Screened Bottom Board TRANSFORMED

Early in the morning Klaus and our one and half year old granddaughter go and visit the bees to see if all is well.  It was quite surprising when her mum and I came back from our walk and she was singing her own original tune–  Bees, Bees, Buzz , Bees, Bees, Buzz”!  Children are so connected to nature that it makes one think how many ways can we help them experience this important connection; especially when there is a concerted effort to have children sitting in a classroom as early an age  as possible to “learn the system” they are to perform under. The expansion of our children’s destinies into creating a new earth that they are so capable of dreaming of from within their Beings, is solidly connected to that happening with the biosphere and all the beings that share this Space.   Thank goodness there are many parents taking back the  sharing of the great adventure of Life  through homeschooling, Forest Schools, Nature and Science Schools, Waldorf Schools and many other wonderful approaches which keep our families and their children connected to this beautiful Earth and their Heart Centers. It is with this thought we all can relax a bit and know that there is a future of joy and peace possible ……..with bees enhancing our landscapes and babies bringing the stars and sun to shine upon that landscape.

BIODYNAMIC NATURAL BEEKEEPING DESIGN FOR SCREENED BOTTOM BOARD

As we have mentioned in several blogs about the ley lines which the bees are so connected with, we have made adjustments of the location of the hive boxes to the intersection of ley lines so the bees can enjoy the great Life Forces which the earth provides on such locations.  The next step was to get rid of the “metal” in the screened bottom boards. There were two reasons to do this; one because Demeter certification requires “NO’ metal in the hives and the most important reason, the metal screening on the bottom boards block the energetic forces which the bees would benefit from the earth.  So after trying out several very  strange and unsuccessful materials to make the bottom board screens, we have come up with this version which works well and which the bees accepted.  Since the bees have now given their approval and are happy with this design, we wish to share it with you also.  Our inspiration for this design came from the English beekeeper who wrote the book on Bees and Ley Lines (previous blog).

 

Modified Screened Bottom Board (MSBB)

Pine boards 7/8 thick by 15 1/2” by 20″glued together and marked for the slots to be cut, with the side rails showing

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Measurements for slots from right to left with the back end of the MSBB showing

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Measurements for the rails all cut to a depth of 3/8″, whereby 3/4″ represents the top and

the width between the two measurments of 3/8″ and 1/4* is according to the thickness of the material you are going to use for the drawer.

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Slots cut

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Slots routed so that the slots form a funnel shape to catch more of the falling mites

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Side rails glued, back filled in with a 3/4″x3/4″ piece of pine and drawer fitted with recycled plywood and  a scrap piece of wood for a landing platform

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MSBB side by side with the drawer assembly

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MSBB up side down with the drawer assembly installed

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EARLY SPRING PREPARATIONS

As the winds continue to blow at 50 kph and our driveway once again becomes
a quarter of a kilometer  of snowdrifts that are almost as high as I am,;we
ignore it all and like the bees we feel ,that despite what we see, Spring is
indeed preparing to present herself soon. Actually this Saturday will be the first day of Spring .

unusual winter with St Marys Bay filled with frozen ice

unusual winter with St Marys Bay filled with frozen ice

The hum in the hives is not strong and we worry about our bees and wonder if they can
hang on much longer. We are snowshoeing into the hives to check them
for snow drifts blocking their entrances and by knocking on the side of the hive and then placing our ear against  it, we can hear them hum. Thank goodness we
always leave most of the honey in the hive for the honey bees and take only the surplus. This means there are  lots of protein and carbs  in the hives for the bees if they can get to it without freezing. But the prolonged winds daily hitting against the hives, coupled with the freezing temperatures, has never been as bad as this year.

