…The summer's life has yielded Itself into my keeping. -Rudolf Steiner "The Calendar of the Soul FALL 2012 In this issue: ▪ Summer Reflections▪

fall layers

…The summer's life has yielded
Itself into my keeping.

-Rudolf Steiner "The Calendar of the Soul

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FALL 2012

In this issue:

Summer Reflections
Capital Campaign Update
Summer Highlights
Reflections from our Staff

Dear Friends,

Looking back on this summer, we can say that the tone set early on in the year––bees collecting pollen in January/February and the extreme amount of swarming in Spring (seemingly all over the country)--found its rightful, harmonious continuation and amplification in the ensuing months. We can summarize this summer with three words:

busy – productive – rewarding

Of course, the swarms and splits kept us occupied providing homes, inspecting, adding more boxes or top bars, etc. Our "old girls" allowed us again this year to harvest absolutely wonderful honey. We are pleased when it scratches the throat a bit, a sign of real/unadulterated honey.

With the great help of Jane, our sanctuary assistant and coordinator, much expansion and growth was possible in the gardens. Thanks to her hard work, the Sanctuary had much to offer this season, a true feast for the eyes with the beautiful flowerbeds - and for the mouth with the delicious biodynamic vegetables.

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The participation of our interns Summer, Malady, Brian and Shayne added a bounty of laughter, hard work, joy and simply human substance and life. We offer them and all our volunteers, and friends a big "thank you." Many visitors, workshop attendees and volunteers perceived the healing atmosphere of the Sanctuary, enlivened by the biodynamic preparations. Land always yearns for human beings to create beauty and harmony. Of course the bees wear the glue in all of this, feeling the landscape with their buzz and presents.


The work on our tutorial DVD, which was stopped in February by James not being able to continue with it, went through a real crisis until we found the video firm "VPS Studios" in Roanoke this summer. A great team is working on it right now. One good outcome of the delay is that we had a whole new bee season for more shots. We feel relieved that the incredibly difficult and creative activity of editing has begun and look forward to the DVD release date.

As we head into fall, our main concern lies in getting all the hives ready for the winter. Perennial flower beds as well as the vegetable garden also need to get 'winterized'. Workshops and screenings will take place in Tennessee, on Long Island www.marders.com and in Wisconsin at the Biodynamic Conference. Next month we also look forward to all of our board members joining us in Floyd for lots of work preparing for the following year.

Gunther & Vivian


Capital Campaign Update

Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary would not exist were it not for a good number of individuals and a few foundations lending their helping hand. Our Capital Campaign was launched at the end of 2011 in order to raise the funds needed to expand our work. By late winter we were able to raise $133,000 from seven individuals, which enabled us to purchase the beautiful 25 acres! Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to these friends for making this amazing step possible. We also reached out to a number of other friends whose donations allowed us to get some basic infrastructure in place including:

* A well (at 300 ft.) which now gives us 10 gal/min. of excellent drinking water and water stations at each of the main garden areas.
* Deer fencing now surrounds the 7 acres where the bees, gardens and orchard are located.
* Underground electric service is now in place.
* A small parking area has been created to help accommodate our visitors.

A warm "thank-You" to all of them for this great help. We're half-way there, but still need all of your help in order to achieve our goals. Please consider making a donation to our Capital Campaign to help fund the building of the 'Bee Barn'.


Summer Highlights

Summer saw many visitors to the sanctuary and offered several unique opportunities for us to reach new audiences with our message of hope for the bees. Here are some of the highlights:

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Educational Workshops in Floyd – Honey Harvest, Mite Treatments, Winter Preparation
Sustainable Biodynamic Beekeeping Training Sessions I & II – over 30 people from 13 states & Canada attended the first two sessions of our two-year intensive training. One of our interns wrote a wonderful piece about the class which is posted on the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association website – check it out here.
Gunther and Vivian traveled to New Hampshire to present a 5-day course at the Anthroposophy "Renewal" training. They also gave a workshop at W.S. Badger where they were deeply touched by the beauty, care and social commitment implemented at Badger's new facility.
Gunther & Vivian traveled to the Community Farm of Ann Arbor for a screening and workshop.
'Queen of the Sun' is now available for purchase on our website (DVD or digital download). Gunther is featured in this film which is a must-see for all!
Volunteers from our summer 'Volunteer Days' helped create new beds, plant perennials along our new fence line and shape a new rock garden.
Over 30 people from the Floyd Garden Club visited the sanctuary this summer.
Gunther gave two radio interviews this summer: 1) Daniel Michael 'Mainstreet Universe Radio Show' and 2) Zohara Hieronimus 21st Century Radio
One of our hens hatched seven new baby chicks in August which provided heart-warming scenes and much joy for the staff and visitors.


Reflections from Our Staff

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Malaby Webster, Summer Intern
This summer I had the great opportunity to go beyond the basics and gain a deep respect for all the Beings at work on Earth. Every one of them having a specific purpose but contributing to the ‘whole’. I could go on and on about what I have learned here such as different kind of hives, how much honey to leave them for the winter months, and how to combine two weak hives, but that is not what I think of when I look back on this internship. What I will forever carry with me are things such as going into the hives alongside Gunther and Vivian and sensing the bees’ energy. Some days we would find that they were agitated because of the weather or possibly because they had a weak or even no queen at all. Things like this you can’t learn from a book. You have to experience first hand with an open heart trying to understand how you can help them. I have learned that observation is the key to working with nature. If we do not observe with an open mind and heart, we are bound to make mistakes.


Jane Tanner, Sanctuary Assistant
It has been a privilege to spend the spring, summer, and now the fall, at Spikenard and participate in nurturing the gardens and the honeybees through the seasons. We weathered a few heat-waves this summer and welcomed many visitors who were inspired by the work we are doing here. The interns and I enjoyed the camaraderie when several dozen folks came from around the country in June and August for intensive training in biodynamic beekeeping. We were awed by the thousands of honeybees and other pollinators crowding on the spectacular blooms in the perennial garden. We harvested basket after basket of vegetables and herbs from the garden we tended to feed the beekeepers. Now, the days are shorter, and we’ve been collecting seeds to use next spring to begin again. It has been an incredible experience, learning the intricacies of the hives and becoming intimate with the individual honeybee colonies, each with its own character and personality. This has been an incredible biodynamic training ground, where I’ve learned to work with the cosmic rhythms in planting and working with the bees, participated in preparations and came to appreciate careful attention to the compost and soil.


Morgan Ohland, Director of Operations
Several weeks ago I was in the office working when our founders, Gunther & Vivian, called me to join them outside. What happened next is one of those moments I will never forget. Gunther & Vivian had opened one of the hives and were evaluating the health of the bees – over 40,000 of them! There we all stood – without veils or bee suits – not a foot away from the hive. The bees were calmly going about their business as Vivian & Gunther went about theirs. One by one they removed the frames (where the comb is built) and inspected the bees. On the second frame Vivian spotted the queen. She was so much bigger than I had expected! That day I also learned to tell the difference between a worker bee and a drone – and even held a drone in my hand (the drones can't sting). They pointed out the tiny eggs and developing brood in the cells of the comb. Each frame was covered in bees – in places they were so densely packed you couldn't see the honeycomb! They had a small smoker that they used sparingly in short bursts to nudge the bees away from edges and corners as they took the hive apart and put it back together again. What an amazing experience!

I am not a beekeeper and prior to coming to work for Spikenard I had only a passing awareness of the honeybee crisis. Like most, I knew that honey is produced by honeybees, but this amazing creature's role in our food supply extends much farther than that. Apples, cucumbers, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots, avocados, almonds, melons & berries are all pollinated by honeybees. In fact, Honeybees are responsible for about 30%-70% of all of the food that we eat – and they are in trouble. According to the USDA the United States has lost 30-36% of their honeybees every year since 2007. I can’t imagine a world without the tastes, textures and color of all the many fruits and vegetables that we enjoy today, but it is a future that could be ours if we don’t act now to save our pollinator friends.

We need your help to raise awareness about the bees. Please visit our website and learn how you can help. Thank you!

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