Also with the start of the rainy season, it seems the snakes are coming out. After my brave kill in the bedroom, Tim killed one in the bathroom and just now as I was writing, there were screams from Lucy as one slithered out from behind a box. Joseph attacked that one for us and tells us he had killed another one outside as well!
|Our eroded driveway going onto our road (remembering Woodlands Road!)|
|Down the road from our house, looking like a littered riverbed!|
|Touch-up painting on the Top-Bar Beehive|
|Painting beeswax on the top-bars|
|A little sugar water to tempt the bees|
|Some beeswax and lemongrass oil to attract our busy friends|
A top-bar hive is simply a box with sloped sides (angled to match the natural angles of the hexagonal comb) with removable bars on the top, from which the combs will hang down. My research tells me that it is a very "natural" hive type, good for places with little access to materials and machinery! Our first two hives are made of wood, which is what we will aim for in projects, but I am looking forward to experimenting with other materials like woven baskets, half-drums, clay pots and crates. We want to make good and productive hives, but we need to be able to work with very little!
The Prime Minister of Tanzania (himself a keen beekeeper, apparently!) is currently encouraging the nation to get busy with bees. New initiatives encouraging beekeeping are springing up. A bee project is ideal for us as it will link in perfectly with the tree planting and agriculture projects. We hope to see the farmers incorporating bees into their farms, then able to reap the benefits of the cross pollination, while the bees benefit from the improved environment with new areas of trees and various plants. We hope to set up cooperatives for bee projects with gardens as income generating projects for vulnerable women. Bring on the bee products ... a great source of food (honey) and also medicine, as well as things like candles, lubricants and other cosmetic products. This is another great way to help fight against poverty; the benefits are widespread and in addition, there is so much we can learn from the bees!
So that is the plan ... but first we need to learn all we can ourselves! I am going to Tanzania's first national bee conference in Arusha next month (yes, I'll admit to bee-ing just a little excited!) to get some head knowledge and meet others in the apiary world; meanwhile we endeavour to get all the hands-on experience we can here at home! Any advice from you experienced bee-keepers out there is welcome! And prayers for some bees to arrive are also welcome!
P.S. I had to really control myself here to keep the "bee" plays on words at bay! But no doubt my Dad and a few others will fling some un-BEE-table jokes back!
And then I was remembering all our bee-fun we had last July ...