In Austria they used to have honey bee houses where the bees
lived inside a small beautiful log house with outside entrances painted different colours
for each hive.  Those bees did not have to face the winds and the snowfall like our bees are doing.  DSC09040handmade small cell foundation from homemade press

PREPARATION FOR SPRING

1.MAKING SMALL CELL FOUNDATION

100% pure small cell wax foundationDSC09039

The small- cell -size- foundation wax press which we discussed in an earlier blog is
working out very well. After melting 11 kilos of pure cappings wax and the clean- bees- wax- comb which got cracked or broke in the honey extracting process from last year; Klaus was able to make the followng:

90 large sheets of foundation
20 medium sheets of foundation

What this means is that, even if there are emergency circumstances where we help  our bees by putting in foundation, they will  have no contaminated wax in their homes.  Remembering that when things are normal in the hives the bees are drawing out their own comb  and we encourage this practice because nothing can replace the subtle creative cells that the bees themselves create. The wax smells exceptionally wonderful because there is floral and vanilla scented propolis in the wax.  Imagine the best aromatherapy session ever and you have an idea of what the bees in their home are enjoying.   Considering that propollis is one of nature’s strongest antibiotics we can assume that the  hives will be very healthy because of the aroma from this wax foundation.
2.PREPARATION FOR NATURAL BEEKEEPING WORKSHOPS BASED ON BIODYNAMIC PRINCIPLES

The notices have gone out, that we will be once again offering two Natural Beekeeping
Workshops based on Biodynamic Principles on June l7 & 18 and June 20 & 21. Lots of registrations have already taken place and the increasing interest in Natural Beekeeping based on biodynamic principles is a huge movement globally.
For details contact us at bello.bees@gmail.com

3.RESEARCH AND READING

Part of being a good Keeper of Bees requires that you are always doing your own observations in the Bee Season and research and reflection in the Off Season.  Nothing in nature is “instant soup” — it requires you to be totally Implicated with the Hive and its environment.  This is the ethical way to relate to any other living species that you are involved with, and the bees are no exception to this rule.  We recently joined IBRA (International Bee Research Association) based in the UK and all of their past magazines since 1919 to the present day are now available to us to read.  This is truly an enriching experience.

We ordered  our Maria Thun’s  “Biodynamic Sowing and Planting  Calendar for North America 2015” and we are reading it from cover to cover.  This is a necessity for biodynamic beekeeping as it has the calendar for working with the bees also.  All of the students who take our course are given a copy of this calendar.   We can highly recommend this calendar and this year it covers “ashing” to deal with mites and other hive problems.  Besides helping us planning activities for the Spring around the Bees, it also helps us to work out our planting activities at the Glasshouse.

4. PREPARING .PRESENTATION AT THE UPSKILLING EVENT APRIL 9,2015

We will be making a presentation about the World of the Honey Bee  at the Upskilling Event taking place on April 9th  in Annapolis County.  Check out this event and the Local Prosperity Conference at http://www.localprosperity.ca  Hope to meet some of you at that time. Please do introduce yourself to us.

5. WORK AT MY  WORKSHOP

Building supers, repairing damaged supers , assembling  Wooden Frames, scrubbing bottom boards,and making lists of supplies needed for the upcoming Spring season are all taking place in my woodworking shop since the beginning of the year.  Being prepared is so important for the Keeper of Bees, because when the hives make their grand entrance back into the landscape things move very quickly.  There are not enough hours in the day to keep up with the total Joyful Life Abundance Manifestation which takes place in late Spring and early Summer.

Visiting the hives themselves next week is anticipated.

FEEDING BEES & GMO FREE RECIPE

This is an amazing autumn here at Bello Uccello Apiary and the leaves have just started to change. We have heard from
several of our fellow beekeepers , that despite this mellow weather, the bees are hungry and some
bees have even changed dispositions. Well bees are sort of like people, when we get very hungry, even the most mild
mannered of us can get a bit grumpy until we have a cup of tea and a biscuit. Also there is a bit of seasonal
robbing going on within the apiary, which makes the bees on edge too.

The bees are finally rescued from the farmhouse rescue project and the new hive is back here at our out-apiary. We are making sure that these bees are disease free before they come near our apiary. The tree swarm hive is still very small, but they
are amazing! They are making beautiful small cell foundation which is eventually where we wish our entire apiary
to be. The hive is small and we are keeping our fingers crossed that this hive will survive the winter because we
would like to introduce their small cell frames into our other hives so our bees will regress back to their Natural Size,
before man intervened and decided that “bigger is better”– – well in some cases “more is less”.

