The Psychology of Homemade

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Homemade Marmalade – finger lickin’ good

I’m a huge fan of marmalade. I gobble the stuff and don’t always need toast to put it on. You might go so far as to call me a marmalade glutton. Which might not sound like a big deal except I used to actively dislike the stuff.

Then Frank started making batches  of kumquat marmalade and I thought it was okay. I mean, I’d eat it if there was nothing better on hand, or to be polite, but I could easily go without.

Then I was given a bag full of lemons and figured I could do better than drinking a lot of lemonade (which I did, but there were more lemons than that!). So I decided to try some lemon and orange marmalade. I used Frank’s recipe (actually, The Settlement Cook Book’s recipe) and made a batch using 4 cups of fruit, just enough water to cover the fruit and 4 cups of sugar.

I was a convert.

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Lemons and oranges, ready to eat or to boil up with some sugar

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Not many oranges left on this tree

I picked up some limes in the garden of a generous woman and tried lemon, lime & orange marmalade. I had a bucketful of oranges from my tree and I tried orange marmalade alone. So far I’ve made 5 batches and will, no doubt, make more before the citrus season is over. Partly because I don’t like to see food wasted. Partly because I suddenly love the stuff and don’t want to run out.

All of which tells me that my mind is weak. It can be swayed. If I grow it or make it, I like it a lot more than if I buy it. And I don’t just mean I like the idea of it more – sort of a green, sustainable, back-to-nature trend which is my kinda thing – I actually like the taste more. A lot more. And I think it’s permanent. I’m pretty sure if I ever am citrus-less or my stores of marmalade run dry, I’ll buy some because it’s that good. Me, the gal who used to wrinkle her nose at the stuff.

I suppose that I might have just grown to like marmalade, much as I have Brussel’s sprouts and asparagus. I might have. Or I might, at some primordial level, just like things I’ve created with my own hands.

Fascinating.

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5 batches of marmalade and counting

Posted in Garden, Recipe, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Penthouse Dweller

Molly living upstairs

Molly moving upstairs

Molly has moved into the penthouse of the big coop. Kind of.

The integration of the flock initiated on 14 August is going well. Penny is top dog, then Henny, followed by Holly. Molly is the bottom because she’s sickly but Polly is naturally a bottom-of-the-pecking-order hen so they both generally keep an eye out for the other hens. Lenny, of course, rules the roost. He still maintains order but it’s not such a big deal. The little hens are mindful and quick and the big hens only pick on them sometimes and never for long. A sign of this harmonious living is that now all 5 hens lay in the same box (see my post about hens sharing nest boxes to know this isn’t an easy feat).

Somewhere along the way, Molly got tired of being picked (or, should I say, “pecked”) on – sometimes and never for long – and took refuge on the roof of the big coop. I think the main problem was that, since she’s sickly, she sleeps a lot and soundly. She has always napped away most of the day – I can walk in and fill a feeder right next to her without waking her. Since the integration I have seen her naps disturbed by quick pecks (her old roomies just left her in peace). She has taken matters into her own hands and moved into the penthouse. She spends most (? or does it just seem that way?) of the day on the roof of the coop.

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She’s up there so much that we’ve taken to putting food and good weeds and whatever else we throw into the run on the roof as well so she doesn’t feel left out. If she’s not sleeping too soundly, she watches me when I come into the run, but rarely joins the others in the dash for the door.

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She stands and waits to see what I’ll give her. With an eye only partly opened. One of the side affects of whatever ails her is trouble keeping her eyes open. She rubs them on her wings a lot too. Is it a tumour? Light sensitivity? Tiredness? Whatever it is, we keep giving her yogurt in a mash with her pellets every morning. The others get some as well but I always put a big plop on the roof of the coop just for Molly.

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She’s spending so much time up there that she’s decided to sleep up there. I’m sure her sleep wasn’t bothered by the big girls since they sleep in the big coop and she and the little girls stay down in the small coop, but I reckon she’s just learned to love her penthouse. Which worried me. What does she do if it rains at night? Isn’t it cold up there all alone? So I moved a little box up there for her to sleep in.

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Molly continues to spend more and more time on the roof (though I do see her down scratching around often). The other hens, sometimes Lenny too, occasionally pop by for a visit. They never stay long, but I guess they like the penthouse concept as well!

