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helper
25/05/2019 at 11:32
1

@donald

 

Nice!

“Eigendomsrechten etc. hoeven alleen “naar buiten toe” (de reguliere economie/wetten) opgelosd te worden, omdat er intern alleen positief vruchtgebruik bestaat (in basis een ‘freeconomy’) waarin geld geen waarde heeft.”

 

Moet bekennen dat ik persoonlijk geen voorstander ben van een interne freeconomy maar vind het een heel interessante theorie om te overleggen

 

Interessant hoe het oprichten van een gemeenschap veel gemeen heeft met het stichten van een nieuwe (micro) samenleving, maar zolang een Project Kamp geen volledig democratische beslissingsstructuur, een gezamenlijk manifest/grondwet/gedeeld ideaal en een levensvatbaar economisch platform heeft, Is het in mijn optiek niet aantrekkelijk om aan een soortgelijk project deel te nemen.

 

Mocht je tijd hebben is een samenvatting of visie op zon soortgelijke organisatiestructuur altijd interessant in het topic

https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/a-policy-for-project-kamp/

 

 

helper
25/05/2019 at 10:37
1

@donald Thnx voor de reply! Even antwoord op je vragen

 

“Voel je je hierbij gebonden aan de Zaanstreek of zou overal in Nederland wel kunnen?”

 

Ja overal in Nederland, Belgie, Luxemburg, of aan de westkant van Duitsland zijn prima opties. Alles binnen een straal van 300km vanuit Utrecht is geschikt. Toch vind ik het belangrijk om dicht bij familie en vrienden te kunnen blijven en zij bij de co-op te kunnen betrekken. Tevens heeft het zo zijn voordelen om nauw samen te werken met het netwerk van ondernemers, bedrijven, colleges, enz. wat hier al is opgebouwd.

Alhoewel qua natuur en flexibiliteit een afgelegen stuk grond ergens in Frankrijk of Spanje qua regelgeving en financiering veel toegankelijker is maakt de afstand en de isolatie het project weer minder toegankelijk voor mensen die langdurige woon/werk behoeften hebben. Ook heeft het ideaal om een verbruikt stuk landbouwgrond of industrieterrein te remediëren tot groene oase zo zijn charmes.

 

“En wat heeft je prioriteit?

Het vinden van land, of het vinden van de mensen?” 

 

Als prioriteit zou ik zeggen dat een project als deze begint bij het vinden en verbinden van mensen. Zolang zij het eens kunnen worden over het gemeenschappelijk ideaal om aan een ecologisch verantwoord economisch systeem te werken, welke

1. Op lokale schaal voorziet in levensvatbare woon- en werkgelegenheid.

2. Op regionale schaal voorziet als economische stimulans voor de gemeente.

3. Op sociaal gebied een gemeenschap sticht welke transparant en toegankelijk is .

4. De natuur en biodiversiteit bevorderd en vastgestelde targets haalt met betrekking tot zelfvoorziening in levensbehoeften, vermindering of eliminatie van afvalstromen, vermindering van CO2 uitstoot, verbruik van grondstoffen en het toepassen van circulaire economische systemen.

 

In principe kan een “Project Kamp” een springplank zijn hiervoor. Het bij elkaar brengen van een kerngroep van individuen welke:

– Gezamenlijk een ideaal formulieren.

– Een beleid schrijven welke op democratische wijze de rechten en mogelijkheden van het individu waarborgt en tegelijkertijd voorziet in een protocol voor het maken van gezamenlijke beslissingen als coöperatie.

– Een volledig en transparant plan van aanpak maken.

– Een systematische benadering formuleren tot het behalen van economische en ecologische targets.

 

Dit alles is mogelijk online en door middel van meetups en vergaderingen. Op deze wijze kan dit proces kan online gedeeld worden met ieder die interesse heeft of een soortgelijk project wilt stichten.

 

Toch wil ik de nadruk leggen op de verantwoordelijkheid van het individu om actief deel te nemen in het maken van alle beslissingen en het delen van zijn/haar ideaal. In elke gemeenschap vormt zich bewust of onbewust een hiërarchie welke veel invloed heeft op het maken van keuzes en het denkbeeld/ideaal van de gezamenlijke coöperatie. Het vormen van een gemeenschaps- hiërarchie is haast niet te voorkomen. Zolang deze transparant is en door ieder aangesproken kan worden zal deze door middel van democratische besluitvoering geen dominante rol spelen in het maken van beslissingen als coöperatie. Dan moet alleen het project wel vanaf dag 1 voor iedereen toegankelijk zijn en op deze wijze beslissingen maken.