Our first task, after returning from our daughter’s beautiful wedding at St. Mary Le Bow Church in London last week, was to
bring down the size of the hives to two or three supers, in preparation for winter. The honey house is now in full swing
with extraction of the honey from the frames. It tastes amazing! We will be selling our honey at the Annapolis Farmers
Xmas Market again this year. The Japanese Art Gallery in Barton, Digby Co., carries our honey on a regular basis.

Feeding Bees:
The honey in the hive is made by the bees, for the bees, and anything which is beyond this supply, is a surplus
so-to-speak,which is available to be removed for ourselves. And from those frames of honey removed for ourselves, we must
also freeze many of them for future use in feeding the bees. These frames will be chosen with lots of pollen in
them for the protein for the bees. Like us the bees require protein and carbs and complex vitamins and enzymes –
all of which is contained in their honey and pollen. To be very clear, this feeding is not to replace the honey that should remain in the hive for the bees of about 75 to 100 pounds per two-super-hive; but rather to help the bees fill in the empty brood spaces
which continue to occur during the late autumn as the bees reduce their brood size for winter. By making this
easy, the bees will use their flight gatherings to obtain the pollen which is absolutely necessary to survive the winter. Also
this late autumn feeding has lots of good natural health enhancers in it to help the bees immune system during the winter.

Autumn Syrup for Feeding

1 liter of water
2 kilos of organic white sugar (Sweet Source is 100% pure cane sugar, non GMO, and the president of the company said it is not sprayed )
1/2 cup of very strong organic chamomile tea
3 drops of food grade organic lemon oil
3 drops of food grade organic speermint oil
1 drop of organic lemongrass oil
one small pinch of grey sea salt
(optional: some organic nettles,dandelion blossoms,EM can be added into the water)
If you had some of your OWN honey, from disease free hives, you would also stir up to 10% ratio to liquid of that into this mix, but NEVER use honey to feed your bees from another source other than your own)

Dissolve the sugar into the water with the grey salt over med/high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved into the liquid.
The syrup must never bubble or boil, but must be hot enough to thoroughly integrate the crystals into the water. After removing from the heat you add the rest. You will know if it is done correctly when it cools and you have only a clear liquid and no crystals forming.

Pollen Substitute

WE DO NOT USE pollen substitute, and neither should you. If you
would like to learn more about GMO and soya there is an excellent movie being offered for free viewing at the
moment at http://geneticroulettemovie.com It says it all. Keeping Genetically Modified Organisms
out of our food supply is becoming a full time job for all of us. Let’s hope that Right to Know 37 — labeling GMOs in California
becomes law, as that will change things for the rest of us here in North America also. At the moment,
here in Canada, it is not legal to put” GMO free” on the general packaging of our food as this is seen by the powers-
that- be as being unfair business practices. We all have the Right to Know what we are feeding our families and ourselves -and no amount of profit making makes this less True.

Movie List:
If you wish to know more about your food ,we have a small list of movies worth seeing –
Queen of the Sun; We Feed the World by Wagenhoffer; Genetic Roulette

Our bees are healthy and full of Life and we wish this for everyone!

http://www.bellouccello.wordpress.com

SONG OF BEES – RESCUING BEES FROM HOUSE

Song of the Bees

Here at Bello Uccello Apiary we have been very busy this summer, with the Bees always leading the way to teach us new
things. The wonderful Blue Moon this week reminded us that perhaps it is time(once- in -a- blue moon) to make an entry onto our blog This is the first year that the apiary has the look of the skyline of Singapore or Hong Kong with seven to eight super-high hives populating the small apiary which is now located
at our cottage. Klaus is balancing himself on step ladders as he inspects the hives to see if the honey is capped over and ready to remove from the
supers.

