Are Urban Bees Immune to Colony Collapse Disorder?

About a month after we moved to our new home, a few of neighbors came by to personally thank us.  They said they hadn’t seen bees in their garden in quite a while and they were happy to see them returning.

They came to thank us, because we are Urban Beekeepers.

My husband and I keep several hives tucked into a corner of our backyard in full sun and out of the way of the neighbors. They zip and buzz over a mammoth hedge and into the blue sky above.

Urban Hives in a Backyard

They roam the parks and gardens of our suburban neighborhood visiting a large variety of plants, trees, weeds and wildflowers which classifies our honey in the Wildflower category and makes for distinctly different flavors from season to season depending on what is currently in bloom.

Color Variations from Harvest to Harvest

We practice Natural, Ethical and Sustainable Beekeeping Principles.  We do not use any treatments or pesticides on bees or in our garden.  We leave the bees alone to do their thing and only intervene as needed.

Taking all those things into account, it is reasonable to think that we should be losing hives to Colony Collapse Disorder left and right, but we’re not.  We could run extensive tests and get down to the genetics of our bees, but even if we did, we can’t know for sure because no one has really been able to pin-point the exact cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. More and more researchers attest that the cause lay in multiple factors and that no one clear cut culprit can be blamed.

I personally hope it has something to do our excellent care but I know that South Florida’s great weather, the reduced number of pesticides in urban areas versus agricultural areas, and our local plant diversity are more than likely helping too.

We are not the only lucky ones.  Sure, South Florida has great weather but Urban Beekeepers everywhere are reporting the same fortune.  Noah Wilson-Rich, a Simmons College’s faculty members in the Department of Biology and Urban Beekeeper estimates that the “survival of bees is greater in urban beekeeping (62.5%) than the more traditional rural beekeeping (40%)”

Could Urban Beekeeping be the solution to the elusive Colony Collapse Disorder?

Scientists still have many more questions to answer here and I think we need to do a lot of thinking about the chemicals we are putting into our foods and the effects they are having on us personally, locally, nationally and globally.  But until that happens, I do believe the salvation of the bees may lay in our cities and the hands of men and women who dare to keep them.





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

What Grows on Your Balcony? Update 02/05/2014

Yeah! And forget balconies too!  Use them to grow!

We are big proponents of growing food, not lawns.  But we take it one step further!  Balconies could be the only lawn most people have for a large portion of their lives.  City living crams more and more people into tiny spaces leaving less and less outside space for each of us.  Why not use the tiny spaces to grow flowers, herbs, or even some small vegetables.  Sure, the crop won’t be huge but the gain will be incredible!

Sprouting
Blackberries, Raspberries, Grapes and Grapes
Basil, Basil, Basil
Aji dulces and sabrocitos sprouting
Oregano, Basil, Mint, Dragon Fruit
Ducli berries facing the cold
Basil reviving after a rather vicious pesto pruning
Balcony Garlic sprouting
Rosemary spring sprouting roots




This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

What Grows on Your Balcony? Update 02/05/2014

Yeah! And forget balconies too!  Use them to grow!

We are big proponents of growing food, not lawns.  But we take it one step further!  Balconies could be the only lawn most people have for a large portion of their lives.  City living crams more and more people into tiny spaces leaving less and less outside space for each of us.  Why not use the tiny spaces to grow flowers, herbs, or even some small vegetables.  Sure, the crop won’t be huge but the gain will be incredible!

Sprouting 

Blackberries, Raspberries, Grapes and Grapes

Basil, Basil, Basil

Aji dulces and sabrocitos sprouting

Oregano, Basil, Mint, Dragon Fruit

Ducli berries facing the cold

Basil reviving after a rather vicious pesto pruning

Balcony Garlic sprouting

Rosemary spring sprouting roots





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

What Grows on Your Balcony? Update 01/25/2014

We have left our Zone 10b home behind to venture off and relocate to Zone 9b adding a myriad of new growing options to our already long wish list.  We are in the process of find a long term home where we can plant in the ground but for now we will go back to balcony gardening as a means to release our primal gardening urges.

Garlic shooting up from our balcony garden
Lemongrass relocated from Miami
Dulci Berry, Magic fruit, seedling
Mint in a tiny pot
Aji Dulce, Aji cachuca sproted in a gallon milk jug




This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

Breakfast Bake, Warm in the Tummy

I woke up with an insatiable urge to bake and with breakfast in my sights I plotted how to make a tummy warming baked breakfast dish.  
I pulled out my available arsenal of ingredients and starting putting together an impromptu Breakfast Bake.
The best part of this recipe is that you can personalize with whatever you may have on hand.  Ham could easily replace the bacon.  Green pepper, spinach and any myriad of  veggies could be added when available. Frozen French Fries,  Sliced Potatoes or any version of hash browns could replace the tater tots.  The variations are endless. 
Right from the oven, baked and tummy warming

… and the result, just as tummy warming as I hoped 🙂

SUPPLIES

A bowl
A baking dish

INGREDIENTS

10 oz Hash Brown Tater Tots
4 slices of Bacon, cooked to your liking
4 Eggs
3 tbsp Milk
1 small Onion, cubed
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch pepper
Grated Cheese, to your liking, I used about 1/2 cup

METHOD

1. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl except for the Hash Brown Tater Tots

2. Pour mixture into baking dish

3. Top mixture with Hash Brown Tatter Tots and more grated cheese as you like.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

What Grows on Your Balcony? Update 01/25/2014

We have left our Zone 10b home behind to venture off and relocate to Zone 9b adding a myriad of new growing options to our already long wish list.  We are in the process of find a long term home where we can plant in the ground but for now we will go back to balcony gardening as a means to release our primal gardening urges.

