Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Janna Dodds - Bees and Pollinators

At our last meeting Janna Dodds shared her experience about Bee Keeping.

One of the most common benefits of beekeeping is the delicious result of honey, but there are also many other benefits. The bees pollinate our plants and are needed for a harvest of many vegetables and fruits. The honey is a great sweetener but in its raw (unpasteurized) form it also has many natural healing properties.

In recent years there has been a dramatic decline of 60% in domestic honey bees and here are some of the reasons:
· Parasites and mites are killing them
· Pesticides on the plants
· Virus attacking the bees immune system
· Global warming – when the weather warms up and then freezes again the bees come out of hibernation and then die when it freezes again.

If you would like to attract bees to your garden you will need three things
1) a place for them to nest (old dead trees trunks) or this product out of Palgrave – www.pollenbeenest.com
2) A clean water source nearby
3) Flowers that will attract them, some of them are: Asters, blackeyed susan’s, Lupin, sage, lilac, sunflowers, coneflower, currants, Yellow is a favourite colour of theirs

Health benefits of unpasteurized honey. (Never feed honey to children younger than 1 year)
· Trace minerals
· Vitamins – Potassium, trace amounts of C, B, K, A
· Contains enzymes that eat bacteria
· You can put it over wounds and because it breathes like our skin Honey can facilitate faster healing
· Antiseptic and antibacterial
· Some people have found that eating 1 tsp of local honey per day has helped them with allergies and hayfever.
· Manuka Honey that comes from New Zealand has the highest count of nutrients of any known honey

My favourite recipe for a sore throat, post nasal drip or constant cough is the following
· Glass of warm water, 1 tsp of honey, 1 – 2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

If you are going to use honey as a natural healing option you need to be very aware of the source of the honey. You want the bees to be collecting from plant sources that are pesticide free and non-gmo.

Some points that Jana shared about her bee keeping
· Each bee hive creates about 100 pounds of honey
· Her favourite tool for sweeping bees off the sections to collect the honey is a goose feather.
· Each hive needs a queen, drones and workers
· The queen is feed the royal jelly
· Honey has a long shelf life and can be kept for a long time
· Worker bees live for 35 – 40 days

For more information she suggests a book called “Beekeeping for Dummies” To contact her for honey or questions she can be reached at: 519-338-5863

Historic Gardening in Dufferin County - Wayne Townsend

Wayne Townsend, the curator of Dufferin County Museum shared with us the history of gardening in Dufferin County.

If you would like to learn more there is large collection of horticultural records at the museum.

History of local gardens
· In the past gardens reflected the owners occupation
· Gardens often contained plants that could be found in the wild
· Kitchen gardens were very popular for their practical uses
· Mulmur was well known for naturopaths
· Wives often got together socially for seed exchanges
· Roses were often grown for their importance in healing rose waters, beauty, medicinal, perfumes etc
· Fences were made from woven sticks, shrubs, roses, bushes
· Lawns were only cut for parties and games and were a sign of wealth

Flowers have inspired many of our current culture
· Dishes
· Quilts
· Songs
· Canadian pressed glass
· Names for children and places

Natives typically grew the following:
· Corn, beans, squash
· They would regularly plant nuts for future generations
· They planted the Amaranth blueberry patch that is still around to this day
· They taught how to create maple syrup, how to use walnut to create boot black, and how to use feverfew, sunflowers

The Dufferin County Museum has a heritage garden each year if you would like to visit. It contains vegetables, trees, flowers and plants that were native to the area in 1900.

One of the pioneer apple trees is Winter Blush.

In Dufferin County the first fair was in Marsville and the first horticultural society was in Grand Valley.

There are many heritage seeds that are being lost, it is our responsibility to keep them alive and pass them on.

Wayne also encouraged us to pass on our knowledge to future generations things that are being lost such as
· How to properly write a hand written letter
· Make a posy
· Set a proper table
· Plant a seed
· Some of the old trades and crafts

For more information about the museum