A new challenge came to us when a lady phoned, asking if we could remove bees from her house. She had already called pest control and she really did not
wish them dead, but rather she just wanted the bees to leave the inside wall of her house, where they had set up residence last fall. So to do this operation
one must use bee psychology – convince the bees that moving to a new home one or two feet from their present abode is not all that bad. Klaus
covered the entrance hole into the wall of the house with a wire mesh cone. This enables the bees to fly out but they cannot find their way back into
the small hole at the end of the cone. He then set up a two super hive next to the cone, so that the bees who cannot return to the original hive
can start to investigate this new home which happens to have a couple of frames of capped over brood and eggs inside of it waiting for attention. Bees are Love by nature and they start to take care of these babies and eggs as soon as they find them. Soon you have the bees from the house now living in a new hive where they produced
a new queen from the eggs. Life being full of surprises, made this operation a bit more challenging. The lovely old farm house with its rock wall foundation
was not as airtight as it could be and so the bees found other entrance holes into their home and after three visits the holes were all sealed tight and
the population was living in the new supers. In the meantime the poor homeowner had watched a TV news story where someone had bees inside of their home and
the pest control ended up demolishing the entire house to the ground to get rid of the bees! Then we found in the ceiling of the verandah a hornet’s nest and they must have had the newly hatched Queen for lunch when she went out of the hive on her maiden flight because she had disappeared. So again we had to add more frames of brood and eggs. This weekend we will check to see if the new Queen has emerged and lived and if so the cone will be removed from the house. This will enable the bees, which now identify with the new hive and Queen ,go back into the house cavity and steal all of the honey and bring it back to their new home. The house entrance hole will be then sealed, after the honey has been removed by the bees and this all means that there will not be that food source left there for ants, rodents or perhaps another scouting honeybees to find. It never ceases to amaze us how respecting Life and working with Nature brings Solutions where Life is enhanced. The bees have a new home
where they will be added to our out apiary, the honey will be used to feed the hive for the winter and perhaps there may even be some extra to sell !

We love to go to the farmers market to sell our honey. It is the time when we get to talk with people about the honeybees and to share with them why our
honey is special and some of the reasons why the honeybee is being killed. We also like the look on their faces when they sample the honey for the first time – tasting natural wildflower honey made by happy bees raised by biodynamic principles is a treat that we hope all of you have the opportunity to experience.

http://www.bellouccello.wordpress.com

QUEEN “MUM” BEE LEAVES HOME or REBIRTH OF THE HIVE

REBIRTH OF THE HIVE , or in regular language, swarming season has arrived here at Bello Uccello Apiary. It usually happens after May l7th here
in Nova Scotia, and it makes for a very busy time for a keeper of bees who uses biodynamic beekeeping principles . For the 21st century-
regular- commercial- beekeeper swarming just means a loss of bees and trouble and so they split the hives before this happens. For the biodynamic
beekeeper the swarming is an ancient and respected part of the hive life cycle. Swarming
is when the bees in the hive have decided it is time for the Queen Mum to leave home and set up a new hive elsewhere.
Before this happens, the Queen Mum Bee has been forced, or tricked through instinct, to make some Queen cells which the worker bees
will protect and feed with royal jelly so that one of them will become a new Queen for the original hive. The first out of the cell usually wins
as she will search out the other cells with queens in them and kill them. They even make a loud piping song as this rather
brutal and primative ritual takes place – maybe its a dirge . Sometimes the mother and the daughter can live in the
same hive, but you know this doesn’t usually workout in life as there is only one kitchen and someone has to be in charge:-} So swarming is
a wonderful thing which happens when usually the Queen Mum flies towards the sun and hundreds of bees from the hive go with her. There is
something so moving in watching this rebirth happen – deep, mysterious and awesome. At the end this results in two hives.

