We are so lucky to live for as much of our time as possible in a place up in the north of New Zealand, that we love.
Over the last 5 or so years (and after doing a lot of homework) we have planted over 20,000 trees and plants (see pic on the left to see what it looked like in Year 1!). We have planted a lot of native trees, heaps of trees for bird food, and a lot of plants that have blossom for bees (see pic on right for a Year 4 comparison – including over 500 lavender plants, and a couple of hundred rosemary plants).
Through trial and error, as well as by seeking advice from the wonderful folk in the neighbourhood, we learned what would and wouldn’t grow, when and where. We also planted our orchard, and have planned our veggie gardens.
Next step – the bees. A while ago I’d bought a book on beekeeping, and decided that full scale beekeeping may be a step too far…but I had heard, and read a bit, about folks who were keen to keep their hives in suitable places such as (fingers crossed) ours. By dint of a chance conversation, Grant Engel from Revolutionary Beekeeping Ltd came to see our place, and to my delight, is going to bring his fabulous bees to work with us!
Grant will come to check on the bees to make sure they are healthy and well-fed, and he also harvests the honey they produce with his innovative mobile honey harvester (see videos below for a demonstration). In return, these fabulous insects will make the most of the blossoms, including in our orchard and (soon) veggie garden, and in turn do a wonderful job of fertilising the flowers so we get fruit and veg. O – and the pot of honey a month will be a fabulous treat – plus we get to be serenaded by gentle buzzing.
I love the reciprocity of the whole cycle, and was also particularly impressed with Grant’s enthusiasm for his bees and for beekeeping. Revolutionary Beekeeping states that they will not only “provide a service that will support, educate and fairly reward our clients”, but that they will also “continue to create innovative technology that will make beekeeping easier and more enjoyable”, and “focus on the health and sustainability of beekeeping as it plays a vital role in global food production” (source). Can’t be better than that!
At the end of the day – the whole process has been about planning, finding out what is needed, applying, learning (often through mistakes), hard work, trying different approaches, and figuring out next steps…sound familiar? :)