Posted in Chickens | Tagged | 9 Comments

Serving-up Honey in Winter

IMG_6039We’re down to the final kilos of honey from our January harvest. It’s been stored in 20 kilo buckets which we pour into the bucket with a tap before filling jars. Or we did before the honey crystallised.

Once it started getting too thick to pour into jars, I started spooning it into jars. Lordy, is that a slow process. I did about 30 jars that way and then decided there had to be a better way. Like re-liquefying the honey.

IMG_6077IMG_6034IMG_6102IMG_6104-001After a bit of debating as to the best approach that was: a) easy and b) didn’t raise the temp of the honey to a point that damaged some of the good stuff in the honey, hubby and I opted for a warm water bath. To this end we

– Filled a plastic box with hot water.

– Put the honey bucket(s-2 of them) in a plastic rubbish bag to stop water reaching the tap and possibly working it’s way into the honey (this failed as the bag ended up wet inside and out but no water made it into the honey – whew).

– Plunked the honey bucket in the water bath.

– Dropped in a “heater” which is designed to keep a bucket of brewing beer warmish.

– Insulated the entire thing with a sleeping bag and some towels.

– Waited, and kept waiting.

The whole process was slow and we had to take out cooled water to be replaced with hot water (below 40 C didn’t seem to do anything to the crystallised honey) but every time I peeked, the liquid honey increased and the lump of solid honey shrunk so I kept on waiting.

The next morning – about 24 hours after filling the box – the honey was pretty well liquefied. It still held plenty of crystals but the bucket could be poured and jars filled from the tap.

This filling method may not have been quicker than using those 2 spoons, but boy did it take a lot less effort.

In less than a week, the honey in the jars was solidifying and the remaining honey in the last bucket was un-pourable again, but the lion’s share of the honey is now in jars ready for honey lovers to take home, which was the objective.

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Where did that come from?

Walking the well worn path between my front door and the door to the chicken run I saw this lying in the grass. It was the middle of the day and it hadn’t been there in the morning.

Red Fox Skull

Pig Skull?

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What Large Teeth You Have!

From a distance I thought it was a big piece of bark, a large leaf or maybe some paper blowing around the garden. Then I got close enough to see it was a skull. I was slightly startled. I couldn’t imagine where it came from. And I wasn’t sure what type of animal it was (or, rather, had been). Those canine teeth sort of confirmed it wasn’t a sheep’s head. I figured it had to be either a fox or a dog skull. (Hardly Sherlock Holmes, am I – what else could it have been?).

Red Fox

Red Fox in the garden

I came back in the house and looked it up online and I’m now wondering if it’s a pig skull (told you I wasn’t Sherlock). Those molars don’t look like they belong to a fox. We did have someone dump pig carcasses on the road – twice! (Humans are gross.) Could that have been the source of the skull? If so, what brought it inside the fox-proof fence? And what cleaned it up (what I saw on the side of the road before calling council to take it away was definitely not clean)?

I know we have a lot of foxes in this area, I’ve seen them several times in spite of the “fox-proof” fence (which may have been built to be fox-proof but I’ve filled holes dug under it twice). Has a fox been nibbling that skull for months and dropped on my lawn when I somehow startled it?

Red Fox Scat - stinky!

Red Fox Scat – stinky!

A good clue was found near the skull (and very near the chicken run – gulp). Rusty found a really stinky fresh-ish animal dropping. I mean REALLY stinky. It looked like the pictures of red fox scat I found online and a bit of further research confirmed red fox scat smells terrible. I wonder what the chickens thought when the fox was leaving that? I think it happened when I was at the shops at 1 in the afternoon and Rusty was locked in his run right next to the chickens.

The wonderfully stinky poo interested Rusty more than the skull (seriously, what is wrong with dogs?). He started to roll in it and got a quick bath for his trouble (I stopped him before he was covered but after he had a nice smear on his neck). Was the scat in some way related to the skull? Did whatever brought the skull leave the dropping? More worryingly, did I lock a fox inside the “fox-proof” fence when I blocked a well-used hole about a month ago? I’m concerned and curious in equal measure.

Rusty, however, is simply satisfied with the find. It rivals those rabbit heads in sheer goodness (though is disappointingly smell-free).

