Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall 2012 Newsletter

P1040618 - Version 3

…The summer's life has yielded
Itself into my keeping.

-Rudolf Steiner "The Calendar of the Soul

FALL 2012 Newsletter (for the complete newsletter follow this link)

In this issue:

  • Summer Reflections
  • Capital Campaign Update
  • Summer Highlights
  • Reflections from our Staff

Dear Friends,

Looking back on this summer, we can say that the tone set early on in the year––bees collecting pollen in January/February and the extreme amount of swarming in Spring (seemingly all over the country)--found its rightful, harmonious continuation and amplification in the ensuing months. We can summarize this summer with three words:
busy – productive – rewarding
Of course, the swarms and splits kept us occupied providing homes, inspecting, adding more boxes or top bars, etc. Our "old girls" allowed us again this year to harvest absolutely wonderful honey. We are pleased when it scratches the throat a bit, a sign of real/unadulterated honey.
With the great help of Jane, our sanctuary assistant and coordinator, much expansion and growth was possible in the gardens. Thanks to her hard work, the Sanctuary had much to offer this season, a true feast for the eyes with the beautiful flowerbeds - and for the mouth with the delicious biodynamic vegetables.

The work on our tutorial DVD, which was stopped in February by James not being able to continue with it, went through a real crisis until we found the video firm "VPS Studios" in Roanoke this summer. A great team is working on it right now. One good outcome of the delay is that we had a whole new bee season for more shots. We feel relieved that the incredibly difficult and creative activity of editing has begun and look forward to the DVD release date.
As we head into fall, our main concern lies in getting all the hives ready for the winter. Perennial flower beds as well as the vegetable garden also need to get 'winterized'. Workshops and screenings will take place in Tennessee, on Long Island and in Wisconsin at the Biodynamic Conference. Next month we also look forward to all of our board members joining us in Floyd for lots of work preparing for the following year.

Gunther & Vivian

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Warm Winter = Bee Tea

In many places this winter has brought temperatures way above normal. The bees have been flying and not really getting anything, at the most a little bit of pollen. They don't create the quiet cluster and are feeding too much on their winter stores. It is very important to check the hives for food supply at this time, first by lifting the hive from the back; if this doesn't give you a good estimate, you will have to quickly open the hive on a warmer day and check the supply. If you have to feed, don't forget to do this with a healing tea and honey found at our online store.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Zombie" Fly Parasite Killing Honeybees

Several questions and comments arise concerning the news about the parasitic flies:

* When news like these are broadcast nationwide, implicating that the cause for CCD has possibly been found, we can't help becoming suspicious, questioning whether this is set up by a scientist who would like to get funded. This happened already; remember when this guy found "the cause" to CCD by discovering a combination of virus and fungus. A week later the news came that he had connections to Monsanto and the chemical company Bayer that certainly would have been kind enough to work on a " solution".

* Another important question is, to what extent these flies were active on bees already years ago? I could imagine that some of this activity was going on but never noticed, because it didn't occur in great numbers.

* When we look into the nature of parasites generally, we can say that these beings are part of the dark forces on this earth. They don't 'work' in a positive way for the good of nature like other animals (and yet, in the end they bring out positive results by being our alarm-system for something not in order). We ourselves are prone to parasites since our connection to nature and life rhythms have been destroyed to such a great degree. Who still has healthy eating habits or even access to healthy food? On the farms sheep, goats, chickens, cattle are kept on too small an acreage, the animal diversity is missing and the feed most of them get is genetically modified and grown to yield quantity instead of quality; in other words, all the bottom-line driven ways of keeping these animals have lowered their natural resistance and let the parasites thrive.

In case of the honeybees: they have a weakened immune system due to all the poisons in nature, the reduced diversity of food supply and, of course, all the nasty things we have invented to get more honey. The most serious impact on the colony's health is the way queens are bred commercially from worker larvae. In Rudolf Steiner's bee lectures it becomes clear that the queen is closely connected to the sun-forces due to her short gestation time (16 days). The workers have fallen out of that sun-influence to some degree; the drones are fully earthly beings (hey, they are males!). By breeding queens from worker larvae over 100 years, we have reduced this pure 'sun-being' to have more and more earthly qualities. The manipulated queen has a lowered (spiritual) light-emittence which negatively influences the health and vitality of the entire colony. Therefore these parasitic forces of darkness have better access to the bees. Varroa mites, tracheal mites, small African hive beetle, and now flies!?

