Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stars and Bees

Bees and Hornets are critical to the world. Bees for their generous pollination work and Hornets for driving out Cornwallis. 

This was on the news just this morning.  Old Salem has a Busy Bee Spring Festival you can go to this weekend and see how the Moravians lived during colonial days. They used about 3 beeswax candles each night so they kept bees and made a LOT of twinkling star-like candles. Apparently, you can do that this weekend in Winston-Salem. 

Spring Festival:  Busy Bees

May 23, 2009 throughout the Historic District

Join us to celebrate Spring with a special emphasis on bees and honey.  Learn how important these insects were to our ancestors (& continue to be today).  Demonstrations & hands-on activities will include:

  • Making a beeswax candle
  • Using honey in the kitchen
  • Medicinal uses for honey
  • Bees & pollination in the garden
  • Making Shoemaker's Wax
  • Using Beeswax in trades

Heritage Puppet Productions will present two puppet shows,"The Beekeeper and the Bees" during the day at 1:00 & 3:00 in the Horton Center.

In addition to these demonstrations Old Salem is honored to host two local beekeepers, Buddy Marterre and Greg Norman.  Mr. Marterre will have an observation hive available in the morning and give a presentation on beekeeping.  Mr. Norman will present a talk on "Then and Now in Beekeeping" in the afternoon.  Cloe's Farm will be on hand to sell honey, bee pollen, honey straws & honey candy.

May is a busy time in the gardens, and Old Salem's restored landscape will shine.  Visit the new garden shop at T. Bagge merchant to bring home a piece of Old Salem's historic landscape for your own garden.

The Spring Festival has something for everyone & will be a fun day for the whole family.

Also, a featured farm supply place I had no idea about was The Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. This company in Wilkes county has been around for 30 years making and supplying bee-keeping equipment which is known the world over. They are building a showroom, but it will not be open until next year, so put it on your list. I know it will be as big as Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro.

I myself remember going to the NC State Fair in Raleigh and wondering around by myself as a young  teenager released from parents and little fair-ride fanatic siblings to explore. I found the bee keepers and the hives. I guess I talked to them for more than an hour.  I found the queen. I heard how she is not really born, but made (!!!!!) because the drones feed her special royal jelly. Several of our friends are bee-keepers so we get homemade honey occasionally. With the emerging wine industry, not to mention all the gardening going on, bee-keeping would be a very cool hobby or little business.

When PJ was little, a swarm of bees left their home with a new queen and filled the air around his friend's house in Hickory just as we drove up to play. We were instructed by frantic waving arms to drive in the other side of the circle driveway. By the time we arrived, the bees had settled into a ball about two feet off the ground on a tree trunk.  We got out of the car. We called the extension service and located a list of bee-keepers, one of whom went to my church. You never know who you know! Anyway, he came in his outfit and mask and he found the queen, put her in  a wooden box and aided with a smoking device he herded the bees into the box with her. A little percussion rhythm on the box had them marching right in. The 4-year old boys sat possibly six feet away and watched this process. Very cool.

Bee stings are being investigated for medical therapy. We had a fellow speak at the Elkin Library in 2006 about his bees and his remission from a cancer after taking the stings just for their pain-numbing abilities. I have photos of his speech, but I can't remember his name. So I'll search or ask someone and get back to you.  But bees are little miracle workers. There is a new Honey Bee exhibit at the NC Zoo in Asheboro where you can go see them if you can't wait for the Fair. It opens on June 20th in time for Father's Day.

Three last observations. The Moravians kept excellent records and must know how to do everything.  They have recently attracted our home state TV star,  Andy Griffith  to join the Moravian church in Mt. Airy  where he grew up from his home in Manteo on the Outer Banks near the Historic Albamarle.

2) More speaking of stars, Greg Deering emailed RG last night to inform him that, Steve Martin was playing a Deering Banjo on the American Idol finale. He's pretty good on that thing.

3) You can see more stars at the Cline Observatory located on the campus of Guilford Technical Community College. They have a free viewing every Friday night in Jamestown, NC. They have a new telescope.  

This would be a interesting date weekend. You can tell a lot about a person by how they view the stars and react around honeybees.

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