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Satisfied but slightly worried – it’s the biggest thing he’s ever had to hide. Too big, apparently, to bury; he left it on the front lawn where he could easily return for more nibbling.

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A few days later I found this in the pecan orchard, outside my fox-proof fence. Okay, Rusty found it and I found him finding it. He was all hackles and growling. I’m guessing he caught a fox scent in the area but that didn’t scare him off the bits of skull he carried home as a trophy.

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When he found the lower jaw I thought, “Aha! The bottom half to that scary skull.” (Which, by the way, strengthens my belief that this is a pig’s skull, not a fox skull.)

Nope, 3 feet away was another top half (really, Sherlock has nothing to worry about).

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It looks like we have a fast food joint somewhere on the property serving skulls – aren’t we lucky :-}

Posted in dog, Nature | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Vanity

Vanity is such an ugly word. Really, it’s hard to think of a way to use it about yourself or  your “things” without it having negative connotations. Which hasn’t stopped me from creating a vanity shelf.

Following on from my post about my latest book being published – the one that is in no way appropriate for this blog about gardening, food and animals – I’m posting about my vanity shelf. Go figure, huh?

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This is what I look at as I type my blog (does that mean I can post about it in my blog?). It’s got all my printed works on it: 2 novels, 2 magazines smart enough to print one of my short stories and 4 anthologies, each containing 1 or more of my short stories. Ezines, online competitions and ebooks (including ebook versions of my own manuscripts which outsell the paperback versions) are making printed works as rare as hen’s teeth (there, since I talked about chickens, this post isn’t totally out of place😛 ) so I like having a few of my publications sitting where I can actually touch them. One day I’d love to have the shelf full of just my writings with the framed cover shots on the wall but, for now anyway, I’m content with my success.

Oh, and see those 3 cute little chickens above the framed cover of Starting Over? They were made for me by the wonderful Melissa at vuchickens.wordpress.com when I lost my 3 lovely girls. They sit over my computer and remind me of how great chickens are and how wonderful people are out there in the blogosphere. Again, thanks Melissa!

Yes, I’m still stoked about having my second book published. I’m sure this excitement will die down soon though. It’s darned hard to stay vain when you’re getting stung by bees,  cleaning chook poo off of the floor of a coop, picking dog hair off your clothes and being totally ignored by a cat.

But, when all of the chores are done and all of the animals are resting quietly, let me tell you, it’s pretty fantastic having 2 books in print, it means I never have to struggle to find something good to read.🙂

Laura reading

 

Posted in Writing | Tagged | 18 Comments

One Box, Two Hens

We have a variety of places for our chickens to lay but, being chickens, there is only one place they are willing to lay. Which creates a problem if you have 2 chickens who get the urge at the same time. This happened recently when Molly had settled in for a nice relaxing lay just before Holly, well ahead of her in the pecking order, realised it was her time too.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the scene. Holly was quite noisy and pacing in front of the box. She would hop in and out. She’d peck Molly who just ducked her head and stayed put. When confronted by Holly outside of the nest box, Molly runs away. Fascinating.

Finally, Holly couldn’t wait any longer and gave up her bullying approach. Nothing for it but for 2 hens to share the one box. They tried right then left, over and under, behind, in front. It was pretty darned funny to watch.

But all’s well that ends well. One Box, Two Hens became One Box, Two Eggs.

Below is the scene captured on my camera phone. Sorry for the quality, it is a phone and doesn’t have a flash. Not that I’d have used one anyway, the girls hate the flash and I wouldn’t want to disturb their laying – they were taking care of that all by themselves🙂

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Holly, on the right, trying to boot Molly out of the box. Lenny is curious about his girls, but not curious enough to intervene.

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Molly, now on the right, knows that she wants to be under Holly – low is good when you’re about to drop an egg. Holly is none too pleased.

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Ah, that’s better, Molly, now underneath, is content. I somehow doubt Holly is.

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Holly doesn’t have time for more jostling. She stands up, puffs up (she was even bigger for a moment – I was too slow on the shutter) and drops an egg.

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Mission accomplished. Holly can shrink back to normal size and rejoin the flock. Molly can pull Holly’s egg under her and go back to thinking about which came first, the chicken or the egg – or the nest box.

