Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Flight of The Turquoise Bee Apiary is Expanding

It's official. The Flight of The Turquoise Bee Apiary is expanding. Our second location is about an hour west of St. Paul, in Hamburg, MN. It is a lovely 10 acre  Permaculture Farm. Our host, "Farmer Charlie" is my brother-in-law. Charlie purchased this beautiful historic farm complete with a granary, a silo and Elizabeth, a tractor he brought back to life.

I don't know much about permaculture other than knowing it is a way of designing systems and ways of interaction that support the natural rhythms and patterns of the elements of those systems. As such, "Bees are the embodiment of the permaculture principle of concentrating limited resources - foraging large territories, and extracting sweet essence from the impoverished ecosystems that surround most of us, regardless of climate of location. Bees essentially feed themselves and through pollination, feed us, other creatures and the soil." Their honey is delicious, anti-bacterial, full of enzymes, minerals and complex sugars and is the best burn ointment. Propolis can be used for infections, sore throats, care of gums and teeth and treatment of sulfurs. Bees wax is ideal for candles, salve, and lip balm. Bee venom can stimulate the auto-immune system and ease arthritis. Keeping bees inherently increases our connection with the land, the seasons, local economy and food production. So, we have been invited to keep bees at the farm and kick off the permaculture endeavor. 

When I first visited the farm I was struck by how much clover was on the property and of course bees love clover so I knew it would be an ideal spot for some bees. Additionally Charlie has always been interested in our beekeeping adventure, visiting The Flight of The Turquoise Bee Apiary with  fearless fascination, an essential ingredient to hosting hives.

Right now the farm is blanketed in snow. But come Spring time it will be a sunny, spacious place for some Italian girls and their Queen. I ordered two new packages for the farm today and after the first of the year I will get equipment ordered, painted and set up. We are contemplating dabbling in harvesting comb honey this year which is not something we have done officially. If it seems like the girls on the farm like their nutritional sources and have potential for good production then we might just invest in a Ross Comb Super.

In the meantime we are nurturing three colonies of bees in Northfield who just might have the gumption to make it through the winter. If so we will have two new hives in Northfeild, and three overwintered hives that might need splits. If that's the case we will be way over our heads in managing our little hobby apiaries. 

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