"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posts tagged ‘unique’

Recovering from Colony Collapse Disorder

In the world of honey bees and beekeeping there is condition being called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Considering that bees of all kinds are responsible for pollinating the very food we eat and that without them, our food supplies are negatively affected, CCD has worldwide attention.

The disorder leaves little evidence, such as a pile of dead bees to study. Hives are simply empty. Entire colonies of honey bees seem to have left for work in the morning and then never found their way back home. Without foraging bees returning with the pollen and nectar that nourishes the hive, the colony collapses and just … disappears.

There are many studies happening all at once to determine the source of honey bee die offs. Conclusions range from cell phone towers to insecticides applied to crops and in the case of genetically altered seeds, to the very plants themselves.

It occured to me that this colony collapse disorder in beekeeping is, for whatever reason, not unlike what has been experienced in our little 3D world – the collapse of community. Artists and 3D enthusiasts that once found a home in the various 3D communities just seem to … disappear.

So, how do we recover from CCD? What can we possibly do to make a difference when we don’t even really know for certain what the true cause of the collapse is? And what if there are many overlapping causes or perhaps the perfect storm of events that is creating this CCD? What do we do? How can we turn it around?

Jeff sweeping beesMy husband Jeff and I are beekeepers. In our experience so far we have not successfully over-wintered even one hive. One year they didn’t have enough food, another was hive beetles and wax moths. Then two years of hurricanes with Irene flooding over two dozen hives and drowning thousands of bees, and most recently, Super-Storm Sandy hitting just a few days after we were forced to move our hives in response to discovering someone trying to steal them.

Our apiary is within a small meadow surrounded by forest. Outside of the forest, our community is dotted with residential areas surrounded by farms growing various food crops. We’ve considered that perhaps our bees are encountering something on their foraging expeditions that is causing them to either die on the spot or forget how to get home.

Our response to this challenge is to provide natural, organic food sources within the apiary. We feel that if we nourish our bees well at home perhaps we can increase their chances of returning and/or surviving when they do choose to venture outside of their own back yard. We’ve started creating what we are calling honeybee sanctuaries; food plots for honey bees.

These bee-browsing areas consist of a spectrum of native flowering plants that provide a natural abundance of the pollen and nectar required for honey bees to produce thriving colonies, as well as the sweet rewards of their efforts – sweet, golden, delicious honey.

This is the first year in the last six years that we do not have honey bees in our hives. In the fall we will be ordering a few ‘nuc’ (short for nucleus) packages that will be delivered early next spring. These nuc’s are small, starter hives that consist of five frames, a queen with nurse bees and a large handful of worker bees in various stages of growth and development. Within the nuc, the workers do their best to support the queen so she will lay eggs and expand the colony.

nuc boxesThis expansion requires sharing of the load across the worker bees. Honey bees have different roles throughout their lives. Young, newly emerged bees are the only ones who can produce wax so they stay at home and build comb. When they get a bit older their roles begin to shift. Some attend the queen, some forage for food, some clean and fan the hive to keep the temperature even and some do a little bit of everything. Considering the life span of a honey bee is six weeks on average there’s also the task of rearing of new bees to ensure the hive keeps going.

It seems to me that a thriving bee colony is not unlike a thriving community. Everyone has a certain unique thing they do that is seemingly effortless for them – a thing that is their gift and is essential to the nourishment of the hive as a whole. When these small, unique gifts are combined, each supporting and collaborating with the other, the possibilities for a thriving colony and an abundance of sweet, delicious honey become endless.

Flight DeckRight now, the Hive over at HiveWire 3D can be likened to the nuc, with all who contribute here being the nurse bees, worker bees and drones who are each an individual part of a collective movement from the energy of starving artist to thriving artist. We are grateful for all who are contributing to the buzz.

Finding the way home

“Stop looking for the answers from strangers. The answers to life are within you. Only YOU know what makes your heart feel at home. Only you can hear your inner voice. The key is in asking the right questions.” ~ C Nordyke

When  seeking direction in life’s challenges I have often wished that I could reach up into thin air and grab the “magic book” of answers. I’ve felt that I just know it’s there … if I could just figure out how to actually see it to pick it up.  It was as though the solutions to my challenges existed somewhere outside of me, if I could just connect to the answers or perhaps to a person who could give them to me.

I lived most of my life this way; always looking outside myself to find myself.
Giving my power away. Living as though someone other than me was more qualified or had a clearer vision of what I should be doing or feeling or what was best for me. All I had to do was find the person with the answers.

SEEDSfromHOMEwithinYOUAs I have been working with some incredibly gifted coaches and mentors over the past several years I’ve become aware that for most of my life, in some form or another I’ve been giving my power away to others.  Some didn’t want it, some exploited it and some lovingly handed it back to me – a gift I did not know how to receive.

