Today the 5th grade helped extract honey from honeycomb made by our very own honeybees. The honeycomb was carefully harvested last week. We only took a couple of bars to ensure the bees have plenty of honey to get them through the winter. Below are photos of the extraction process.
First the empty comb is cut off and placed into an empty bucket. Then (after thoroughly washing hands) the capped honeycomb is crushed. When its has been thoroughly pulverized (and fingers thoroughly licked), the wax & honey goop is poured into a strainer system. To build the straining system I went to a local brew shop, Nepenthe Homebrew, for food grade buckets, a spigot, and mesh strainer. I cut one of the buckets in half and lined and sandwiched the mesh between the two stacked buckets. The honey is then strained through the mesh which collects the wax. After a couple of slowing dripping days, we will bring the wax outside and place it near the hive so the honeybees can come out and clean off the remaining honey. It’s a pretty low tech system. This winter we will build a small solar oven so in the spring we can melt the wax down to make candles and lip balm!
Have a nice weekend!
Here’s another round of photographs from the last 2 days at Hawthorne Valley Farm. As you can see…more enriching experiences and more smiles. The students are ready to come home. (I think.) Enjoy….
Letters from Home!!!
The story of the escaping piglets….
Rocky & …..
The farm from above.
The Waldorf School of Baltimore has been an officially recognized Maryland Green School of just about 4 years now. In late March, we will be submitting an updated application to maintain this important certification. Being recognized as a Maryland Green School is very important to us for a number of reasons…. It gives WSB state and national recognition for our green efforts and accomplishments; it communicates to our students and current/prospective parents that our community is serious about our responsibility to a healthy environment and sustainable future; it helps center our collective focus on current ecoliteracy trends in education; and, pragmatically, it even helps us reduce operational costs.
If you are part of the WSB community, please take 3 minutes to fill out a short survey (of nine multiple choice questions). The information you provide will help WSB generate an exemplary application. The survey can be reached by clicking HERE. Thank you for your time!
The following information is for an exciting natural & biodynamic beekeeping workshop happening in Maryland. It’s coordinated by the Chesapeake BioDynamic Network in affiliation with the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association. Unfortunately I can not attend all of the workshops, but I will be making a noble attempt to attend some — care to join me?
FUTURE BEE: A Natural & Biodynamic Approach to Beekeeping
Led by Dan & Jeri Hemerlein, & Bill Castro
Join us in learning a reverence for the hive and how we can support healthy, chemical free honey bee colonies.
Dan & Jeri are MD beekeepers & graduates of Gunther Hauk’s “Sustainable Biodynamic Beekeeping Training” at Spikenard Farm. Bill is a long time urban & treatment free beekeeper, owner and steward of Bee Friendly Apiary based in Baltimore, MD.
WHERE: 4221 Metzerott Rd, College Park, MD 20740 (The Christian Community Social Room)
WHEN: SATURDAY’S February 1st, 8th, & 22nd; March 1st, 22nd; April 12th *Dates subject to change
TIME: 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM
HOW MUCH: $45 for 6 class series,(Single/Family) including a “package hiving demonstration” – $10 Drop In
TO REGISTER: Show up @ 8:00 AM!
Dan & Jeri Hemerlein: BeeHemerlein@gmail.com– (410) 808-9298
Michael Judge: Mjudge2000@gmail.com
Bill Castro: Billiam1969@BeeFriendlyApiary.com– (303) 877-4617
Welcome to 2014! This new year will see some new and exciting developments at WSB. Some of the green projects you’ll see happening (and be able to participate in) around our campus will be rebuilding the earthen oven, an expansion & beautification of our school garden, a new pop-up greenhouse on our terrace, and the building of an herb spiral and a cob structure in the garden. I’m also happy to report that our chickens & bees are doing fine and seem healthy and strong. (Much thanks to the Devecka Family for caring for them over our winter break!)
The Student Council’s TerraCycle project is underway and we already have over 6,000 points to put to good use! Currently up for vote is to help provide fresh water to an African Village or help preserve an acre of US wildlife land. (We’ll be doing both actually — this vote is to set our first goal.) Also, parents & faculty will soon see a surprise gift from the Student Council popping up at events . . . but I’ll leave it’s revelation to them.
With the warmish days, we’ve already gotten started! Below are a couple of photos taken at lunch time this week as dedicated students and I prepare the new flowing edges of our expanded garden. As well as a photo of Children’s Garden parent, Roland Oehme, taken as we were planting some of the trees he donated to our school.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Early Saturday morning, I set our bee colony into their new top-bar hive with the help of Meme Thomas of Baltimore Honey and Emily Uchytil. It was a beautiful, humbling, and exhilarating experience. Over the weeks to come, myself and WSB teachers will be working on incorporating our partnership with the bees into the curriculum, giving the students a chance to observe and learn from these amazing, important creatures.
For now, though, we will give them their space as they learn about their new home and surroundings. Below are some photos taken during their placement into the WSB top-bar hive. Enjoy!
Actually, not quite, but they will be in the next few days. This week I was able to procure a new horizontal, top-bar hive from Baltimore Honey. WSB hosted honeybees from Baltimore Honey on our property before, but this time WE ARE THE BEE GUARDIANS.
I spent the last couple of days painting the new hive (with low VOC paint) and setting it into place. Each of the 4 steel legs had to be buried about 20″ down (which if you’ve dug into our stoney land before, you would know is a rather humbling task). The bees will be delivered sometime between now and Tuesday. Here are some photos of the new hive placed by the top of the driveway:
Last winter I took Baltimore Honey’s Bee Stewardship Workshop — and I’m very excited to be working with a holistic approach to beekeeping and sharing it with our students and community. If you’re interested, watch this 6 minute excerpt from a film by the Bee Guardians at Back Yard Hive: