Say NO to GE Alfalfa

I wanted to share this video put together by farmers, techies, foodies, and just plain awesome people.  It brings attention to an issue that will seriously affect the integrity of our organic food supply.  Enjoy the video and I hope it sparks some thoughtful debate around the dinner table – decked out with ecologically sound foods of course 😉

Fiddlehead Farm plans on raising Goats in the years to come and our options will be greatly limited without Alfalfa.  Even as a cover crop for our gardens, the loss will be quite painful if GE Alfalfa if it is released.  I encourage people to talk to their MPs in defense of our food and our ability to choose how we eat.

Warré Beehive Building

This past Sunday, January 8th, a group of friends and I were lucky enough to attend a Warré beehive building workshop given by Whole Circle Farm‘s livestock manager Monique Blais.  We assembled in a heated workshop where Monique had assembled the necessary tools and wood for our project.  There was a palpable excitement in the air as we waited anxiously for the fun to begin.  Beekeeping seems to be one of those things that just gets people bouncing with excitement.

The hives we built are fairly different from the hives that most of you with a little bee exposure are probably used to.  Conventional and organic beekeeping frequently use Langstroth style hives for their bees.  These hives see the bees build their comb on a frame that can be removed from the top. Often there is a plastic grid on which the bees are supposed to start their constructions.

The Warré hive differs from the Langstroth in a few important ways.  They are smaller for one.  The Warré hive only has eight bars on which the bees can build where as the Langstroth hive often has ten.  The reason for the difference is philosophy.  We built Warré hives because, as Monique argued, they better mimic the natural environment that bees live in.  Bees generally build hives of eight in nature and they often build in tighter spaces than the Langstroth hive provides.  .

This tighter hive also allows the colony to operate at a higher temperature than the Langstroth.  This is argued to help the bees naturally fight off varroa mites; a major parasite problem in modern day beekeeping.  The tightness should also help the bees agitate each other’s exoskeletons and shed mites that may have entered the hive.  The collective result is a hotter, tighter, and more instinctually appropriate hive.

Add to these hives a humidity filter and roof and we have ourselves a finished hive: well, almost.  First we have to set up the observation windows.  These are little portholes into the hive that we can close with wood to block out the light.  When opened they allow us to see into the hive without having to pull it apart.  A handy little idea and it cuts down the risk of a sting.

I’m looking forward to putting the finishing touches on my hives and to attending Monique’s beekeeping workshop in the spring.  Come summer I hope to have a thriving colony of bees flying through my garden and pollinating my flowers.  In my world a bee represents not only honey, but also more fruits like summer zucchinis, melons, and tomatoes!  They are one of my greatest allies in farming.  The least I can do for them is to build them an awesome home!

For information on Monique’s workshops email her at

Until next time…