When making new friends, sometimes there would be an unexplainable heart connection where I felt that although we had just met, we’d somehow known each other forever. In these relationships I held nothing back believing that in sharing as much as I could, as accurately as I could, the other person would be able to feed it back to me with an answer or a solution to whatever life challenge was presenting itself at the time.  I didn’t realize what a burden this placed on the relationship and how unfair it was to both of us. To you, I offer my humble apologies.

My early coaching sessions followed this old and familiar behavior of giving up my power by providing information and expecting a nice, neat package of answers all tied up with a bow that outlined the plan for my life. Thankfully, the feedback from my coaches and mentors did not come delivered in the way that I expected it to. My power has always been lovingly handed back to me along with tools and practices that assist me to ask the right questions and then listen to the wisdom of my own heart to find what I seek.

I am grateful to these gifted souls for their infinite patience and guidance which has assisted me to unfurl a few more petals on the ever-blossoming flower that is uniquely “me”. It feels wonderfully liberating to be able to stand in confidence in my own power with trust that what I seek is already whispering inside my heart, I am simply required to become quiet enough to hear it.

Throw the seed catalogs away! The seeds for the beautiful flower that you are already exist within you. Your heart gives you clues as to which seeds to water. You will know you have chosen wisely when you feel blissfully at home in whatever you are doing.

No matter where you are in the world, if you allow it, your heart can bring you home. Keep watering those seeds!

Moving Toward a Dream

My husband Jeff and I have shared the dream of owning a farm almost since the day we met, nearly 31 years ago. When we would talk about our future farm and what it would be like, we described it pretty much like most people would describe a farm. Big house, barns, fences, storage silos, endless fields where large tractors are used to plant, cultivate and harvest vast expanses of corn and hay. So it’s a bit curious that the land we purchased looks nothing like that.

Autumn Pond

Autumn Pond – October 2006

Our “farm” is not a traditional farm at all and is really not at all like the dream as we had envisioned it, however it’s so, so much more. It is wooded wetlands – swamp – consisting of approximately 100 acres of forest, 4 cleared acres and a 4 acre pond. There were no buildings, no fences and no vast fields waiting to be planted but it really didn’t seem to matter. It spoke to us just as it was. We were enchanted by it. No, it didn’t fit the picture we had painted of our dream but we felt called to live, to be and to explore … right here.

Sweet Gum Leaf

Sweet Gum Leaf – October 2006

The two and a half year process of purchasing the land was a challenge that also brought many unexpected gifts. We discovered that the rules, regulations and criteria we had to meet to build a home here were, at their core, about protecting the resource value of the land. We were exposed to new terms in relation to describing and defining our land. Some examples are; transition area, habitat, nesting area, endangered, threatened, ordinary resource value vs. exceptional resource value, upland, wetland, and riparian.

Graceful Grass

Graceful Grass – October 2006

What all that means is that our land is defined as a portion of a larger area of wetland or swampland which acts as a filter for the water running through it. It’s a transition area; a buffer between the higher land elevations and the point where land ends and water begins. It is home to  native plant species such as various grasses, rushes and sedges, milkweed, several species of aster, fern, orchid, mints, mosses, and various trees and shrubs. This combination of greenery provides habitat for wildlife including bear, deer, fox, coyote, beaver, raccoon, rabbits, squirrels, eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, hummingbirds, turtles, frogs and snakes, serves as a stopping point for migratory birds and as a pollen and nectar source for important insect pollinators such as native bees, butterflies and honey bees.

What it all means for us is that by having a dream and moving toward it we’ve landed at a place that we hadn’t anticipated. It isn’t “less than” or “better than”, it’s just different and unique. We were open to hearing and following the call. We allowed ourselves to be enchanted by the beauty of the land itself vs being locked into a dream that could only be manifested as the vision of a farm we had described for three decades. Our dream is not necessarily manifesting as we had imagined but it is already revealing itself to be so much bigger than we had ever anticipated.

Autumn Meadow

Autumn Meadow – October 2006

In the process of moving toward the dream we’ve pretty much turned our ideas and beliefs about farming upside down. We have discovered aspects of agriculture that we weren’t aware existed before this journey. As an added bonus, integrating new beliefs about agriculture has also somehow curiously revealed things of ourselves that we had forgotten or had been out of touch with for a very long time. Aspects of ourselves that when explored or revealed become like a sort of nourishment to the manifesting of the dream. Assisting it to unfold and blossom before us, petal by petal.

St. John's Wort in Abundance

St. John’s Wort in Abundance – October 2006

We’ve been given the opportunity to turn our beliefs about ourselves upside down a bit as well. What began as a desire to survive by growing things and living off the land has been transformed into a calling to live in stewardship to the land. In this we are watching and participating, moving forward and sitting still. In some cases we are assisting it to be and in others we are letting it be. In the “doing” or “not doing” we are moving from living a life of simply surviving into a life of absolutely thriving.

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