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Mother Earth News Fair Part 2
Mother Earth News Fair Part 2. This is part 2 about my trip to the Mother Earth News Fair. Check out part 1 of my article. The Mother Earth News Fair was in Asheville, NC. It was so fun and informative. People from the Southern states attended the fair. It was all about learning about: taking care of the soil, animals, sustainability, organic gardening, homesteading, and other green initiatives.
The Mother Earth News Fair Workshop Speakers
Hendrikus Schraven and Nirav Peterson of Hendrikus Organics taught the Down and Dirty Ways to Amend Your Soil Workshop
Hendrikus is from Holland and now lives in Hawaii. His landscape construction firm has won numerous environmental awards for his work and research about making soil healthy.
He was lively and quite humorous during the talk. I enjoyed his live demonstration. He poured water in various containers of dirt, showing what good compost should look and act like when handled.
Workshop Highlights About Soil
- Humus is NOT the same as compost. Often these two terms are used interchangeably. Humus is what compost aspires to be. Humus is a dark, organic matter that forms in soil when plants and animals decay. Humus is part of topsoil, the “mother” of all soil life.
- Compost tea is a good way to repair soil and make compost. It’s made by brewing microorganisms. Here is a recipe for compost tea.
- Healthy soil crumbles in your hand and isn’t hard.
- If you’re an organic gardener or farmer, test the first 4-6 inches of your soil to know the exact chemical and nutrient content and adjust if needed.
- Healthy soil is full of worms. It takes worms ten years to turn a 10-inch layer of soil from bottom to top! Wow, those are some hard-working creatures!
Shane Gebauer COO of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm taught the Becoming a Beekeeper Workshop. The bee farm is located in North Carolina(home office). He shared so much excellent information that he ran over the scheduled time, and attendees were asking lots of questions. Hopefully, he will speak again at the Mother Earth News Fair next year.
Workshop Highlights About Bees and Beekeeping
- Bees don’t like moving horizontally; they naturally move laterally (up and down). On a bee farm where bees are housed in frames, frames need to accommodate this preference.
- Drones are male bees that mate with the virgin queen bee. They are bigger than worker bees, have big eyes and long abdomens. They die immediately after mating with the queen. Wow, what a way to go!
- Worker bees live for about four to six weeks. They do a LOT of work, from tending to the hive, nursing young bees, tending to the queen, and more. In certain situations, worker bees can lay eggs.
- The queen bee has a tapered abdomen and lays eggs at the bottom of a cell (small hexagonal openings inside in a beehive.)
- There hasn’t been much Colony Collapse Disorder for three years. People often confuse Colony Collapse Disorder with colony loss. A colony loss could be to a harsh winter or a parasite.
- Fungicides (used to treat fungal diseases) are more detrimental to bees than neonicotinoids(insecticides) (Not sure If I agree with this.)
- Don’t do beekeeping near horses (bees don’t like their scent). Don’t raise near goats either.
- Put up an electric fence to deter bears. Then wrap bacon around the fence, so the bears mouth and tongue get zapped when try to eat it. Bears can’t feel a zap because of thick fur, but they sure can feel a zap on the tongue. Oh, poor Yogi bear!
Check out part 1 of my article about the workshop speakers at the Mother Earth News Fair.