You know something is up when students come to school early for some extra lessons with their teacher. Yet this is no ordinary school, nor is our teachers. At farm school we learn about a way of life and opportunities that follow the rhythms of the earth and not from our own schedule. Something that we do not have full control of yet some how there is a sense of freedom when we learn to work along side with nature. This is why I’m here at Farm School- to learn as much as I can on farming. It is now the time of the year where the sun is shinning through the hazelnut trees on the farm where our Bee Master, Brian Campbell, has placed his beehives to bask in full sunlight.
On Friday mornings from 10:30am till 12:00pm, some of us farm school students sneak in some time before class to check on the beehives with Brian. Once we walk into the orchard it’s obvious to see that the bees are now in full production. The foragers, now familiar with their surroundings, begin searching for high quality pollen to bring back to the colony. Once a forager bee finds a good harvest of pollen in a certain area, they communicate with fellow forager bees of this location with a sporadic victory dance. It’s amazing to see how these little bees communicate!
Once we open up the hive we begin to take a look at each frame. So as we are doing this we notice the bees clinging on to one another, creating a cluster of bees (as seen in the picture above). We learn that this is called festooning. Brian explains that this is how the bees make wax; by keeping each other warm, the younger worker bees are able to produce wax from their glands and they use this to make the life-sustaining organ of the hive: the wax comb.
As I continue to come early every Friday morning to open up the hives with Brian, it became clear to me as to just how passionate the teachers at Farm School are. The wonderful thing about Farm School is that all our teachers are there to stimulate our specific interests in farming and work along side us as we learn. To have teachers like this, there is so much room for us (that are learning) to share our creativity and curiosity with one another. And its pretty much all hands on learning! It’s just that awesome….
A little about me
Hi! My name is Kristina and I am a student at Farm School this year.
I came to Farm School to learn about something I knew nothing about. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s pretty much it. And just by being at farm school for these past four months I have learned so much! So if there is someone who is reading this who thinks they are incapable of learning how to farm, then think again! You just have to take that first step and you never know where it will take you.
And a hard lesson to learn on a farm…
So unfortunately a mink had made its way into our little chicken coop (around the second weekend of May) on the farm and killed all but three of our chickens. I remember just reading the weekly announcements that Chris, our farm coordinator, sent to us that week. The news was so shocking and horrific that I had to read it a couple of times before it could truly sink in. I had been on chicken care before this incident had happened, and I had grown quite fawned of the little chickens. I know for a fact that in my mind I had made these chickens into my pets, and now I know why, Clayton, our poultry instructor, had mentioned a couple of times to never do what I had just did. Chicken= meat and eggs, thus is considered livestock. Anyways, Chris was right when he wrote how there is always a possibility for farmers to lose their livestock to predators- it was a hard lesson to learn. But even so, there is always room to grow as a farmer; we looked at how and why this had happened. What are some changes that need to take place for this kind of farm to have chickens? So it was decided for the time being not have chickens on the farm, just because there are too many risks involved. Also I should note, to all those who are wondering, that the three surviving chickens are doing great and now have a new home with Clayton on his property. So all is not entirely lost! Sigh, I just couldn’t end on a sad note.