Meristem Collective

an urban permaculture and collective housing endeavor

busy bee February 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — meristemcollective @ 12:50 am

The first half of Febury has been an exciting one for me. I got to get dressed up all fancy in a coat and tie so I could go to a meeting with NACA about helping us work out a mortgage to buy a house. I started my Master Community Gardener class thru DUG. I attended a meeting of the Denver Beekeeper Association, and have been reading through “Beekeeping For All” by Abbé Warré, which has a wonderfully simple breakdown of how bees work, and some rather inventive methods. I ordered seeds and transplants through DUG to prepare for my (not so) personal garden, and have been trying to figure out a place to start a community garden as well. And I went arround with some friends to talk with the nieghborhood about gardening,to help us get a better picture of how a community garden would fare. It’s a lot happening all at once. I for one am ready for things to get rolling at this pace. Winters in Denver have a way of killing projects, depressing people, in general just slowing things down.  But with all this warm weather we’ve been having tis winter, I think when spring actually rolls arround peolpe will be going full steam ahead.

Really, though, I am most excited about being able to sit back and watch some bees buzz.  I have been thinking about keeping bees (I really prefer the term “caretaking”) Ever since I stopped by the Ashby community garden in Berkeley a couple years back.  Me and a friend were trying to start a bike tour, but when we got off the train in Berkeley and assembled our bikes, it turned out my friend hadn’t properly equipped himself for the journey, and his trailer kept slipping, causing his back wheel to rub against his bike, so, we ended up walking to our first (and only) “” hook-up.  We walked down Ashby st, and when we aw the community garden, old bike wheels lining the top of the fence with vines growing all over them, we felt we just had to stop by.  The next day, having no other agenda other than trying to fix my friends bike, we dropped in, and what we saw was a little utopia.  There among all the vegetables, ducks were waddling around grazing, bees were buzzing from flower to flower, and a couple people were working the land.  We introduced ourselves, and asked if we could help.  After half an hour  of weeding/watering, we sat down to talk about the garden.  I had always thought bees were really cool, and asked about them immediately.  They had three hives, they said, and had only had them for a couple of years.  They kept two in an old chest of drawers, and another one separate from that.  They hadn’t gotten much honey the first year, but more the second, and the bees seemed to be taking pretty well.  They never gave anybody in the garden any trouble.  They mostly just flew back and forth from a flower patch that was right by their hives.  They didn’t have much equipment for dealing with them, either, just a face mask,  but the said as long as you were peaceful and mindful, the bees wouldn’t bother you.

I was dumbfounded.  I had always though of bees as gentle, but to be able to keep them with so little effort or trouble, and to have them do so well!  Since then I have just bee biding my time, waiting until I was in a good place to try and keep bees.  This year seems to be the one, with the new ordinance being passed allowing for Denver residences to have up to two hives, and with me not traveling all over Europe any more.

But, there are many things to do before then.  I have to find a new place to live this month, and probably a new job.  The Meristem Newsletter is supposed to be out by next week, and I haven’t done near as much for it as I should. I have to find a piece of land for our community garden, and negotiate us gardening on it.   In  between all that, I’ll be prone to daydreaming about how nice this spring will be, sitting in a garden somewhere with bees buzzing around me and new plants coming through the ground everywhere as the weather warms up for real.


Spring in January? January 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — meristemcollective @ 11:13 pm
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Today, the sun is shining and nearly all the snow from the previous week has disappeared. Barring the calendar date and the barren trees, it would be pretty easy to assume it was Spring in Denver. Today also happens to be a Meristem workday. We’ve been meeting now for nearly half a year and as we usher in a new year, we’re shifting into high-gear to prepare for the spring.

Flipping through the pages of seed books, it’s easy to get excited about the coming season. We are making the preliminary decisions about what to grow and have begun discussing how we can accommodate a small flock of chickens. Loreli, a collective member, began building and testing a compost sifter. Of course, there is still a bit of time before the spring season actually rolls around, but these last few sunny days have inspired everyone to start thinking about the spring-time.