 

Tevens is het definiëren van kapitaal en eigendomsrechten vanaf dag 1 ook een belangrijk onderdeel. Hoeveel mensen?, hoeveel kapitaal?, hoeveel hectare?, hoeveel bestaande bouw koopt de coop op?. Waar ligt de grens tussen privé eigendommen en de gezamenlijke eigendommen van de coop?. Welk protocol is er voor de verantwoordelijkheden over de gezamenlijke eigendommen?. Welke rechten hebben ondernemers en bedrijven in de coop? etc.  Een grijs gebied is een ideale voedingsbodem voor dispuut en onenigheid en als realist ga ik zowiezo van uit dat mensen net zo vaak het oneens met elkaar zijn als dat ze het eens met elkaar zijn ;). Absoluut als je naar diversiteit in de gemeenschap streeft en mensen met vele verschillende idealen en achtergronden bij elkaar brengt.

 

helper
24/05/2019 at 16:11
1

Hey Donald en andere Dutchies, Dit is Robbie uit de Zaanstreek.

 

Op dit forum aan komen waaien door de introductie van @davehakkens en Project Kamp. Zelf ben ik op zoek naar een gelijkwaardig project om oud landbouwgrond om te zetten naar woon/werk gemeenschap met ecologisch economische doelstellingen zoals eetbaar bos, biologische landbouw, Mycologie, Biodiversiteit, het delen van informatie, erkende leerbedrijven, broedplaats voor nieuwe ecologische initiatieven, en meer.

Mijn voorkeur gaat wel uit naar een soortgelijk project op Nederlandse bodem, als co-operatie met winstoogmerk. Een Project Kamp dat kan uitbreiden en kan dienen als voorbeeld dat een transitie tussen ons huidig economisch model naar een efficient ecologisch economisch model voor minstens 200+ mensen.
Hierbij is het wel noodzakelijk dat de (financiële) drempel om te participeren niet te hoog is voor jongeren en jong volwassenen en tegelijkertijd het project kan faciliteren in zowel woningen als werkgelegenheid.

Kort samengevat zou je het een Ecodorp kunnen noemen welke als cooperatie door particulieren word opgezet om te voorzien in woon- en werk-gelegenheid met als oogmerk houdbare langdurige economische groei, ecologie, duurzaamheid en (tot op zekere hoogte) zelfvoorzienend leven als gemeenschap.

 

Alhoewel het leeuwendeel op dit forum hier voor Precious Plastic is gekomen ben ik daar niet bij betrokken, noch mee bezig. Als 3D tekenaar, ontwerper, houtbewerker ben ik de afgelopen jaren ook bezig geweest met onder andere:

Mycelium
https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/mycelium/
Imkeren
https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/beekeeping-apiculture/
Socio-economische theorie en toepassingen daarvan

https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/a-policy-for-project-kamp/

https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/template-of-human-necessities/
Parametric design & Visual Programming

(Grasshopper for Rhino)

Organic Farming & Nutrition

(Van meer dan 4 paranoten per dag krijg je selenium vergiftiging en valt je haar uit) XD

 

Alhoewel er vele ecodorpen in Europa zijn is het principe in ons kikkerlandje op een paar projecten na ver te zoeken. Tevens word een woon/werk combinatie niet erg aangemoedigd en draaien de meeste initiatieven op vrijwilligerswerk en bijdragen van particulieren. Toch is er veel animo voor een nieuwe manier van wonen en werken. De Tiny house beweging is hier een goed voorbeeld van maar zij hebben ook veel moeite om voeten in de aarde te krijgen en moeten het vaak doen met slechts tijdelijke oplossingen van gemeenten of particulieren.

 

Dit soort obstakels zouden overwonnen kunnen worden door als coöperatie kapitaal, kennis en overtuigingskracht bij elkaar te voegen. Vervolgens in samenwerking met de juiste gemeente een solide plan op tafel neer te leggen.

