Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!! Sending you all our love, seasons greetings and a big hug. This post is jointly written by us both, so we’ve labelled the writer at the beginning of each section.
Jayne: We’ve decided to skip Christmas this year. No decorations, we are not sending any Christmas cards, or giving presents, and it has been stress free, uncommercial and very nice so far. We’ve been invited to eat Christmas dinner with new friends in town on the 25th, and I am going to attempt to make pumpkin pies. So far the only troubles I’ve had are not having pumpkin, pie dishes or an oven. It’s all going exactly to plan. I’ve still got two days.
To be honest it doesn’t feel a lot like Christmas here in Mexico. When we do see a decorated tree, or one of the very few houses with lights on them, they seem somehow out of place.
It probably has something to do with the weather…
Beave: Our ability to manifest continues to surprise. Jayne wants local bees on the land. They produce a deep dark honey which is divine stuff. We get a call from a guy who wants to meet up. He is from Chapala and lives close to our illusionary mechanic there.
He has some bees he wants to relocate.
We agree to meet up the next day and potentially collect three hives from somewhere not to far away. The location turns out to be a cornfield less than a mile from our house.
Jayne: I spend quite a lot of time trying to define how La Colina will be in the future. It’s a constantly changing vision and every day we have new ideas, or change course slightly or make a wild new discovery. A few things have been constant however:
- We will manage the land according to permaculture ethics and principles.
- La Colina is intended to be a place for people to take a break from their default world, get in touch with nature, and reset themselves.
- La Colina is our home first and everything else second.
- We will grow food.
- We will have chickens.
- We will have bees.
I am keen to have bees not only for their delicious honey and useful wax, but because bees are so important in keeping our planet alive and thriving, and without them so many plants would not survive. I want to nurture them and keep the planet happy. I was thrilled to hear that the bee man wanted to gift us some hives. However my only beekeeping experience is vicariously through my parents and sister, who have hives in Canada, and my very good friends Arielle and Jon, who have a honey farm.
Beave was nominated head beekeeper because he’s so strong, and the hives are heavy! I’ve seen my sister’s beesuit, and so I made Beave a bee hat by stapling mosquito netting around a straw cowboy hat, and duct-taping the holes shut.
Beave: I have no experience of bee keeping at all although I do know a fairly large crowd of apiarists. Somehow this qualifies me to be appointed chief bee mover. Jayne staples mosquito netting around a straw hat and puts me into a white long sleeve shirt with work gloves and wellies. I am fully protected and ready to go they tell me. Bee man fills a smoker with dried cow pats and in clouds of poo smoke I am introduced to a large amount of fairly pissed off Africanized Mexican bees. They are mildly more aggressive breed and especially today as moving was not in their plan. We wrap the hives in blankets and I carry them to a wheelbarrow. The hives are heavy and vibrating strongly with countless complaining noisy creatures. The buzzing is so loud that I am unable to hear Jayne who is trying to tell me something. I have something on my head apparently. The bees that were not captured in the sheet have all decided the best place to hang out is on my hat. There are hundreds of them up there. No wonder the noise is so loud.
My hands are vibrating strongly. I have learned very quickly that bees do not like the colour black. My black work gloves are covered in stinging bees. A few of them are getting through and it hurts. Thankfully these stings are nothing compared to the hornets and are soon forgotten. I haul the wheelbarrow with one of the sheet wrapped hives across a muddy cornfield three times. With my lungs full of poo smoke and my hands full of stings I am positioned in the back of the truck clinging onto many thousands of angry bees as we head towards their new home. It’s getting dark.
The off load is many times more dangerous. It’s now entirely dark and the torches and lanterns we are using glare my eyes through the mosquito net and also attract bees who are in stinging mood. There are yelps of pain from the torch carriers. “Don’t show the light to the beasts” shouts our bee man helpfully. I blindly and very slowly carry the hives one by one along our jungle path to an area of cleared jungle down a muddy slope. I must avoid tripping on tree stumps and sliding off the path at all costs. The prospect of falling in the dark with a hive of angry bees is not worth contemplating. Finally we have them set and carefully remove the sheets and retreat into the darkness. We return to the tree house to lick our wounds and contemplate our future of abundant honey.
Xmas is approaching. No apologies for lack of Xmas cards and presents. Replacing all that with genuine feelings of connection to all our friends and family. We are truly blessed to know you all.
Feliz Navidad x