Spring Beekeeping Workshop

Spring Beekeeping Workshop
Demonstration Hive

Friday, September 18, 2009


It is mid-September and today I picked our first beans. Unheard of! Usually I'm picking beans like a mad-woman from July on and can hardly keep up with the production from a few feet of plants. Not this year. This year I planted green beans and lima beans - we like the shelling kind of beans. I made three successive plantings from June through July, expecting a continuous supply all summer and enough to freeze.

Lest I am getting repetitive, I shall skip over the horrible growing conditions of this summer because you've heard me rant about them already. Suffice to say, no beans this summer till today, and September 18 is barely summer, really. It's been cool and we lit our first woodstove fire last night. But, beans there were. I picked enough for dinner of both varieties. Shelling a few lima pods produced about a cup of the most luscious beans - white with red splotches. The pods are fuzzy and definitely not palatable but the beans inside are delectable. Simply steamed together the string beans and shell beans were delicious - no butter, no salt, just plain and yummy. I hope we don't get a frost before I have chance to harvest more. I can't cover them to protect the plants because they're 12-14 feet high on poles!

Everything comes to she who waits!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Death and resurrection" (Rev. Tom Carr, The Big Context), Death and Resurrection is all around us.

Compost, though, gives me hope.

Antoine de Saint Exupery: In anything at all, perfection is finally attained, not when there is no longer anything left to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away.

This is how I feel about compost. At first, we add, and add, and add, all kinds of waste plant material and food scraps - vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells, weeds, you name it, - until a lovely big pile of stuff is created, and, by the way, a little soil or animal manure wouldn't hurt to add microbes and nitrogen to the pile. But, there comes a point when there's enough stuff added and now it is time to let it be. And, what happens in this phase? Well, simple, the taking away begins. Taking away of the physical nature of the matter - eaten by earthworms the matter becomes wormcastings. Digested by bacteria and other microbes, the matter becomes something other than it was before. No longer recognisable as carrot scrapings or potato peels, weeds, grass clippings, old tea bags, etc., the matter is now developing into a uniform brown approaching black fine textured granular material. Like soil, but not quite. Richer, with a fine tilth and pleasing aroma. Certainly not putrid like rotting vegetables. A healthy smell that one wants to sniff and go "Ahhh". Gone are the recognisable physical attributes of specific species. It has all been taken away by the natural decay and decomposing microbes which have performed a miracle. They've taken death, removed everything unnecessary and produced black gold, much more valuable than the fossil fuel variety.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I am very excited to announce what I hope will be the first of many educational events I am hosting to promote green living ideas with hands-on instruction for how to implement the techniques you often read about but have no clue how to do!

For the first time in Northwestern Connecticut, the Center for Sustainable Living is offering the Permaculture Design Course, and Introductory Lecture at its facility in Bethlehem.

Permaculture is a whole systems ecological design science. It offers insights and practical techniques for living a fruitful and abundant life while addressing the major issues of our day. Permaculture has become a world-wide movement and is an important tool for change in urban, suburban and rural environments.

I travelled to Brooklyn, NY last March to meet with Andrew Faust, New York’s visionary teacher in Permaculture design and education. I was so inspired by his knowledge and enthusiasm that I set to work to bring this comprehensive program to Connecticut. To my knowledge, this will be the first time Permaculture Design Certification is offered here.

In the introductory lecture, Andrew will explain fundamentals of Permaculture and outline the essentials of creating true health and wealth through the design of ecological communities and businesses, with practical ideas and solutions to transform your “green” dreams into reality. Come and hear Andrew at the intro lecture with no obligation to take the Certification course. This will be a good way to get a taste of what Permaculture is all about.

In the Permaculture Design Course, you will learn the essential elements of Permaculture, and cover topics essential to every Permaculturist’s development: from soil structure and health, to the invisible structures of our economy and society.

The curriculum includes: climate, energy and food, conservation techniques, long-term approaches to soils, water systems and waste, rethinking economics and more. At the end of the course you will be ready to apply these principles to real-life situations, and – mentored by Andrew for 1-2 years – you will be able to change your life and the communities in which you live and work.

WHERE: The Center for Sustainable Living, Bethlehem, CT
WHEN: Introductory Lecture: 15 December 2009, 1pm-4pm
Permaculture Design Course: 2/12-2/14/10, 2/26-2/28/10, 3/5-3/7/10, and 3/12-3/14/10. Fridays and Saturdays: 10am-9pm, Sundays: 10am-3pm.
FEES: Introductory Lecture $15.00
Permaculture Design Course $1,500.00 includes 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches
2 dinners plus incidental snacks, per weekend (32 meals over 4 weekends)
MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION:Cynthia Rabinowitz 203-266-5595; connsoil@att.net Visit www.connsoil.com for a more detailed course description.