 

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Beekeeping Class

On Saturday, a beekeeping class was held here on the farm and in our apiary. Bruce was teaching the class and said hubby and I could join in. The course is generally held over 2 days but was crunched into 1 which made it a bit overwhelming for the beginners but everyone went away with some good information, lots of motivation and a trick or 2 to make beekeeping that little bit easier.

We started in the training room listing to some theory.

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It’s always good to listen to an expert, but it’s even better to go out into the apiary with an expert for a bit of show and tell. We broke up into 3 groups to open the hives and check out a few things.
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We found our queens and put them in cages to keep them safe then spent a bit too much time in the hives poking around learning. I’m sure the poor bees just wanted us to leave them alone but they were very nice and didn’t sting, just felt sorry for themselves I imagine.
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The least lucky hive was forced into a (very tiny) artificial swarm  so we could practice catching one. Under that little cluster of bees is a queen in a cage tied to a branch. They must be wondering why she left their nice, warm home in the middle of winter!
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Since my last post about a dying colony, we lost another one. I talked with Bruce about this and he wasn’t overly concerned but did acknowledge that it isn’t great to lose so many requeened hives. The hives we checked were all healthy but much smaller than you’d expect at this time of year. The pesticide poisoning is probably to blame. They all have plenty of stores, no signs of disease, no pests, just are weak. Bring on the spring is all I can say.

In the course I met a couple of local women who are keen to get going with honey bees and I think Frank and I will be mentoring them. This is one of those unforseen consequences of becoming a beek, you meet some great people and find yourself one day moving beyond asking, learning and soaking up all the knowledge you can, to sharing, advising and helping people who are not quite as experienced in the world of bees as you are. Listening to an expert is great, show and tell is better, having a mentor is best.

Posted in bees | Tagged | 8 Comments

Cats and Cubbies

IMG_5621-002I don’t post very often about my cat, Adler, because he’s kind of boring. Let’s face it, cats sleep a lot. And when Adler’s not sleeping, he ignores me, unless he wants food or to be petted or to be let out/in. You don’t absolutely need something goofy to happen to warrant a post but it helps. Adler is rarely goofy.  He walks around in a state of dignified aloofness. He acts like he wishes he lived alone and, even more than that, he often pretends he does live alone. So his antics are not as funny as those of my dog or my chickens and his dramas are not as stressful as my chickens or my bees – so why break out the camera? And I kind of have a rule, no photo, no post.

Then I got out a couple of boxes to put stuff in (as you do) and Adler jumped up on the table to see what these great new cubby houses were all about. He hopped into the smaller one (that I hadn’t put stuff in) and tumbled with it to the floor. I figured that would be the end of that but nooooo, Adler crawled in and stared at the dog in one of his, “I’m invincible and I’ll scratch your nose if you don’t believe me – please don’t believe me,” stares.

Rusty did believe him and left him alone and eventually Adler wandered away giving me the chance to put the box back up on the table – on its side this time just in case. Turns out that was a good call on my part because Adler just couldn’t stay away.

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Today’s cubby, we’ll see about tomorrow

For a nanosecond I considered leaving the box indefinitely on the table so he would have a permanent cubby but then I remembered that Adler’s infatuation with boxes (or any cubby) is short lived. Two, three days max of crawling in and staring out and he’s over it.

Basket for sleeping in - so 2013

Basket for sleeping in – so 2013

That happened with the lovely basket he slept in for the first few months after we adopted him. Then, suddenly, he wasn’t interested. I thought maybe he was getting too fat to fit but I threw my shirt in there before bed one night only to wake up to find him sleeping on it. Very funny, Adler.

If I ignore her will she go away?

If I ignore her will she go away?

What cracks me up is how he tries not to look at me when I’m looking at him, even if I make silly noises that he really wants to stare at. Especially if I stalk him with the camera. It’s not that he’s camera shy, he’s just so bored with me thinking he’s beautiful – he knows he’s beautiful🙂

He was fascinated with this paper box in the little corner beside the fireplace. He was pretty much out of sight, especially if he turned his back. Ah, a cat’s logic.

I don't see you - you can't see me

I don’t see you – you can’t see me

Adler’s penchant for finding a cubby to crawl into started before we adopted him and moved to the farm. We had mulched around the base of a cumquat tree and the chickens kept scratching the mulch and spreading it around the lawn so we put a low chicken wire fence around the tree. Heaps of times I spotted Adler napping in that little outdoor basket.

