More Bees Please

For such a small creature, bees truly make a big impact. It is estimated that one out of every three bites of food that we eat is only possible because of pollinators like honey bees. It only makes sense that we do everything in our power to keep local bees strong and healthy, so they can keep doing what they do.

Did you know that it takes about two million flowers and 556 honeybees to make one pound of honey?

What bees need most is pollen and nectar. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Plant a variety of wildflowers, perennials and trees ensuring that you have blooms from April to October.
  2. Avoid using any kind of pesticides (they kill insects).
  3. Only use herbicides when plants are not in bloom and so that it doesn’t touch any standing water (bees need clean food and water supplies).

Articles that may spark even more ideas:

  1. Spare the dandelions, save some bees
    Dandelions are an early source of food for bees so leave them on your lawn all summer or at least until other blooms appear.
  2. Feeling lucky? Plant a clover lawn
    Replace grass with bee-friendly plants such as creeping thyme, self-heal and dutch white clover.
  3. Buy local honey
    Supporting beekeepers in your area not only keeps the local economy strong, it provides you with the purest form of honey.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to help our amazing bees.

Wisdom from the Honey Bee

I recently attended a speaking event called “Lessons from the Humble Honey Bee” through an organization called Ladies Out Loud (details below). Guest speaker, Lori DuMont, was informative, entertaining and truly inspiring!

While Lori covered interesting facts about bees and beekeeping, it was the life lessons we can take from them that I want to share with you.

All jobs are important

  • Whatever you are doing, whether you are the queen, worker or drone, your skills and tasks are vital to the community.

The queen bee works for the colony

  • No matter what your position, always work for the benefit of the group.

Look to the future to prepare and thrive

  • Prepare diligently and methodically for harder times.

Success requires a non-partisan, informed democracy

  • Share wisdom and communicate effectively with each other, always with the focus of benefiting the whole.

Your 1/12 of a teaspoon counts!

  • Each individual honey bee provides about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. It doesn’t matter how small your contribution is, it still counts!

As we watch what is happening around the world, it can feel discouraging. Will our efforts make a difference? The humble honey bee says YES!

Every little thing we do helps to make the world a better place. Keep going!

Biographies

Lori DuMont is a teacher, pianist, bibliophile, gardener, and honeybee enthusiast. She lives in Airdrie with her husband and two young children.

Ladies out Loud is for women who are interested in learning, who want to be inspired by other women, and who like to have fun and chat about anything and everything (website).

ABC Bees is a pioneer Canada-wide for beekeeping education and innovation. They are Alberta’s only educator of beginner, intermediate, and advanced beekeeping skills. (website)

Replacing Plastic Produce Bags

I’m continuing my mission to eliminate single use plastic in my life. This week it’s about no longer using those flimsy plastic produce bags that come in rolls at the grocery story.

I realize I could just place produce in my grocery cart “as is” and not bother with any kind of bag. I already do that for fruits and veggies that have skins I don’t use (bananas, onions, etc.) however I just don’t feel comfortable putting my kale and broccoli in a cart (or on the checkout scanner) that may have recently been in contact with raw meat.

I did some research on this as I wanted to make sure that my replacement wasn’t harmful for the environment. A friend sent me an article on why cotton totes were worse than plastic (thanks Helen). I also read through All About Bags, Types of Reusable Bags which gives advantages and disadvantages of bags based on type of material.

ChicoBag Reusable Mesh Produce Bags

In the end, I decided to go with bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and chose the ChicoBag Reusable Mesh Produce Bags from Well.ca where we already shop.

They work great! And it feels good to do something to reduce the number of bottles that end up in the ocean.

Now, if we could only get grocery stores to stop using plastic wrap as well.

Today Is The Day We Decide

There are many things I love about my husband. One of them is his constant focus on doing the right thing with regards to the environment.

We recycle and compost everything we can, as many people do. We also donate and reuse household items so as not to throw them out. If an item is no longer useable, my husband takes the time to find out how he can still recycle the materials (e.g. metal, etc.)

Just this past week our gas lawnmower, which was over 20 years old, finally gave up. After asking around my husband realized it would be just too expensive to repair and he doesn’t have the knowledge or tools to do it himself. He decided the best choice of action was to give it to someone who can repair it and buy himself a new one.

He came home with a push lawnmower.

Yes, they still make them. Good choice honey! I’m so proud of being married to someone who cares so much about our environment.

That said, we both realize that there is still much we can do to protect our beautiful world. There is much we can all do to help our environment.

Today is the day we can decide to do better.

This is the biggest thing David Suzuki has ever done. Around the world, more than 110 nations recognize the right to live in a healthy environment, but not Canada.

Together, we can change that: http://www.bluedot.ca/join-us

Sustainable Architecture

View this brilliant idea for greener urban development. Encouraging news for future environmentally friendly cities!

The Purpose of Spring

Ah spring! The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, the air is fresh and clean. Nature is renewed again and it’s a smorgasbord of delights for our senses.

It makes me ponder on the purpose of spring.

While I see winter as a time of rest and going within; fall as a time to shed things that are no longer needed and summer a reminder to engage in carefree play, spring is a time of new growth and new life.

But it’s more than that.

Spring reminds us to take notice of all the little details around us – the colors, the scents, the sounds – it provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness each time we step out our doors.

Today, take a walk outdoors and notice the smallest details – a bug scurrying across your path, the various chirps, the tiniest new growth on trees, the multitude of shades in one color. Feel the sun or wind or rain on your face.

Then take that mindfulness with you.Continue noticing the small details throughout your day. You just may carry the delight of the season with you.

New Life

The delightful scene I found on my walk today.

 

Celebrating Our Beautiful Earth

Today is Earth Day. Let us give our heartfelt gratitude to this beautiful planet in which we live.

Our Gift of EarthTake the time to go for a walk and look around. Notice the sparkling blue sky, the colors of the season, the diversity of the landscape, the flowers and plants coming alive.

Listen closely to hear the insects, birds and animals speaking to us.

Breathe deeply and inhale the scents that come from the earth; enjoy the feel of the air in your lungs.

While you drink and eat your meals, remember where the food came from and how our earth sustains us.

When you stop and think about it, we truly live in paradise. All our needs are taken care of.

Give thanks to our amazing world. It is a gift to cherish.

With a heart full of gratitude, quietly vow to give back to Mother Earth, as she so graciously gives to us.

 

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