What happened at our workshop this past weekend was amazing in that, just as we were entering the apiary to do a hive inspection, we had a Swarming take place.
The bees were very cooperative and just swarmed onto a small apple tree in the apiary. This is a picture of Klaus shaking the swarm into a bucket.
We could not have planned such a wonderful event for the training – the participants had the opportunity to participate in the hiving of the swarm.
We have named the hive Friends 2012 and with any luck that hive will provide a split for one of them for next year. This whole thing that I am describing to you
is a generational lineage with mothers and daughters carrying traits and genetics forward from one hive to the next. This is a healthy and natural
way to have new queens and new hives. What beekeepers have been practising for the past 100 years, that has contributed to the degradation of the
gene pool of the bees and therefore to their weakened immune system, is Queen breeding. The majority of Queen bees now come from a small handful of
Queen breeders. Imagine if humans all decided to mate with a handful of females – what on earth would we as humans look like? The Queen breeders also
decided to breed out of the species propolis production as an inconvenient glue in the hive, therefore removing the amazing antibiotic protection for the bees which propolis brings to the bees and also the swarming tendency . Combine this situation with regular antibiotic and drug treatment in the hive and what we have
successfully created is very weak beehives and very super strong pests and diseases.

DSC05409 Klaus shaking the swarm into his “bee catcher” which is basically a plastic bucket with some additions made to it.

Here are the participants of our Natural Beekeeping Workshop for Beginners based on Biodynamic Principles which took place May 26-27 in Plympton,NS. Canada We had a great workshop and
without exception, each person was a “natural” at being a keeper of bees. The conversations were good, the weather cooperated, the food was yummy, the hives were more than cooperative
and here at Bello Uccello apiary we will look forward to working with these new friends as keeper of bees ,as they establish their own apiaries.

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Here at Bello Uccello Apiary the bees are still flying around on those wonderful sunny days we are having, and at “the robber baron hive”, as we affectionately call our very strong Italian bee hive that loves to rob the other hives in the apiary, there were hundreds of new baby bees born this week and they were out doing their first orientation flights. We did an experiment on one of the hives and put blue styrofoam inside the cover to see if the bees liked the insulation. This method has been mentioned on many websites. The result was that the bees immediately started to gnaw the foam into tiny pieces and take the blue styrofoam out of their house and dump it on the ground. They do that with anything they don’t like in the hive. Interesting, that this “inert substance” which we humans all put in our homes for insulation and which is not supposed to affect our air quality, does not meet the building code standards of the bees here at Bello Uccello. So we learned one more thing from the bees about the “inert blue styrofoam” and helped the bees with the removal of it from the hive. We will never quite look at the blue foam without questioning what it is doing to our air and to us. All the hives now have wonderful biodynamic/organic oat straw insulating their lids. We purchased the straw from the biodynamic farm in Bear River – Bear River Farm.The surplus straw is going in the cold frames where we grow our winter greens and veggies here at Bello Uccello Estate.

WHEN IS HONEY NOT HONEY – when it does not have any traces of pollen in it. Today we received an email from our provincial beehive inspector, referring to the following website:
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/

This is worth reading from the beginning to the end, if you wish to have information on what is happening to the honey which you are probably eating. Nothing in the article was news to us, other than the statistics on the sheer volume of this ultra filtered, corn syrup laden, “edible product” which is labeled as honey, which is out there. This ultra filtered honey does not have the pollen and the propolis and the enzymes which unpasteurized and gravity filtered honey has. We all eat honey because it is good for us and it tastes good too. But like the thousands of acres of “GMO inedible corn” which now grows in Idaho, so goes the millions of pounds of honey from China and India etc which has everything from heavy metals, illegal antibiotics,and perhaps even some corn syrup from that inedible corn. We call this particular phenomena which is happening on a global level: the Food Wars. Whether we know it or not, we are all involved in the Food Wars. Knowing the facts on what is involved to make pure wildflower honey allows you to ask the right questions before you purchase that jar of honey.