* The most important question is, whether the present scientific research will help solve the problem? One thing is certain: the scientists and institutions who are getting just about all of the funding to solve the "mystery" of CCD, aren't going to find a solution for these problems because their search is in the same mindset that has caused the problems (as Einstein so brilliantly noticed). Most of them (with a few noble exceptions) are aiming to eradicate the symptoms (mites, bugs, viruses etc.) without searching out the true causes.

*Solution: 100% organic agriculture, sustainable beekeeping, becoming stewards of nature instead of trying to bend it to our profits. Of course the biodynamic method is the best because it enlivens and heals. There is no way around this!! And be sure, this is going to be a long process; there is no quick cure, no silver bullet.

Gunther & Vivian

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Floyd Artisan Trail Tour

The Floyd Artisan Trail Tour is a week-long tour featuring 65 sites across Floyd County with activities at artisan home studios; galleries and shops; wineries; farms and farm markets; and restaurant and lodging sites.

Site activities include the sales and exhibit of fine art, hand-craft and farm products; and demonstrations, classes and talks at sites throughout the county. Some sites will offer discounts to tour visitors with half-price wine tastings, discounts on chocolate, meals and accommodations, or complementary items- portraits, herbal products, pottery. Demonstrations and talks include paper-making, the operations of a sawmill in furniture-making, sculpture carving, weaving and spinning at an alpaca farm, herbal salves, photography, pottery and more.

An Opening Tour Exhibit will be held on Friday, June 10, 5-8pm at Troika Gallery in the Station downtown Floyd. The Exhibit will highlight participating sites and their work.

The staffed exhibit will remain open throughout the tour to provide a central town location for information, brochure and map, and updated schedule.


# 51 Spikenard Farm & Honeybee Sanctuary - We are a non-profit educational & research organization committed towards saving the honeybee—located on a beautiful hill in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tour info: Open All Tour Days. Sat & Sun 1pm talk on Colony Collapse Syndrome. Visit the bees daily in good weather.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Drones

... After looking into the life expression of the queen bee and the worker bees, let us complete the picture by observing the drones.

These plump, amiable, gentle males are physically the largest and heaviest of the three kinds of bees in the hive. They have much larger feelers and much larger eyes than the workers; you can even hold them in your hand and they won't sting you since they have no 'weapon' at all! Their very distinguished important role within the hive seems to be limited to mating with the queen. And not all of them; only a few will perform that task. They are almost the opposite of worker bees: they don't work at all, they can't even feed themselves; the workers feed them. To an observer they play a very passive role among all the 'busy bees' until the 'right' sunny day. Then they fly up about 500-600 feet into the air, hovering in mysterious locations that attract drones from a radius as wide as eight to ten miles. The young queen fly up to these 'meadows in the sky', up and beyond the cloud of drones, followed by the lightest and strogest of them. Up to a dozen can mate with the queen - and die. The queen returns to the hive with enough semen to normally last her a lifetime, four to five years....

From Towards Saving the Honeybee by Gunther Hauk

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Colony in Crisis, Saving the honeybee depends on humans

A Colony in Crisis
Saving the honeybee depends on humans
By Selena Reder

On a farm in Spring Grove Village, on a windy spring morning, a group of Baby Boomers, artists and organic farmers gather in a small structure known as the “puppet barn.” They swap stories of royalty over cups of coffee sweetened with local honey. They have come to hear the teachings of a master beekeeper.
Author, biodynamic farmer and 30-year beekeeper Gunther Hauk recently visited Cincinnati for a workshop at Homeadow Song Farm and a screening of the film Queen of the Sun, directed by Taggart Siegal, at Xavier University.

Interviews in the film with Hauk, writer Michael Pollan, physicist Vandana Shiva and others reveal the wonders of the hive. They also expose the practices which threaten to destroy the honeybee.

“More and more people are waking up to what we are doing to these animals,” Hauk says.

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