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.

For the rest of this article visit http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-23187-a-colony-in-crisis.html

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Effects of Using a Smoker While Working with a Colony

People are now asking whether giving the bees a few puffs of smoke is damaging them, getting them too stressed.  Here is my answer...

My long experience is that the smoke is not damaging, if it is done right.  I just give a little puff or two when I lift the outer cover, to let them know that I am coming.  It's the 'door bell' for me. 

When the bees experience smoke their instinct tells them to collect instead of continuing with the daily tasks. This comes as a survival instinct when the forest is on fire. They collect and take in all the honey they can in case they have to leave their home. Of course this does not happened when you do it like I explained above; the bees don't storm to the honey, stressed about a possible fire.  They go on with their work. But they know now that I am coming.

Important: I spend a lot of time in the fall collecting and drying the proper fuel; the fuel I use are dried and chopped up 'weeds' like Sweet Annie,  basil, oregano, catnip, mint etc., we make the smoker fuel very fragrant.  Opening up the hive without the 'door bell' can be more of a stress for the bees.  An alternative to the smoke is a few sprays of honey-tea. This of course has also disadvantages because it gets them a bit wet and sticky. Sometimes I can open up a hive without anything, depending on the time of the day, the season and the weather.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Concerns about Nuclear Radiation and our Honeybees

Spray the BD preps #500 and #501 around the hives and surrounding area; i.e. first the soil spray,#500, in the afternoon, and the silica spray #501 in the morning next day.

With Chernobyl we experienced a rapid improvement of the radiation after the sprays (not completely gone, but milder). In spiritual language: we are engaging the positive elementals to help us protect from and heal damages.

Gunther Hauk

Friday, March 4, 2011

Responce to: Next Mass Extinction an Eyeblink Away: Scientists


My thoughts after having read the above article by MCT, The Age (Australia).

Believe it or not: it is only here on Earth that we can fulfill our goal in evolution; and the other kingdoms' evolution is tied into our own!  Our materialistic, bottom-line oriented mindset is the underlying cause: get what you can out of the earth, the animals, plants and your fellow human beings whatever you can!
Now it's our beloved honeybees which are under grave attack from the poisons we put into our soils and food supply, but also from the exploitive beekeeping methods developed with no regard to the honeybees' very own needs. "When will we ever learn?"  What do we change while there is still time?
Gunther Hauk

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spikenard Farm News: Mid-Winter 2011 Issue N0. 10

Dear Bee-Friends,

We hope you all had a good, inwardly strengthening winter time so far.  We send our warm thanks to all of you who have supported our venture in response to our holiday appeal letter, to the Kickstarter video project and with the screenings of "Queen of the Sun".  This heart-warming response not only helps us proceed with our work, but also gives us so much confidence that our efforts are understood and needed.
Please check our website for our educational offerings this spring and summer, also for our volunteer work days and trips out of town for screenings, talks and workshops.

Grass-root activities in the last months.
 So much has happened for the bees in the last months in the petitions against the use of neonicotinoids.  How wonderful what a strong grass-root movement can accomplish.  The battle is not won yet, but the pressure is applied here in the USA, following the countries where these chemicals have been banned: France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia. However, we will not be surprised if the chemical companies will soon attempt to befriend and soothe us with "safe" chemical solutions, so let's be awake.

 We are grateful for each and every one of these activists, and at the same time must say, that the cause for CCD goes far beyond the chemical poisons.  These are just part of the mono-culture, mineral fertilizer, GMO, bottom-line mentality of our agriculture, of which the honeybees are an integral part.  Just think of the tons of GMO corn syrup the colonies are fed, and the amount of monocultures they are forced to pollinate.

Those of you who know us at Spikenard Farm, will know that our efforts go towards intensifying our observation and understanding of the honeybee colony, out of which come the creative answers for her care.  Certainly the invigoration, diversification and healing of her surrounding and food supply is part of this path.
Suggestions for the seasonal transition
Looking at the bee colonies at this time of the year, I would like to make following remarks and give some suggestions.

The beekeeper's heart jumps with joy to see clouds of bees in front of their hives flying out to go to the 'toilet' on a warm day in January or February.  The snow is speckled with golden brown dots, a good sign.  New beekeepers are often worried about all the dead bees they see in front of the hive at such times.  This is normal.  The workers that hatched from September on will die off in winter and early Spring.

Checking for the honey supply is an absolute must at this time on such a warm day.  With some experience, lifting the hive will let you know whether they have enough.  Or you can take a quick look by lifting the inner cover a bit, since this is where the cluster normally sits by now.  In case you need to supplement the supplies, a quart of dense syrup of white sugar/honey mixture in chamomile tea, with a pinch of salt, can be given by adding an empty hive body, in which the quart jar stands holey lid facing down, close to the cluster.  In case of Nosema (dark brown spots all over the frames), a pint of honey in chamomile tea is advisable and can help them to overcome the illness.

If overwintering in two deeps and one super, February is the time to take off the lower deep, which can be cleaned up and added above the remaining deep in mid- to late April.  This way the dark comb in the deep brood boxes get cleaned up every two years. Even more important, the bees are tight and warm during the cold months when the brood has to be warmed to 95 F!  This is one of the factors helping to prevent foulbrood.
Giving a bit more airflow is now important for preventing a buildup of moisture in the hive.

And...don't forget to go to your hive(s), express your gratitude for their wonderful work and being, sing them a song, and give them a prayer.  Rest assured:
the BIG BEE receives your blessings.

- Gunther

For the complete Newsletter please go to Mid-Winter 2011 Issue No. 10

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sustainable Biodynamic Beekeeping


Below you will find a link to our brochure for the upcoming workshops being offered at Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary by Presenter Gunther Hauk. For more information email us at info@spikenardfarm.org

 Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary - Bee Workshops 2011