Garlic shooting up from our balcony garden
Lemongrass relocated from Miami
Dulci Berry, Magic fruit, seedling

Mint in a tiny pot

Aji Dulce, Aji cachuca sproted in a gallon milk jug





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

Breakfast Bake, Warm in the Tummy

I woke up with an insatiable urge to bake and with breakfast in my sights I plotted how to make a tummy warming baked breakfast dish.  
I pulled out my available arsenal of ingredients and starting putting together an impromptu Breakfast Bake.
The best part of this recipe is that you can personalize with whatever you may have on hand.  Ham could easily replace the bacon.  Green pepper, spinach and any myriad of  veggies could be added when available. Frozen French Fries,  Sliced Potatoes or any version of hash browns could replace the tater tots.  The variations are endless. 
Right from the oven, baked and tummy warming

… and the result, just as tummy warming as I hoped 🙂

SUPPLIES

A bowl
A baking dish

INGREDIENTS

10 oz Hash Brown Tater Tots
4 slices of Bacon, cooked to your liking
4 Eggs
3 tbsp Milk
1 small Onion, cubed
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch pepper
Grated Cheese, to your liking, I used about 1/2 cup

METHOD

1. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl except for the Hash Brown Tater Tots

2. Pour mixture into baking dish

3. Top mixture with Hash Brown Tatter Tots and more grated cheese as you like.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

Are Urban Bees Immune to Colony Collapse Disorder?

About a month after we moved to our new home, a few of neighbors came by to personally thank us.  They said they hadn’t seen bees in their garden in quite a while and they were happy to see them returning.

They came to thank us, because we are Urban Beekeepers.

My husband and I keep several hives tucked into a corner of our backyard in full sun and out of the way of the neighbors. They zip and buzz over a mammoth hedge and into the blue sky above.

Urban Hives in a Backyard

They roam the parks and gardens of our suburban neighborhood visiting a large variety of plants, trees, weeds and wildflowers which classifies our honey in the Wildflower category and makes for distinctly different flavors from season to season depending on what is currently in bloom.

Color Variations from Harvest to Harvest

We practice Natural, Ethical and Sustainable Beekeeping Principles.  We do not use any treatments or pesticides on bees or in our garden.  We leave the bees alone to do their thing and only intervene as needed.

Taking all those things into account, it is reasonable to think that we should be losing hives to Colony Collapse Disorder left and right, but we’re not.  We could run extensive tests and get down to the genetics of our bees, but even if we did, we can’t know for sure because no one has really been able to pin-point the exact cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. More and more researchers attest that the cause lay in multiple factors and that no one clear cut culprit can be blamed.

I personally hope it has something to do our excellent care but I know that South Florida’s great weather, the reduced number of pesticides in urban areas versus agricultural areas, and our local plant diversity are more than likely helping too.

We are not the only lucky ones.  Sure, South Florida has great weather but Urban Beekeepers everywhere are reporting the same fortune.  Noah Wilson-Rich, a Simmons College’s faculty members in the Department of Biology and Urban Beekeeper estimates that the “survival of bees is greater in urban beekeeping (62.5%) than the more traditional rural beekeeping (40%)”

Could Urban Beekeeping be the solution to the elusive Colony Collapse Disorder?

Scientists still have many more questions to answer here and I think we need to do a lot of thinking about the chemicals we are putting into our foods and the effects they are having on us personally, locally, nationally and globally.  But until that happens, I do believe the salvation of the bees may lay in our cities and the hands of men and women who dare to keep them.





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

I am The Tattooed Homestead

I have an overdeveloped sense of fairness!
I have no idea where I got it.
I believe that the Truth will always win over a lie, that the little guy will always beat the big mean corporation, and that when the story ends everything will be as it should be.But sometimes, things bring darkness into my rose colored world.

So this is how it begins …
In the last month, we have been given three warnings by Miami-Dade Code Enforcement for a laundry list of issues like having cardboard boxes, tarps, tools, and “other junk and trash scattered around” the property.

Courtesy of Dade County Planning and Zoning
This is not The Tattooed Homestead
When we called, they informed us it was illegal to have potted plants and potting soil in a residential property.I shared our story ( Potted Plants are Illegal: Why YOU Can’t Grow Your Own Food In Miami-Dade County ) and it got picked up by the New Times ( Potted Garden in Your Yard? Prepare to Pay a Fine! )

Someone pointed out:

But wait. You guys do run a business out of your home selling plants and plant products. At least that’s what it seems like to me all over social media. I don’t see how anyone could think you arw being picked on when this is clear.

