Joseph Walker

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since Sep 13, 2014
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Recent posts by Joseph Walker

ok.... my mistake. Was just suprised not to see the Permies .com logo on show with the others. I came across Lorenzo, though I did not know at the time he was affiliated . Glad to know. It is/was a really good event, loads of like minded folks all with agendas of the most positive kind. Thanks for filling me in. and pleased to know the connection is there
so an open thread...just thought i would mention how suprised i am at the fact that no one at permies.com has even mentioned the international permaculture confrence which took place in London this week, with a convergence in Giswell park east London for the next week attached. Over 70 countries sent representitives, Mr. Poritt and Mr. Lawson just two of the keynote speakers, the representitives from India who will be hosting the next confrence. Such a great event. Find it very difficult to understand why you folk did not contribute or have a representation at the event.
Firstly, the "stamets" solution is a very good and cost effective method. Then afterwards I would get A flock of "rescue" chickens and let them have the time of their life. They will dig threw the entire thing, and enjoy doing so, and in the end you will be left with one nice pile.
3 years ago
pond with fish, and floating garden above, same pump system but without the filter. best and most productive garden you could ever have.
3 years ago
Hey, for what it is worth... you are young, asking all the right questions and getting great feedback. Listen to everyone. Trust yourself without question. My only advice is; save your money for the day inspiration arrives, you will know. My only criticism of your plan ; forget the idea of retirement , life is to wonderful to ever stop exploring , and with the attitude you have now, you will be a very busy and in demand old man.
3 years ago
Really good. Clear,sincere and concise. Thanks. Magnificent tree.
Hi David,
I take your points well. I tend to use foundation as it makes assessment and harvest easy ,especially with a cut comb product .In the past when I have not, both issues become very different prospects .
In regard to the culling , again it is often to do with an issue that has inhibited some aspect of the nuc's development. Some sets of genes are just not as viable as others.
As far as the drones go, in a healthy apiary there are so many that the few I lose to varroa control seems a bargin.
On the foundation point I have made my own but with the time involved and so much else to do, I trade in my excess wax and buy pure sterile foundation in return. This stores very well and allows me the freedom to easily exchange frames between hives and nucs, making it very easy to feed or expand or reduce as needed. And most importantly it allows me to exploit a really large colony to draw out new frames for smaller groups that might find it much more difficult, this little helper looms large as many new queens have great laying power but their overall numbers would be under great stress to draw out or build sufficient comb to satisfy their queens ability. This one usage makes the difference between a young queen being able to fill a brood box in one summer as opposed to 2 or 3 frames worth left on their own. I have also found that a young newly mated queen will lay at the rate she first becomes used to. If she is waiting around for comb to be drawn or built she will often lay at that rate her whole life. If the first thing she sees after mating is an overabundance of clean polished cells she will fill them all with remarkable speed, maintaining that as her "habit".
4 years ago
Hi David,
I choose which queens I like the best, production, propolis but most of all temperment. Calm ,hardworking and clean. Some queens are just not nice, not calm on the comb or lazy. From the groups I admire, I use a feather to procure the most recently laid eggs I can find and place them on a rail fitted with queens cups, each rail has two rows of six, one below the other. This rail goes back to a large strong group for development and on the 17th day I detach each queen cup from the rail and place in a tiny nuc with a supply of fondant and literally a "cup" of bees. This nuc I close up for five days and allow the queen to emerge under the care of the cupful. I line up all these tiny nucs in the apiary and keep an eye on them and it is not difficult to tell over the next two weeks which are nice or mean, lazy or hardworking. I let mating take place naturally within the gene pool of the apiary. I then take the nicest of them and transfer to normal size nucs and continue to let them develop threw out the summer to a size that can make it threw the winter. Sometimes I combine these nucs by eliminating a queen. Sometimes I use them to replace older queens in the apiary. All in all I normally narrow down to the best four or five for the next season as I like to keep my apiary in the 10 to 15 hive region.
In regard to swarming...... I always make sure there is plenty of room in the brood box in the spring. And queens that have that tendency are always high on the list of those to be replaced. Also I put bait boxes around the property, for a lure I simply use a piece of brood frame that a queen has walked on in an old nuc box. This works very well and have noticed over the years that the bait boxes that work best are the ones that are placed on higher ground than the original hive and within the working radius of the apiary. If sometimes the group is totally determined to fly, I let it rather than chase it and try to force it to my will. And most years I have no swarming but collect swarms from the bait boxes that have been attracted from the wild or wherever.
By making queens each season I have more than enough and with the good atmosphere of the apiary the vast majority are happy and willing to stay. Also I do not inspect just for the sake, I have a lot of fruit trees and harvest the spring honey separate from the summer in the form of cut comb, so when I am doing this I just have a peek and this gives me a really clear view as to who is happy and content and who is not. All in all I try to leave them be, as the one thing I know for sure is that they know best.
In regard to varroa I use screen floors which give the group the oppertunity to help themselves and some groups are much better at this than others, the ones that are not are I often replace the queen and this always helps and if not simply put them down before a long slow winters death, but this does not occur to often. I also use 1 frame in the brood box that is from a super in the middle of the brood. This creates a gap that the bees do not like so they fill it with wild comb. For some reason the group likes to utilize this wild piece of comb for drone production and as the drones take longer to emerge than the rest, the varroa prefer to incubate in these cells. It makes it very easy for me to simply cut out this section and feed it to the birds and the varroa numbers stay very low.
4 years ago
There is no replacement for time. After many years what have I really learned from helping bees take care of themselves? I am involved is because I want products from the hive. But unlike other animals,insects, birds and forces of nature I seek to get theses products without destruction of the hive. Spending time in the apiary is something that gives me great pleasure. It is an atmosphere like no other.
There are bee keepers and bee havers.
The havers have trouble with disease and swarming year in and out. Talking about it often. And know exactly how much honey was taken each year. And their expectations for next.
The keepers roll with the punches, select their best , develop queens, build them well, separate and combine them and keep a strong genetic apiary as a standard, a good atmosphere for mating and nuc development .
I have observed that site selection is underestimated by a lot of folks. If one gets some basics right, the bees will do quite good if there is forage . One can have a clear sense of the flavour of the honey by knowing the land the apiary will work. And if this is the case one will know when help is needed and when not.
So much has been written on the subject, I recommend to read everything you come across. Seek out local keepers , it can save you years of trial and error.
Winning badges and promoting oneself beyond another in stature seems a path unfocused in regard to the tradition of the hive. As farmers we are opportunists and in bees there can be no greater advisors to the local we seek to exploit.

............."If you don't like chickens, but are determined to have fresh eggs, things are not going to work out to well for the chickens."................
4 years ago
just to mention, Hazelnuts are splendid bushes to plant if one was interested in growing truffles. One year old plants can be bought whose root systems have been inoculated and it really works well .
4 years ago