Here is what we do to make one jar of honey:Stressless Conditions for the bees and their hive, as that is where they make the honey: 1. no antibiotics or any other chemicals are given to the bees 2. no chemicals, pesticides, herbicides mitecides are in the apiary or around the hives 3. no pollination services where the bees are moved to feed on mono cultured crops – the beehives stay in the apiary . 4. no plastics in hives Honey frames taken to honey house: 5. bees make the honey and we take the frames to the honey house directly from the hives and within a few hours we have extracted the frames. 6. the frames are spun around in a stainless steel drum and the honey is thrown out of the cells where it was made by the bees 7. the honey drops to the bottom of the drum where a tap is located to drain off the honey through a mesh net, which is like a jam making sieve, into a pail. The honey is not pumped or artificially pushed, it is gravity poured. What stays behind in the net is small bee parts which you would not wish to find in your honey and some larger pieces of wax, but the bottled honey is full of pollen, propolis and even some wax. 8. when the pail is full we pour the honey into clean glass preserve jars and screw on the lids.
Unpasteurized honey: no heating in the process which would kill the enzymes etc
AUTUMN AT BELLO UCCELLO ESTATE Wildflower honey: bees fly in the wilds of nature and find nectar and pollen from natures diversity, as it comes into season. when you eat mono-crop honey, like lavender honey, apple blossom honey, blueberry honey,or any other mono-crop, you are eating honey from bees which have been exposed to many stressors in order to make that honey. How do I find good honey? After reading the website noted above and reading our notes on how natural, real wildflower honey is made, you are now prepared to ask the right questions. Visit the place where your honey comes from, buy local honey from your area, ask the beekeeper about his bees and his honey, buy organic honey if you can’t directly deal with a local, known supplier, and better still, buy biodynamic honey because they have the highest standards in the treatment of the honey bee.

NATURAL BEEKEEPING WORKSHOP ATTENDED BY YOUNGEST PARTICIPANTS YET

BEEKEEPING WORKSHOP - KNOCK KNOCK WHO IS THERE? 1000's

Here at Bello Uccello we certainly were busy last week with our first workshop.  The Natural Beekeeping workshop brought in  people from different walks of life and different parts of the Province.  The problem of the demise of the honeybee is a global one and attending this

ASSEMBLING NATURAL BEEKEEPING HIVE SYSTEM BY PARTICIPANTS AT WORKSHOP

workshop to become part of a positive global response to this problem,  were people originally  from Newfoundland, Cornwall England, Glasgow Scotland, Manitoba, Bear River, Halifax and Austria . Just like  the hive itself has babies, we had two absolutely adorable baby twins attending the entire workshop with their parents. The sincerity of the group was remarkable and after ploughing through the “natural science part ie the life cycle of the bee” they were game to put together the hive system which we have developed for the health of the bees and to investigate a live hive. After a day of   no stings, lots of Sissiboo Coffee, homemade muffins and food, discussions,  and more presentations by Klaus, we drove off to Digby Neck’s Lake Midway for a community potluck supper.  Luckily we had lots of our Shaker Baked Beans to share and a veggie tray and we sat on our wool car blankets and had good conversations, met good people and this  finished the day off “Nova Scotia style”.  It was the God’s being kind to us that made the rain happen during the night so that the next day it was sunny and the  lessons could take place in the apiary at Bello Uccello.  The bees were very cooperative!  The temperature in the bee suits is something to get used to and it was very hot in the apiary and in the honey house.  Two hours past the time when the course was scheduled to conclude everyone swarmed back to the workshop facility for farewells and departures.  The feedback of the workshop  was very positive and with the help of these new friends and all the others around the globe who are embracing biodynamic principles and natural beekeeping and sustainable Life practices,  we believe that mankind can transform the world.  Was it Ghandi who said “change yourself and you change the world”.

NOTICE:  The last Natural Beekeeping Course for Beginners and for those who wish to change from chemical beekeeping to biodynamic beekeeping, for this year, will take place September 8th – 9th at Gilberts Cove, Nova Scotia.  The cost of the course is $200.00 inclusive of meals and course materials.  If you are thinking of becoming a keeper of bees  in the Spring, this course would be helpful to you, as we teach about the bee, its needs, and a system which will help  you to provide a healthy bee environment. Call 902-837-1030 to book.