Chop Wood Carry Water Plant Seeds is a blog about Self-Sufficient Homesteading. How can we live by creating a sustainable bio-diverse world, instead of by consuming and destroying the only one we have? What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Silence of the Lambs (Graphic Images)



We went to our teacher Rolf to learn how to slaughter lambs. He sure knows his stuff since everything went so smooth. After todays experience I feel sure enough to do this on my own. Some photos might seem graphic so if you are sensitive to this stuff Do Not Browse This Post !!!

Graphic Images !!!
Elisabeth and Rolf choosing which 2 are to be slaughteterd ...
Once chosen 2 bullets are placed into their heads very fast, then he cuts thier arteries on their throats so the blood can run out ...
blowing air under lambs skin for easy skin removal, it look like a baloon ...
time to skin the lamb ... students watching ... some not feeling good about all this bloody mess ...
taking out the inside ...
then it was our turn to try it ...
the lamb will hang for a week so the musscles can soften. It will hang 50 day-grades (Celsius) So if the outdoor temp is 10'C it will hang for 5 days. If the temp is 5'C it will hang for 10 days.
We will be cutting these lamb into pieces next Thursady and will also slaughter a few chicks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bee devastation: Campaign for total ban of neonicotinoid pesticides

A third of UK bee colonies have been lost over the last two years and there have been many explanations given for this. There is strong evidence that neonicotinoids – a class of pesticide first used in agriculture in the mid 1990s at exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring – are involved in the deaths. The evidence against these chemicals is strong enough that they have been banned or suspended in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia – but not yet in the UK.
Neonicotinoids work as an insecticide by blocking specific neural pathways in insects’ central nervous systems. The chemicals impair bees’ communication, homing and foraging ability, flight activity, ability to discriminate by smell, learning, and immune systems – all of which have an impact on bees’ ability to survive.

It seems bees genetic make up makes them particularly vulnerable to neonicotinoids. Recent mapping of the bee genome has revealed that bees’ capacity to detoxify chemicals is much lower than other insects. Instead bees have two strategies to protect themselves. On the first day of foraging in a new area, scout bees are sent out first to taste the nectar and pollens – if any are adversely affected they will be expelled from the hive immediately, and the colony will avoid the area.

In addition, once foraging begins, nurse bees in the hive clean foragers each time they return. These strategies protect the colony from mass exposure to lethal doses of chemicals, but they do leave honey bees particularly susceptible to sub-lethal exposures to any contaminants they encounter.

The other really important factor is the complex behaviour of honeybee colonies. For example, the 10,000 forager bees in a typical hive need to co-ordinate their quest for nectar – and they do this through the famed ‘waggle dance’, which communicates the flight direction and distance to sources of nectar. The complexity and precision of these dances is breathtaking, and success relies on the integrity of a nervous system where each synapse is crucial. It is no surprise then that honey bees have been shown to have a higher number of neurological receptors than other insects.

Honey bees live and work as a colony, not as individuals; what seems to be happening is that the cumulative impact of small doses of nenoicotinoids on thousands of bees over time is affecting individual bee’s ability to work and communicate effectively as part of a colony. Because lots of bees in each colony are behaving sub-optimally this can lead to the sudden, and devastating, outcomes that we’ve been witnessing in recent years.

The Soil Association believes that there is already enough evidence to justify an immediate ban on neonicotinoids today.

Winterising Top Bar Hives

The temp is down to 6-9'C day. At night even colder but not under 0'C ... yet.
I placed rockwool under the roof, raw wool in the empty window space and I screwed a few 25mm tick planks on the Northern side of the hive only, which makes a 50mm tick wall.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Good bye Lamas Im off to Värmland

A farm near by my summer house keeps 3 cute Lamas :) They came close to say good bye to Bailey and me (at least I like to think so).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kvasir's Mead of Poetry

Poetry, as the shaping of language through memory, imagination, and speech, was regarded as a mystery, a secret craft not unlike magic. Such power required considerable training, which came at a price. Curiously, at every stage in the myths, poetry is considered so powerful that no single individual can be said to contain or own it. The tales of how Odin claimed power over poets are full of duplicity, theft, and lying, but poetry itself escapes any attempt to utterly control it. It seems entirely appropriate that a common kenning for poetry was mead – for example, “Kvasir’s mead” or “the dwarfs’ mead”. In this tradition, one can be said to literally become drunk with poetry.
~ Kvasir was one of the wisest of the gods, and traveled the world teaching everyone he met. Two dwarves, named Fjalar and Galar, thought to profit by Kvasir’s death; they killed him and reduced his remains in a pot called Odrerir, where they mixed Kvasir’s blood with honey to create a powerful mead. Anyone who drank this mead would gain access to Kvasir’s wisdom: the mead, itself, was poetry.

~ Suttung the giant had a different axe to grind with this murderous pair of dwarves; they had killed his mother. Upon capturing them, he demanded the mead of poetry as a ransom for their lives. Hoping to keep its power to himself, he kept the mead in a deep cave, guarded by his daughter, Gunnlod. Everyone coveted the mead – particularly Odin, who was known to steal that which caught his eye.

