Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Christmas present to inspire future generations

On the first day of Christmas..... Husband gave to me
 some money so that I can keep bees

Isn’t it exciting?  As a child I used to love wandering around the countryside with Nanny Brown being taught the names of trees, plants, butterflies and birds. Since launching Meadowmat 2 years ago my passion for wildlife has been revived and I’ve become super-keen to pass that enthusiasm to my Grandchildren, before they decide they know everything. Just like my Grandmother did with me.

 Last year I had the opportunity to take part in a beekeeping taster day run by David Wootton.  I jumped at the chance, thoroughly enjoyed my day and then that was it, I was hooked.

The best thing about bees

I'm looking forward to seeing more bees about the place
and having lots of honey to share
Aside of course from the prospect of spreading home-made honey on my toast of a morning, and having my own fruit, veg and flowers pollinated by the bees from my hive, I am just fascinated by the social structure of the beehive and the way they can thrive without mobile phones, tablets, cars, supermarkets and self help books. 

Call me an old hippy but I admire the way in which these creatures all contribute to a common cause....their community. 

I have booked an all singing, all dancing beekeeping course for April 2014.  It’s not an insignificant amount of money but the price does include 3 days tuition AND a beehive and I truly believe that it will be worth every penny just to help the honeybee.

Why take up beekeeping?

My Son on his wedding day
He holds the key to the sustainability
of the family farm
The second wonderful thing about going on this beekeeping course is that my eldest son, Andy will be coming along too.  One on one time with my offspring is a very rare commodity indeed.  I’m proud to say that all three of my Children have grown into well rounded, independent people with common sense, jobs, great personalities and busy social lives.  All three have flown the nest.  The eldest two live locally and I see them almost every day but although our lives touch frequently, we rarely spend any quality time together.  To have Andy to myself for 3 days and to develop a shared interest (one that will hopefully passed onto one of the Grandsons) will be just super.

I’m also hoping that between us, Andy, the bees and myself will be able to influence my Husband to make a few changes around the farm to help support wildlife.

Changing the mindset of a farmer

My husband, Ed, was brought up and educated in an era where wildlife came second to cropping.  Full stop. End of. He’s of that mindset that if something on the farm isn’t bringing in a profit it should be sold, moved on or eliminated.  Which is why I go out to work.....I wouldn’t want him to get the idea that I’m detrimental to his ledgers. 

Modern farmers – and that includes my Andy – take a more holistic approach and aim to find a balance where the farmland is able support the “owner’s” family, the families of those who work on the farm and/or support the local businesses who supply services such as engineering, transport, accountancy and agronomy.  Which means, I hope, that Andy will be introducing more wild flowers, bird boxes, native trees and hedges to the farm.

This Christmas will benefit wildlife and wellbeing

So for the first day of Christmas my husband thought he was giving me cash.  What he really gave me was a chance to spend some quality time with my firstborn, a new hobby, and the hope that the younger generation and their offspring will  be far more wildlife friendly.
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