Speaking of connectivity, nearly everyone agrees that connectivity of tires to the road is a good idea so when we were near Fort Lewis, Washington, a passing motorist waved frantically at us pointing to the left rear tire, I pulled over. Knowing the Land Whale, I knew this was probably extremely necessary. When we pulled safely off the road, our inspection of the rig showed that the outer tire of the rear dual set was pretty much shredded. Since the inner tire was keeping us up, Paul suggested we limp along to the next exit which was about half a mile away and pull off and put the Good Sam Road side Service membership to good use. In spite of taking an inordinate amount of time (a little staff development wouldn't hurt, Good Sam!) to get us located and our needs communicated, we finally got a visit from Bob of S and S Tires. This is what he was faced with:
Friendly Haven Rise Farm.
Navigating the Land Whale to the farm took us over roads that reminded me of a roller coaster. The civil engineers who designed these roads never gave much thought to them EVER having ice on them. I swear the vertical pitch to some of them seemed more than 25%. Like going over an asphalt waterfall. Wheee.
That stopped mattering when we finally arrived at Friendly Haven Rise Farm and the home of Jacqueline and Joseph. Their farm simply buzzes with activity--gardening, goats, chickens, cows, permaculture vegetable beds, cheese-making, and dozens of other farm-related activities. When we got there, we got put right to work butchering recently slaughtered chickens to go in the freezer to be eaten over the winter.
But what about that other buzzing? Why, those are the other several hundred thousand farm workers. Jacqueline is a beekeeper extraordinaire. Using Warre hives primarily, she keeps bees all over her property. The bees are an essential element to pollenization that is the cornerstone to plant production. Without the bees, eating becomes an almost insurmountable problem. Jacqueline, like a lot of beekeepers, has a special relationship with her bees that can best be described as wonder, reverence, fiercely protective and affectionate. She does very little with her bees for the sake of honey, however. That's their reward for the work they do.
Recently an old rotting tree was taken down in the neighborhood. When it hit the ground, the sawyer realized it was full of bees and so Jacqueline was called. Joseph and some friends went and got the portion of the trunk the bees were living in (an eleven foot section he says weighed a thousand pounds) and brought it back to Friendly Haven Rise Farm. Since the space inside the trunk was very limited, after setting it upright, Joseph cut a pattern that matched the exact shape of the top of the trunk and used it to help make the base of a double height Warre hive Jacqueline fixed tot he top of the trunk. That gave the bees a spacious penthouse to move into and enjoy the spectacular views from above the rest of the farm. Today the bees (feral bees of naturally occurring stock) are a prominent part of the Farm operation and are doing well.
|Jacqueline needs a ladder to visit her "tree bees"|
I'm the driver. I am not a permaculturalist, a farmer, or a proselytizer for farming techniques. As a gardener I am little better than a dilettante. Seeing this operation is opening some doors in my mind about farming, though, and new ways of doing things. Jacqueline and Joseph gave me the word on making and applying some stuff called "tree paste" that they say boosts apple tree health and will probably discourage beavers. What's not to like about that?