Poor Adler, back then all of his cubbies were outdoors because he was a stray and no one loved him enough to let him in their house. He had to make due with whatever was at hand, including our neighbour’s flower pots.

No roof, no walls but it will have to do.

No roof, no walls but it will have to do.

 

 

 

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Coop Scoop

All 6 chickens roaming the full run together

All 6 chickens roaming the full run together

 

There’s always something happening down at the chicken run. I am, depending on various factors, amused, saddened, worried, fascinated, pleased and a whole gamut of other emotions by my 6 chickens. You can thank me now for sparing you the daily details, I realise the level of interest in my chooks is inversely proportional to your distance to their chicken run.

But, it’s time for a little update because:

IMG_5889-001a) For the first time ever, last week my 5 hens gave me 5 eggs in one day – twice! Remember, 2 of them are almost 2 1/2 years old and 3 of them are over 3 so they aren’t spring chickens any more and shouldn’t be laying every day – especially not in winter.

b) My 2 flocks are basically, almost totally, for all practical purposes, integrated.

c) Molly looks like she’s going to make it – she’s been at death’s door a couple of times in the past month and I didn’t want to write about it.

So, this post summarises what’s going on down in the coops – yes, I still have 2, my flocks may roam the run together (but separately) but they sleep in the coops they are used to. a) is obvious. For the others, I’ll try to be brief.

Lenny and Henny, together at last. Rusty remains a worry though!

Lenny and Henny, together at last. Rusty remains a worry though!

b) Flock integration. Back in May I posted about how Lenny (my rooster) beat up Henny (his sister/ex-lover) when I tried to reintegrate them after a period of separation. When Henny got her feathers back I thought we could try putting the 2 small flocks back together but Frank was overseas and I wasn’t keen to try merging them on my own. Since then, Henny broke into Lenny’s run and the 2 of them seemed like old friends again (whew). Then Molly got sick and I didn’t want to heap more suffering on the poor thing. But Frank’s trip has been extended, and Molly is in a good place so I decided to give it a go on my own.

Yesterday I opened the wire between the 2 halves of the run and watched. There was very little pecking, an increased amount of raping (Lenny was clearly happy to have a harem of 5 – I know he dreams of 10), no serious abuse (I didn’t have to use my rake once) and it all looked good. I think 3 1/2 months of staring at each other through the wire means they’ve already done most of the sizing up. Penny and Henny tend to charge and peck the little girls (smaller but older then Penny & Henny) whenever they are eating or laying or just existing nearby. But it’s a quick peck, the girls flee, Lenny steps in the middle, returns the peck, and peace is restored. The problem is the laying. The little girls settle into their box and Penny comes over to chase them out. So, for a while anyway, I’ll keep an eye on it and separate the birds for a couple hours a day if the littlies show signs of wanting to lay (no signs today – the stress of the merge might be stopping their production boon).

c) Poor, sickly Molly. On the 4th of July I went down to the run to find Molly wobbly. She couldn’t stand and had a hard time getting her head in the food and water containers because she tipped over. It was like she’d had a stroke. I started making her a mash of hot water, layer pellets, honey and  yogurt and plopping it in the run. Obviously all the chickens got the same treats (1 plop per chicken to give them all a chance – especially Molly who was chased constantly from the goodies by Holly). Everyone loved it and gobbled it all up. I gave it to them first thing in the morning and just before bed. It’s winter here and a warm crop before bed helps keep the chickens warm overnight and a warm crop in the morning helps warm them up just like a bowl of porridge does for humans. Plus all that good yogurt and honey should strengthen my poor sick girl.

Molly contorted couldn't lie down and leaned against her feeder

Molly contorted couldn’t lie down and leaned against her feeder

Molly recovered partially – at least she stopped falling down – but then started twisting up. At first she leaned a little when she stood but, over time, her body curved to the left and her head to the right so she was a tight “s” shape. She napped a lot through all of this (or at least closed her eyes) but it got very sad when she stopped lying down entirely – I assume a growth of some sort made it too painful or perhaps stopped her from being able to breathe if she laid down. Then she stopped eating and drinking for a couple of days. I couldn’t interest her in treats and if I tried holding something out to her she’d stagger to the opposite end of the run as if she just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.

