Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Where would we be with out this little gem, `The Life of the Bee` by Maurice Materlinck, translated by Alfred Sutro. First published in May 1901, reprinted every year up to 1912, with the Pocket Edition in 1908 to 1920.
`What is this "spirit of the hive" - where does it reside ? It is not like the special instinct that teaches the bird to construct its well-planned nest, and then seek other skies when the day for migration returns. Nor is it a kind of mechanical habit of the race, or blind craving for life, that will fling the bees upon any wild hazard the moment an unforseen event shall derange the accustomed order of phenomena. On the contary, be the event never so masterful, the "spirit of the hive" still will follow it, step by step, like an alert and quick-witted slave, who is able to derive advantage even further from his master`s most dangerous orders.
It regulates day by day the number of births, and contrives that these shall strictly accord with the number of flowers that brighten the country-side. It decrees the queens deposition, or warns her that she must depart; it compels her to bring her own rivals into the world, and rears them royally, protecting them from their mothers political hatred. So, too, in accordance with the generosity of the flowers, the age of the spring, and the probable dangers of the nuptial flight, it will permit or forbid the first-born of the royal princesses to slay in their cradles her younger sisters, who are singing the song of the queens`
I love the language used by Materlinck, it sings to me and describes even the most ordinary occasion beautifully. Who could not resist reading the chapter `The Massacre of the Males`??
Another book with interesting chapter titles, eg, `The Nest of the Four-Winged`, `Living Brush` and `A Turn of the Spiral` amongst others.
As you can imagine, this book has socialist views of beekeeping and some interesting perspectives on life in general, this is from the last couple of pages: This creative impulse manifests itself in the every-day work of millions of working people of the Soviet Land, workers in the green factory.
Orderly rows of the future forest belts stretch criss-cross over thousands of kilometres; there, in clusters, rise young oaks, spreading their green leaves and growing stronger and stronger as years go by.
Powerful tractors furrow the fields with glittering steel coulters and leave behind wide ribands of soil made fertile by the roots of sown mixed grasses.
Fields of these grasses form an endless carpet and the bees sent here by man reach with their proboscides into floret after floret of collective - farm clover.
All this has been done by the hands and minds of the Soviet people, people that were the first in the world to become masters of their own destiny and are the first to become masters of Nature`
Well, life in Russia has changed over the last few years, this book is certainly an insight into a period of history I didn`t know that much about.
I found this book fascinating, these hives were works of art - very pleasing to look at. The inside of the hive was often grained and varnished with elaborate entrances and facade.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
The second garden I went to was this gully section on the outskirts of the city. Hamilton is made up of a number of gully systems that run through the city. At last people are bringing these areas of land back to life and replanting with native plants. Most of the gullies are full of weeds like willow and privet plus old car bodies and fridges !! This garden went down to a steam and has been planted with flax, cabbage trees, kauri, kahikatea, pukatea and many other appropriate plants, many being eco-sourced from the surrounding areas.