The truth is that we don’t.

Are we a nursery? Not by any means.We sell to friends and family and other liked minded souls who believe in growing your own food but may not have the resources or the time.

But this is not The Tattooed Homestead.We’ve been staying here for just over two months, helping out with an ailing Grandmother and planting every edible we can get our hands on.  My mom planned to sell this family home to us one day and let us start the permaculture process now.  But as chance would have it, those plans will more than likely never come to fruition.

This is not The Tattooed Homestead

Our business is run out of a family home in Flagami.

This is not The Tattooed Homestead either.  Not really, anyway.

This is my husband’s childhood home, where his family has allowed us to take over the yard and grow odds and ends here and there.

So then where the heck is it?

The Tattooed Homestead is real.  At least, it is to me and my husband, and I hope it one day will be to our baby boy.

The Tattooed Homestead is:

… the idea of living sustainably and not hurting the planet while you’re doing it.  It is the idea of leaving the earth a better place than when you got here.  It is the idea that I want my child to know how food grows in the garden and not think that it comes from McDonalds.  It is that I want my child to believe that the Truth will always win over a lie, that the little guy will always beat the big mean corporation, and that when the story ends everything will be as it should be.  


… and if he falls victim to having an overdeveloped sense of fairness … then I will know I definitely did something right!

I know I’m not like everybody else.

I think that’s ok.

Right now, The Tattooed Homestead only exists in my mind … and on the internet.  One day, it may be a real place.  It may be here or somewhere far away.  It won’t make much of a difference either way to be honest.Some things will never change:

We will always grow using sustainable practices and ideas.  We will never use pesticides or treatments for our plants or for our bees.  We will always think with our hearts instead of our pocket books and we will always follow our hearts and let it guide us to what is right.

Some people may think I’m crazy.

I think that’s ok, too.

It’s not the first time I have been called different or crazy and I truly hope it won’t be the last.

As for my overdeveloped sense of fairness, I may need to learn to live with the fact that I may never change the world … but no one said I couldn’t try!





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

I am The Tattooed Homestead

I have an overdeveloped sense of fairness!
I have no idea where I got it.  
I believe that the Truth will always win over a lie, that the little guy will always beat the big mean corporation, and that when the story ends everything will be as it should be.

But sometimes, things bring darkness into my rose colored world.

So this is how it begins …

In the last month, we have been given three warnings by Miami-Dade Code Enforcement for a laundry list of issues like having cardboard boxes, tarps, tools, and “other junk and trash scattered around” the property.

Courtesy of Dade County Planning and Zoning
This is not The Tattooed Homestead
When we called, they informed us it was illegal to have potted plants and potting soil in a residential property.

I shared our story ( Potted Plants are Illegal: Why YOU Can’t Grow Your Own Food In Miami-Dade County ) and it got picked up by the New Times ( Potted Garden in Your Yard? Prepare to Pay a Fine! )

Someone pointed out:

But wait. You guys do run a business out of your home selling plants and plant products. At least that’s what it seems like to me all over social media. I don’t see how anyone could think you arw being picked on when this is clear.

The truth is that we don’t.

Are we a nursery? Not by any means.

We sell to friends and family and other liked minded souls who believe in growing your own food but may not have the resources or the time.

But this is not The Tattooed Homestead.

We’ve been staying here for just over two months, helping out with an ailing Grandmother and planting every edible we can get our hands on.  My mom planned to sell this family home to us one day and let us start the permaculture process now.  But as chance would have it, those plans will more than likely never come to fruition.  

This is not The Tattooed Homestead

Our business is run out of a family home in Flagami.

This is not The Tattooed Homestead either.  Not really, anyway.

This is my husband’s childhood home, where his family has allowed us to take over the yard and grow odds and ends here and there.

So then where the heck is it?

The Tattooed Homestead is real.  At least, it is to me and my husband, and I hope it one day will be to our baby boy.

The Tattooed Homestead is:

… the idea of living sustainably and not hurting the planet while you’re doing it.  It is the idea of leaving the earth a better place than when you got here.  It is the idea that I want my child to know how food grows in the garden and not think that it comes from McDonalds.  It is that I want my child to believe that the Truth will always win over a lie, that the little guy will always beat the big mean corporation, and that when the story ends everything will be as it should be.  


… and if he falls victim to having an overdeveloped sense of fairness … then I will know I definitely did something right!

I know I’m not like everybody else.

I think that’s ok.

Right now, The Tattooed Homestead only exists in my mind … and on the internet.  One day, it may be a real place.  It may be here or somewhere far away.  It won’t make much of a difference either way to be honest.

Some things will never change:

We will always grow using sustainable practices and ideas.  We will never use pesticides or treatments for our plants or for our bees.  We will always think with our hearts instead of our pocket books and we will always follow our hearts and let it guide us to what is right.  

Some people may think I’m crazy.

I think that’s ok, too.

It’s not the first time I have been called different or crazy and I truly hope it won’t be the last.

As for my overdeveloped sense of fairness, I may need to learn to live with the fact that I may never change the world … but no one said I couldn’t try!





This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.