Molly napping - she at least can lie down again

Molly napping – at least she can lie down again

This has gone on for over a month now; back and forth, worse then better, it’s been a roller coaster ride. Based on Lil mentioning that she gave a chicken with tumours Vitamin C, I started mixing vitamin C powder in the chicken’s water and mash – which couldn’t help Molly if she didn’t eat or drink. Then she had a bit of a rebound and started eating. Now she naps a lot and can’t seem to hold her eyes open for very long but she’s eating and drinking and scratching in the run some every day (Molly thanks you Lil). She’s not 100% but hopefully is going to make it. At one point I seriously sharpened the hatchet. I am still distressed by the incident but will say that Molly wasn’t harmed, just my nerves.

I think Molly has Marek’s disease which is apparently very wide spread, untreatable and lives in an area even without animal hosts for several months. Plus it’s spread by birds and rats so eradicating it is nigh on impossible. The upshot is that Molly will probably have ongoing bouts of bad days for her entire life which probably will be short. And the other chickens have all been exposed so will cope or not depending on their general health. Such is life.

Which is where things stand right now in my 2 coops/1 run. I have 5 healthy birds and one sickish girl. She was sickly when we adopted her and, at the time, I thought she wouldn’t live long. But she seems to be a stayer, I hope she continues to be so!

 

 

Posted in Chickens | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Bee Club Talk

IMG_5890I’m a member of the Nepean Amateur Beekeeper’s Association and we meet every month to talk about bees and check out the club hives. Since it’s winter, we aren’t opening the hives and so it’s a good time to think about what’s going on with bees outside of our little universe. This month, Shona Blair, the CEO of the Wheen Bee Foundation, the mob that owns the farm where I live and work as caretaker, came out to the farm and gave us a great presentation. The club got information and a field trip all rolled into one.

Shona talked for an hour and her presentation was split into 2 major areas: the health benefits of honey (something she worked on while getting her PhD) and the status of the honey bee in Australia. I must confess to being more fascinated with the health stuff but I must admit that the status of the bees is more critical. Ain’t that the way it goes…

I won’t list everything she told us (since it would take an hour to read) but here are my highlights:

Health stuff

  • IMG_9904Honey works to heal wounds and burns on several fronts including (but not limited to): starving the bacteria of water, providing hydrogen peroxide as an antibacterial agent and actually assisting regeneration of tissue (something no lab produced medicine can do). A lot of research is being done to investigate which types of honey work best and how this treatment can be applied in modern hospital situations.
  • Honey has been shown to work better than sugar in studies performed in Africa where children suffering diarrhoea are a given standard rehydration treatment using honey instead of sugar. Since honey is often more readily available in remote areas than refined sugar, this is a real win-win.
  • Everyone has heard about probiotics for gut health but honey is actually a prebiotic (a new word for me). That means it feeds the good bacteria in our gut and helps them grow and thrive. What’s very cool about this is that the prebiotic aspect works with any honey – it can be heated (like in cakes or a hot cup of tea) or filtered without losing this property. A tablespoon of honey a day helps keep the doctor away!

Bee Status Stuff

  • IMG_2362We all know (at least those of us who are bee crazy do) that, globally, 1 out of every 3 mouthfuls of food comes from a bee pollinated plant, but Shona gave some examples that aren’t commonly considered like onions and carrots. Sure, we don’t need bees to produce the vegetable but, if we want seeds so we can have food next year too, we need bees to pollinate the flowers.
  • In Australia, nearly two-thirds of agricultural production benefits from honey bee pollination (now that’s an economic fact that should cause people to sit up and take notice).
  • Over the past 5 years, the number of commercial beekeepers in Australia has declined by almost 30%. While backyard beekeeping is becoming more popular, commercial beekeeping is on the decline. Adverse weather causing bee deaths and low yields combined with loss of habitat and pesticide poisoning events is taking its toll. And the prices honey attracts just aren’t keeping up, especially with imports undercutting local production. It’s a dangerous decline that could leave our agriculture in a bad way, only worsened if varroa ever hits our shores and wipes out feral bee populations which currently do a lot of the heavy lifting in the pollination game.
  • There is some good news though, promising research is being done in many areas, some of it sponsored by the Wheen Bee Foundation, that will help beekeepers and bees alike. Let’s hear it for those leading the charge in helping bees which have survived for scores of millions of years in spite of, not because of, humans.

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