Thursday, May 17, 2007

Laura Masterson of 47th Avenue Farm

Laura Masterson of 47th Avenue Farm explaining the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Laura is one of the farmers I work with; she is bright, energetic, curious and an amazing farmer! enjoy...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

God Save the Queen (Bee)

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name that has been given to the latest, and what seems to be the most serious, die-off of honey bee colonies across the country. In CCD, the bee colony proceeds rapidly from a strong colony with many individuals to a colony with few or no surviving bees. Queens are found in collapsing colonies with a few young adult bees, lots of brood, and more than adequate food resources. No dead adult bees are found in the colony or outside in proximity to the colony. A unique aspect of CCD is that there is a significant delay in robbing of the dead colony by bees from other colonies or invasion by pest insects such as waxworm moths or small hive beetles; this suggests the presence of a deterrent chemical or toxin in the hive.

These symptoms have now been reported in 24 states across the continental United States and in two Canadian provinces.

Although there is much attention being given to this situation, it is not yet clear what is causing the die-off. To better understand the cause(s) of this disease and with the hope of eventually identifying strategies to prevent further losses, a group of researchers, extension agents, and regulatory officials was formed. This group represents a diverse number of institutions including Bee Alert Technology, Inc. (a bee technology transfer company affiliated with the University of Montana), The Pennsylvania State University, the USDA/ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Broadly this group has identified its mandate as: “Exploring the cause or causes of honey bee colony collapse and finding appropriate strategies to reduce colony loss in the future”.

The current research priorities under investigation by various members of the CCD working group, as well as other cooperators include, but is not limited to:

• Chemical residue/contamination in the wax, food stores and bees
• Known and unknown pathogens in the bees and brood
• Parasite load in the bees and brood
• Nutritional fitness of the adult bees
• Level of stress in adult bees as indicated by stress induced proteins
• Lack of genetic diversity and lineage of bees

For more information and updates:

Saturday, May 5, 2007

dreaming of the round

" 'There can be no power in a square,' Black Elk said. 'You will notice that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.'...

Nature creates in circles and moves in circles. Atoms and galaxies are circular, and most organic things in between. The Earth is round. The wind whirls. The womb is no shoebox. Where are the corners of the egg and the sky?"

Tom Robbins,
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

i have been increasingly thinking about earthships, yurts and other non-suburban dwellings. it all started when i was a child, looking through a book my parents owned called Shelter (originally published in 1973, which now has a sequel entitled Home Work). here i was introduced to a wide variety of eclectic housing structures i had never fathomed ... not very surprising considering the cookie cutter boxes most Floridians choose for dwelling.

a few years back, i purchased these books for my husband, who had become quite interested in natural buildings. they showcase beautiful, unique shelters (including treehouses!) people all over the world refer to as 'home'. the most magnificant of these are the smooth, curvy structures; eloquently stated by tom robbins (above), the lack of right angles produces a soothing living space with an undeniable organic flow. i have been thinking so much about this, i am starting to become disturbed by every corner i find in my house. i stare at them and wonder what happens in these corners? it's an energy dead-end (though many spiders in our spare bedroom are making happy homes).

it was when my husband and i visited the STAR (Social Transformation Alternative Republic) Earthship community near Taos, New Mexico during our southwestern honeymoon adventure that i decided i HAD to live in an Earthship.

Earthships are made from materials available in virtually all human settlements around the globe. The main building element is an earth-filled tire. Using passive solar heating, ventilation and cooling, Earthships produce their own electricity, collect their own water and deal with their own sewage through food producing greenhouse technology.

Not only are they ecologically-conscious, they are completely beautiful; most look like Gaudi designed them. and when you step inside, you are engulfed by a peacefulness i cannot explain with words.

...earthship: south facing windows...



...cob home...
...yurt's hobbit door...