Vervolgens begint het echte werk, het realiseren van een gemeenschappelijk ideaal. XD

 

Dat is waar ik me mee bezig hou, geen plastic, wel CNCen, hout en plastic is niet zo heel verschillend daarin toch? 😉

 

Houdoe

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helper
16/05/2019 at 19:17
0

Yes it depends on everyone’s vision for such a camp, I’m just stating my perspective though! I could easily be wrong on a lot of these questions XD. It would be really cool to learn from other peoples perspectives. my background also comes from running a business, design and a bit of programming. So I tend to fall short in having a humanistic approach when it comes to defining a perspective on policy 😉

helper
16/05/2019 at 18:37
1

Well that all depends. At some point people might need to leave due to circumstances like old age, medical reasons, family, having kids in need of an education, moving to a different community, lack of income, disagreements etc. In which case it would be able take your investments in the form of capital with you. Sell your house and plot of land back to the co-op and don’t come out of the community completely broke after years of time and effort invested into building the community. If you quantify the investments made in the form of money or tokenization it could be really helpful for all people involved.

It also depends on how big the community will be. 5 people? 20? 100? The more people signing up, the more investments made, the more the community is able to provide land, plots, resources, food and accommodation. That will significantly increase the quality of living in the community itself. If one is to participate in a project like this just in the sake of volunteering and philanthropy would that be sustainable in the long run? Personally.. ?

On top of that, if you have a policy in place that asks a substantial financial investment of the people that want to join you can also filter out the people who might not be in it for the long run.

helper
16/05/2019 at 17:21
3

Agreed! But calling this project open-source prototyping a new way of living is a bit of a misnomer though XD

helper
16/05/2019 at 16:44
1

Hi Lu!

 

Well if a project Kamp would be founded as a democratic worker co-op. The equal financial investment could serve as a legal transaction/agreement to a cooperative contract/agreement in which al participating parties:

1. would agree to the terms of the co-op

2. Have an equal share/stake in the co-op

This transaction would also function as the legal basis of a fully egalitarian democratic decision making process. No matter if it is a small worker co-op or an off-grid community. As soon as the co-op votes on a policy decision this legislated equal share/stake/investment is a very effective baseline for ensuring that each vote is equal.

If someone is unable to make the financial criteria of participating in the co-op but has tremendous potential when it comes to skills, effort or knowledge he or she could take up a (interest free) loan at the co-op and start participating in not just the work but also the decision making process of the co-op. which is an actual democracy in my opinion. Doing work on a voluntary basis, no legislation, no transaction or policy in places leaves ample room for grey areas to arise in which disagreements will sprout and leaves the room for members of the Project to draw the short end of the stick when he/she wants to part with the community.

 

You cannot measure commitment in a non-subjective way. So there is no way to validate such an investment. Same goes for knowledge, experience, resourcefulness. Then it all comes down to the opinion of the community. Thats al great until the majority of the community wants to rent out parts of the property to store radioactive waste to generate income (very extreme example 😉 ) and you disagree with that policy and now there is no way to quantify your investment made when you decide to move out.

helper
17/02/2019 at 14:39
4

That looks awesome! Very curious about the plans and progress!

helper
01/12/2018 at 12:12
5

I also found this website, English website for Portuguese real estate

Home

 

There are some great pieces of land in there, with buildings that need some TLC. Some of them have wells, dams, olive trees, also found a water containment lake on one of the properties. 😛

Another question is which district/ county would be most open-minded and cooperative for Project Kamp when it comes to building permits, off grid sewage treatment, transferring Agricultural destined plots to mixed residential, commercial, agricultural and even precious plastic industrial destined plots. Are there any other communities and or projects out there which have done this research already? That information would certainly help narrowing the search area down to the most “flexible” counties and districts. 😀

 

Perhaps looking at climate data for Portugal’s different districts could also help narrow down the search. Looking at factors like

– Solar Hours per year

– Altitude (Frost nights/ days per year)

– Rainfall per year (drought susceptibility)

– Water Table properties (drought susceptibility)

– Coastal or land climate

Plenty of rain and dependable water tables would certainly help with agriculture but maximal amount of sunlight and wind is preferable for producing renewable energy.  😉 Altough I’m not sure how much difference there is throughout the different districts in Portugal.

 

How about this old Factory with land on both sides of a river?

https://www.pureportugal.co.uk/property/case96-1-old-river-factory/

 

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helper
27/11/2018 at 21:21
0

Like it, the do-ocracy would definitely work in situations like running a small workshop or kitchen etc. I’ve visited multiple communities in Australia. Every community had it’s own approach to the different topics. Especially land ownership and private property. The bigger ones leaned towards individualism and even started to sell lots and houses on the open market in order to finance projects and maintenance of the land. Others were more communal and had shared facilities and gardens, but they all had quite a distinct division between private lots & residences and communal land & facilities.

