Updated: Apr 5, 2019
Thoughts from Jenni:
"We have ordered two bee colonies and all the required accessories to successfully keep them. We've kept bees in the past but it has been a struggle. One year, yellow jackets invaded the hives and killed our bees. Another season, we watched from the house as our colony swarmed into the high branches of a nearby oak tree and then disappeared into the woods. I am super excited that we are trying again for so many reasons. Bees are fascinating little creatures...a tangible miracle. We need their help to produce food and it feels good to offer them safe pollen so they can have a healthy hive. I love watching them float from flower to flower, heavy with those little yellow panniers of pollen. Oh, and I LOVE honey! And deep down in my soul I know we humans are responsible for their frightening struggles.
Thinking about their arrival has strengthened my conviction to avoid all chemical fertilizers and pesticides on our flowers. I recently read somewhere that only 3% or so of insects are destructive to plants or "bad" bugs... Who knew? I'm not willing to spray poison on our flowers. It's not worth it to risk the health of a single good bug to produce the perfect unblemished bloom. All the players of nature are part of what makes farming so magical...worms, spiders, caterpillars, bees, butterflies, baby bunnies, and yes, even deer. I'll never forget the late spring evening I walked to the back of the field to pick an armful of flowers and found a tiny spotted fawn hidden in a patch of scabiosa. Or the bobwhite babies that imprinted and followed me around the field one summer.
What an incredible, beautiful distraction the wildlife is when the work is hard, exhausting, and never finished. It's only February, but blue birds are already investigating the houses we have put up for them. Ladybugs are crawling along the ranunculus and crickets leap out of every planting hole. A symphony of frogs sing from the soggy lower field. Soon, the shy indigo buntings will return and hopefully linger a few seconds longer as I approach, trying to snap a quick photo. In the fall, as sunflowers grow heavy with seeds, goldfinches will swoop in for seeds and chatter..."
I know that growing up outdoors really shaped my views on how to treat the outdoors and wildlife. I'm extremely thankful that my parents taught me to how to respect both the animals and the farm itself, from the smallest insects to the napping cats themselves. I also think the exposure to these chemical-free practices really affected my choice to study sustainability! Seeing the effects, or rather lack of negative impacts on the land, has encouraged me to pursue my studies and learn as much as I can in order to help make our farm as sustainable as possible and encourage others to do the same.
Stay tuned to hear more about our journey with bees and sustainable practices we're implementing on the farm! I plan to attend a bee workshop with Dad on Saturday in order to learn for myself more about bees and how to care for them.