S.U webinars are recorded and available at their Bee Lab or in our Beekeepers' Library in the Webinars section.
     The Bee Informed National Management Survey 2010-2011 (Survey) revealed some interesting insights into winter management.  Although the survey (Survey Results and Survey Respondent Profile) is new and relatively small scale it showed no measurable impact from winter preparation methods like hive wrapping or insulation but showed significant benefits from the equalization of hives in preparation for winter and the inclusion of an upper entrance.  The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists also suggests that an upper entrance is important to vent excess moisture (The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter). The upper entrance also provides an alternative if the lower entrance is blocked by snow or dead bees. They also suggest that it is beneficial to wrap or insulate your hives in colder climates.
     The photo above is of one of my hives which is admittedly pampered.  It has a screened bottom board, mouse guard, hive body insulation and wrap, insulated moisture quilt and poly (2x4 and plastic sheet) weather cover.  The poly cover is mostly to protect the hive from strong southeast winds (local winter phenomena) and driving rain.  Obviously your winter preparation practices will depend on your location and how many hives you have.  With a thousand hives you certainly can't do what I have done above.
     Barbara Bloetsher did a previous webinar entitled "Planning now for Winter Preparation" that can be viewed in the webinar section of our Beekeepers' Library here.  There is also a few other webinars on wintering bees (Overwintering Bees and Getting Ready for Winter) that can be downloaded in the webinar section.

Overwintering Hives from the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education


     Enjoy the webinar.  It should be good.

            

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Farm for the Future


     It is impossible to discuss the future of beekeeping without discussing the future of agriculture.  Presently, we have created a mono culture, agro-chemical dependant, fossil fuel dependant agriculture system that is destined to fail within this century as we exhaust our supply of fossil fuel on earth (oil).  We have created an agricultural landscape that is lifeless.  The soil is inert or sterile so requires the constant addition of potassium, phosphorus and nitrates.  The universal inclusion of genetically modified, neonicotinoid, systemic pesticide infused seeds assures us of an unnatural, lifeless landscape and the constantly adapting pests assures the agro-chemcial companies of a constant, dependant market for their product.  Like a junkie in need of a fix. Bees can not survive in this toxic environment (See Insecticides and Bees and the Beekeepers' Library).  Most would agree that the future of agriculture and the health of our children should not be placed in the hands of agro-chemical companies (i.e. Monsanto).
     One possible alternative is permaculture farming which although vastly different from traditional farming shows some merit.  As someone who has worked in a traditional farm setting it is initially difficult to grasp this concept of natural farming with the inclusion of trees and bugs and weeds.  However, as you observe the process you begin to understand the intelligence of Mother Nature.  Every living thing has a purpose and provides naturally what our present day agricultural system uses toxic chemicals to accomplish.  Will the permaculture system provide food for 7 billion people?  My preliminary investigation of relatively small scale operations shows positive results but perhaps the future of farming lies in a combination of permaculture, alternative fuels and a more healthy and vastly different (less grain or rice dependant) diet.
     In this documentary wildlife film maker Rebecca Hosking investigates the future of her traditional, family farm in Devon.

      "With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family's wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year's high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realising that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is.  Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future."
            


     A permaculture farm is a much healthier environment than the traditional farm for all species of bees because of the variety of plants, natural habitat for nesting and the lack of toxic chemical use (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides).  To learn more about permaculture go to the Bee Videos section of this website to view "Plants for a Future" and "In Grave Danger of Falling Food".


Friday, October 5, 2012

Save Cottonwood Garden


     Cottonwood Community Garden is a 4 acre green oasis in a concrete desert near the centre of downtown Vancouver.  It was created 21 years ago by a group of guerilla gardeners who painstakingly turned a former landfill into good, arable soil by removing tons of garbage and replacing it with similar quantities of compost created from the waste of nearby produce distribution warehouses.

 The original site of Cottonwood garden.

          There is presently 140 individual garden plots including a number of raised garden boxes for physically  challenged gardeners.  The garden also includes a number of public areas like the native forest, the asian garden, the fruit tree beds (cherry, sour cherry, apple, plum, pear, persimmon, mulberry, fig ...), fruit bushes (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry, grape, thimbleberry, salmonberry, kiwis ...) and a number of flower gardens.  


          It is the home of a number of nesting birds including a prominent bald eagle nest.


A new born resident of Cottonwood Garden.

     It is also home to our honey bees that love living in this green oasis that provides them with abundant flowering plants from early spring to late fall.  Native bees have also chosen to make Cottonwood Garden their home.  This year I made an effort to photograph and identify some of the native insects that live in our garden.



       Our first hive.

The Cottonwood Garden Maternity Ward.

One of the girls enjoying a Cottonwood raspberry flower.

Delicious chives.


     Recently the city of Vancouver announced it's plan to put a freeway right through the centre of Cottonwood garden.  It reminds of a song. 
  
Big Yellow Taxi
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

They took all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer, put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees (please!)

Joni Mitchell (1970)

     Please help us save Cottonwood Garden by going to our facebook page here and signing our petition to the city here.  To view a more detailed description of the garden and it's future go to Gardens threatened.  I will end this post with a few parting photos of Cottonwood Garden.  By this time next year they may have paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

  








Please save my home.

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