~ Through a series of disguises and schemes, Odin managed to break into the cave and seduce the giant’s daughter. For three nights, he drank the mead; on the third night, he changed into an eagle in order to escape. Suttung discovered the theft, and changed into an eagle as well to give chase. Some of the mead escaped Odin’s mouth as he flew; some he allowed to drop, in order to distract the giant close behind him. When he finally made it over the walls of Asgard, he spat out the bulk of the mead into vessels the gods had prepared, making his plan complete.
But as the story ends, the gods themselves cannot claim all of the precious mead for themselves. Both deliberately and by accident, some of the mead fell on the earth, where it touched some of the living; those whom the spilled mead have touched become poets. While a somewhat visceral and queasy metaphor for divine inspiration, it is an important point that in this metaphor,

- poetry is regurgitated and re-consumed. It travels through many stages and transformations (like mead); it does not belong to any one individual.
- It is likewise an important point that poetry – the distillation of the mind of the wisest of gods, and providing access to that knowledge – is constantly shadowed by deception and distortion.
- Finally, the poets themselves are the media (the vessels, the transformers) of poetry. In Norse tradition, poets are powerful, but one should never entirely trust them – no more than one should ever entirely trust Odin.
And for the poets themselves – and their audience – the myth suggests that while it is best shared liberally, one must try never to take in too much poetry at once.

Who Is Killing Bees - Our Governments maybe?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Che is moving Bees to Che Guebee Apiary Blog

Yes :) I decided its time to divide the honeybee info from my farming stuff since Im diving deeper into the bee question and would like to have it all in one place, hence this new blog called Che Guebee Apiary
I will start posting once I begin preparing my ACTUAL Che Guebee Apiary for the next year which is situated at my summer house in South of Sweden. I already made 3 hives for this apiary of mine which I will post about in this new blog soon.
I hope you like the design because I've invested several hours to make it :) Post your comment if you like and if not ... well do what you please ;) and may you bee happy :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Let The Sunshine In

"Let the sunshine
Let the sunshine in
The sunshine in..."

There is so much algae on our summer house and some timber is starting to rot I would say. A little bit of investigation made the obvious even more obvious ... the house is surrounded by tall trees and bushes which are casting a heavy shadow on it. The trees make it less aerated also so lots and lots of wet wet wet conditions to rot the timber. I decided its time for some action and this is what I did:
On this photo you can clearly see algaae growing on planks
Excuse the bad photo quality. I just made a fast photo not being aware that I shook the camera. Any way, it will serve the purpose for Before and After image :) So, this is Before I went in with a saw and ax ...
... lots of sweating ... ah uh puh ... and this shot is the After math. A beautiful open sky :) ah I can breath now.
I was surprised at how much there was to cut down ... lots of timber for winter I guess ;) It will take me ages to chop this by hand ... well I have all winter for it. All must go away from this spot since in May next year this plot is to be my very first private Apiary :) which is another reason for cutting down the sun barrier. Our summer house is on the North side of a small hill so South Sun is something we really need.
At the end of this working day a well deserved organic beer while enjoying the new open view :) Cheers

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Harvesting Frost Sensitive Vegetables

Plants like Squash, Pumpking, Beans, Peas, Cucumber, Tomatos, Paprika and Chilli are very sensitive to frost and must be harvested before minus drops on us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Urban Rooftop Beekeepers

A photographic series of environmental portraits of Urban Rooftop Beekeepers.
From the suburban rooftops of Brooklyn NYC, to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel  in downtown Toronto, each location offering the viewer a look at the beautiful and intimate relationship between each beekeeper and their hard working girls. I am hoping to open peoples eyes to the seriousness of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) , and why these amazing insects are so important to us.
Honey bee's pollinate up to 40% of North American crops, no bees, no pollination, no food.

Photos by Geoff Fitzgerald
In this TED talk Noah Wilson-Rich discusses urban honeybees. And how they seem to be doing better in the city than out on the farm.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Collapsed Honey Comb

I was shocked to see a full honey comb collapsed in the prime swarm TBH. So sad. Im not sure how it collapsed? The comb is attached on both walls, i cant see any singns of a mouse being in there. And the weather is cold so there is no way that heat could be the reason. Many bees are squashed by the comb, nectar flowing all over the floor ... such a waste ... now that they need the nectar most ...
I took out the collapsed comb and placed it on top of the out door feeding station so bees can clean it.

Final Day of Top Bar Hive Workshop

We didnt finish the hives totally but almost. The follower board took lots of time to make. We didnt have enough tools for all to work constantly hence queuing (loosing time). The roof will be made in such a way it can hold wood shavings as insulation from above.
All in all im happy with this 3 day lecture/workshop.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 2 of the Top Bar Hive Lecture/Workshop

4 out of 6 students which were on the power point presentation yesterday decided to build top bar hives today and tomorrow. Today we made the hive body and cut some top bars. I feel we are starting a Top Bar Hive Revolution in this part of Sweden :) so cool :)
Tomorrow is the last day of this workshop which I lead pro bono. My reward is the pure pleasure of seeing humans deciding to become Bee Guardians :) how cool is that :)
Sofia and Jennie gluing planks together
Juliana hiding behind the hive
Frida finishing the hive body