Jason Oliphant

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since Mar 26, 2020
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Recent posts by Jason Oliphant

I’ve always been interested in the process of turning plant fibers to cloth (linen, hemp) or rope. I suppose spinning is involved but have zero knowledge.

I’d love to learn how. Can spinning be done without a big outlay for equipment?  What can plant fiber be used for without much equipment?

Thanks. Idea sounds great.
Thanks Elle.  You say your top bar hive didn’t survive the cold and snow. What region are you in?  I’m in New England (US).

I live near a small urban wetlands and a large non-pesticide Arboretum so I feel that bee food should be plentiful.
5 months ago
Thanks for the prompt and detailed response. I was a bit afraid of all you said about purchasing a package rather than trying to get a swarm of locals.

I am in Boston and the fellow who got my bees advised me — although I don’t think he was that educated on natural keeping. I asked him about swarms and he said I could wait and try but then I may likely be without for the season. He also said that any swarm I’d get would in most probability be from someone’s hive of purchased bees anyway and not really wild. He believed that “unfortunately there really are no feral bees around anymore.”  

Basically he was suggesting it’s too late here to get local wild bees — as you said local beekeepers have already brought in too many purchased bees.
I hoped that giving them a good home without conventional interference they would adapt and become more “naturalized”.

So I am a bit disheartened now. But to try to make the best of where I am can you tell me a bit more on the options?  You mentioned killing the queen— I guess the newly raised one would mate hopefully with a feral drone in the wild.  

You mentioned weakening the wild genetic pool locally with my drones, so could a case be made to destroy the entire colony leaving the comb and try to replace with a swarm? It sounds terrible and drastic but seems the logical conclusion to your reply.

I’m loathe to do any killing but got the good of the larger bee community and my hive, perhaps?  

And what about his argument that a swarm would be as non-wild as the ones I bought? And if that’s true, is it worth the risk of killing the queen to introduce genetic diversity if that “diversity” is non-local anyway?

I am sincere in my questions here. I really want to do this right even it means starting over from scratch, but with a new fund of knowledge. I appreciate your input and advice.
5 months ago
I built a top bar hive this year with old (unsafe) second hand tools. The hive came out well. My nine remaining fingers and I are new to this, and worried about not getting a swarm in time, we bought a bee package.

I wasn’t keen on feeding them sugar syrup but the guy who sold them, and the info I got from Michael Bush’s website and Christi Hemenway’s book suggest feeding a new package really ought to be done until they can produce some honey.

Any thoughts on this? Feed or not? Sugar or honey? For how long? Supplements to the feed (EM-1? mushroom infusion ala Paul Stamets?). I’d like to be as “natural” and treatment free as I can.

I did feed them 1:1 sugar syrup with some added supplement the seller gave me (some kind of spearmint and lemongrass I think).

Thanks for any info.
5 months ago
Yury -
Thanks for your generosity.

I had posted a welcome and question earlier that got moved by the moderator to a new topic. It was regarding using EM on a lawn to improve soil depth vs treating compost and applying that to the lawn.

The details are in this post:

Thanks again and welcome
6 months ago
Welcome Yury.  We’ve moved into a house with a yard next to an old abandoned service station — from the days of leaded gas etc. The station and it’s waste tanks were just up the hill.  Our yard has very poor soil, not lifeless, but not healthy. The lawn is starting to show some hope with clover, grass, dandelions coming in, some mushrooms and the slow return of earthworms.  The compost heap and garden both struggle.  To help rebuild the soil, is it useful to apply EM directly to the yard, or is it better used on the compost, and then apply the treated compost around the yard?  How about spreading organic matter (saw dust, wood chips, shredded leaves) and applying the EM to that?  Any advice from Yury (or others) would be appreciated.  Thanks and again welcome.
6 months ago