heirloomista

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Weaving Sun Hives

Sun Hives, BeesKelsey ZaavedraComment

 

Sun Hives are a beautiful sight to see but what I really love about them most is making them. The craft of weaving has been around for thousands of years-- they say since Paleolithic times! The fibers to weave with are endless but with these beehives eye straw is ideal.  

 biodynamic rye straw   

biodynamic rye straw

 

The straw is known for being very tall, which helps the weaving process because it requires less material. It creates a very tidy , continuous coil. The silica content gives it structure and form.

In biodynamics we explore more than the things we can see and touch. There are other qualities that reveal themselves in a process or having certain characteristics that lend themselves to a plant or animal. Rye straw's high content of silica is important because there is a special relationship to the sun . It uses the sun's light to work with the formative forces that relate to to form and shape. In a way it sensitizes it and the bees are more receptive to it. I could go into this more but will save it for a later date. For now, I just wanted to share a bit about the weaving process. 

 The start of a skep.

The start of a skep.

Sun Hives take two days to complete. The cleaning of the rye is just as methodical as the weaving. In my workshops I try to include the cleaning as part of the weekend because it's so wonderful to work with. It's amazing how one can really get into cleaning.  

 Michael really gets into cleaning.  

Michael really gets into cleaning.  

Then the weaving process begins. It's almost like a dance. Your whole body gets into the rhythm of it and you simply don't want to stop. The stitching is very simple so it's easy to do this. Some workshops people share the process of weaving a hive and others the students get to complete their own.   

 

 Even as the instructor I can't keep my hands off! 

Even as the instructor I can't keep my hands off! 

THere are two skeps (or baskets) that makeup a Sun Hive and they are slightly different in size and shape. When out together they make an egg shape. These skeps are the protective skin to the colony of bees. There is a piece of wood that holds the two skeps together. 

 

 a Sun Hive on display.

a Sun Hive on display.

The colony of bees lives inside and draw out ther wax comb within. They are able to start their comb on a set of half moon arches. They have to freedom to make their comb as big or little as they feel is necessary. This is very different from conventional beekeeping. 

 

 

 half moon arches.  

half moon arches.  

 

After being mesmerized by the sun hive project as a whole, there comes a point where you must stop weaving. Some simple finishing stiches and it's done. Below is a photo of the very first skep I finished 6 years ago! And it's followed by my first completed Sun Hive back at the very fist SunHive workshop in the UK. Time flies..

 

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As you know, this was definitely not my last.. I look forward to upcoming workshops!  

 

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 here is a Sun Hive at Spikenard Farm in Virginia.  

here is a Sun Hive at Spikenard Farm in Virginia.  

The best day of the year

FarmKelsey ZaavedraComment

Well, I did it. I bought my farm.  

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This year on my birthday I bought myself pretty much the best present of all time. It sure doesn't look anything like I envisioned it to be but it's mine. That's a pretty good feeling to have! No more renting land and wondering what next year will look like or being limited to space. This is a game changer. I feel so lucky to have snagged a piece of land in my favorite river valley.

 

I remember the day I saw it. The drive up consisted of winding roads lined with red barns, big oaks and lindens. The sky was blue and there was a warm breeze. As I pulled up to the property I was surpsingly drawn to it. (Surprising because it's surrounded by corn and beans=lifeless abyss) I turned off the car and got out only to be surrounded by the most beautiful silence. No traffic, no people, no machinery. I could hear myself breathe. I could hear myself think. Nothing but a chicken in the background and a field of goldenrod buzzing with life. This was IT. 

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I was so sure of it despite being absolutely nothing like I'd looked at before. As I tried to call my agent to say "let's do it" I realized there was no cell phone service. I thought to myself, "how could it get any better-- no cell service! This is perfect!" So I texted instead. I always say that all the best places don't have cell service. At least this fit some of my criteria.. 

 

After putting in an offer and working with my bank for a bit, I was told we could have a quick closing and be done in just three weeks. Everything happened so easily and so quickly that I can't help but believe that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. Even though it's a blank slate, each time I'm up there working I can see everything just how it will be once summer is here. I can't wait to spend my first year on the land and see what it has to say for itself.  

💗