Monday, February 15, 2010

First Day of the Beekeeping Year

Happy New Year! This year the beginning of the beekeeper's calendar coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day. Furthermore, it was a sunny 15 Degrees Celsius in Vancouver. Time to clean up the back porch to get ready to grow seedlings!

We opened up the hive and found some mold had formed on the top, so we scraped it off and took out one frame all together and replaced it with another. We put on a pollen patty I had just defrosted and a jar of sugar water. The bees were very curious--landing on us and flying into the house as soon as I opened the door. I had to perform three rescue missions. You can see where they landed on J's beekeeping suit below. There were young bees practicing their orientation flights in front of their hives and others bringing in bright yellow crocus pollen and white/light yellow pollen from cherry blossoms.

Behold, the happy beekeeper!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spring Ridge Common

When I was in Victoria last week I visited a unique garden in Fernwood called Spring Ridge Common. It has an interesting mix of herbs and plants that can be used for materials such as willow and bamboo. According to the LifeCycles website:

Springridge Commons is a productive food forest designed with permaculture principles and open to everyone. The site was formerly a gravel lot, and now, thanks to sheet mulching, is flourishing with mulberries, cherry, plum and fig trees, gumi and logan-berry bushes, sage, oregano, mugwort, milk thistle currants, rose bushes and other medicinal, edible, mostly native plants to nourish the community and the soil.

Someone has decorated the arch with this cute homemade heart.

This willow has been harvested, which keeps its size manageable. It's a wonderful renewable resource.

This rosemary is actually from another community garden, but I was amazed to see it in bloom at this time of the year. Apparently it has been so mild that the banana tree in Beacon Hill Park has produced fruit this year.

This is what I was really curious to see--black bamboo. It's really lovely and I think we should plant some at the MOP garden.

Early Spring Weeding

It's time to clear out this carpet of chickweed invading the lavender in the MOP bee garden! Another woman will be taking over the bed this year and growing paper plants. I'm so pleased that the garden will be put to good use by an ecologically minded artist.

First we raked the oak leaves off the bed and pitched them into the compost, then we got out the serious hand tools and tackled the dandelions. We saved some of the larger roots to dry for tea.

I think we'll move this culinary sage into the herb bed.

We found this beautiful beetle hiding in the soil under the lavender. I'll have to look it up in my bug books.

While we were just finishing up, the sun came up and there was a very odd little warm, misty shower at the same time. It was uncanny, but it made us both smile. It feels like such a relief to get back into the soil after the winter.

I'm happy to report I saw a honeybee gathering pollen in a crocus last Thursday. I love an early spring!