 

When it comes to legislation, policy, finance and property it’s wise to remove as much gray areas as possible. The more the involved parties are informed on what policy they are agreeing upon the less room there will be for conflicts of interest and influence of circumstances during discussions in the future.

For example: When the project takes place on the property of Arihollander who shares his land for free with the Project Kamp crew. (Which is more or less the philanthropists way to approach the question of land ownership I suppose). It leaves a lot of grey area open to circumstances and interpretation. Even though there will be many like-minded individuals in the community, someone inevitably will eat the proverbial shared pig when there is scarcity. Even if there is a “gentlemen’s agreement” to share the land, there is no legal foothold for the Project Kamp community to stand on whenever there’s a conflict of interest with the council/ surrounding neighbors/ Arihollander/ etc.

One of the great perks of private or co-operative ownership is that an individual or community actually has all of the rights and responsibilities that comes with ownership of the property. No matter what the circumstances are the community cannot be removed from it’s land without its consent and everything build and grown on top of this land becomes the property of the community. Owning the land also serves as a legal guarantee that even long-term investments like houses, avocado and nut trees, the lake, etc will belong to the Project Kamp community and its participants in the present and in the future no matter what the circumstances. This property can also serve as collateral for the community to finance the building of a workspace/ Greenhouse/ kitchen/ DIY thorium reactor/ etc. Individuals joining the community can opt for a buy-in and individuals leaving the community can opt for a buy out. etc.

The ownership of private/ co-operative property secures a solid legal foundation on which the Project Kamp Community can build policies many other topics in my opinion.

In reply to: Mycelium

helper
01/11/2018 at 17:39
0

Hi there, Last weeks I’ve been battling a war against a battalion of mice trying to move into my workshop. Apparently now that fall has made it’s entrance and the temperature dropped significantly an entire family of mice have started to appear inside the building. (yes I’ve tried every trick in the book and I’m currently down to the last one [I-think]). As soon I’ve reclaimed back my territory from the rodents I’ll be able to continue filming fungi again. If you ever decide to build a house or workshop, make sure it’s rodent proof, these things have outwitted me on many occasions and yes, I do take it personally.
Either way I’ve been following another company that is developing another application of mycelium and fungi in the category of durable, environmentally friendly materials and that is Xyhlo Biofinish!

 

This is a type of wood stain product that has active fungi colonizing the outer layer of the treated wood. It is an interesting application and we we’re long overdue for a environmentally friendly way of treating wood as easily as with conventional (chemical) products.

 

Villa met matzwarte houten gevelbekleding

 

They are also running a kickstarter to enable them to scale up the production process and make the product available for a wider range of consumers.

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/924052125/fungi-force-a-new-100-natural-solution-for-protect

 

I’ve ordered a sample piece of wood treated with the xyhlo biofinish and it feels and looks like any other wood stain product. I’m pretty curious how it will hold up in the weather and sun for a couple of years but so far it looks like a solid product! (“disclaimer” I am in no way affiliated with this company and do not own any of the images below, but I am enthusiastic about this new development of applied mycology!)

 

 

 

 

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helper
15/10/2018 at 06:13
0

*** Update #10 ***

Quite a lot has been going on since the last inspection. First of all I’ve decided to move the bees to a new location. A good friend of mine suggested placing the beehive on his property so that the bees can pollinate his fruit trees next spring. There are plenty of wild flowers, water and compost around as well. So compared to the urban rooftop landscape I suppose it’s a good deal!

I gently placed the beehive in the back of the car and moved them on a sunny day.

The beehive now is standing underneath an hazel tree with the hive entrance facing the south-east. Now the hive will get sun throughout the entire day when the sun is low in the fall, winter and spring. When the sun is high in the sky during summer the hive will be shaded by the hazel tree.

 

Past weekend I decided to have a look how the bees are doing in their new environment. We’ve had warm sunny weather all throughout the last 3 weeks and there are plenty of flowers around making the most of these conditions. The bees have been busy and I noticed they stored up some more reserves in their comb. There were a lot of wasps in the hive taking the sugar supplements so I did had to get rid of those. I removed about 6 of them in 30 minutes.

Another thing I noticed is that the bees had build a queen cell! Apparently they’ve decided to replace their queen. This kinda makes sense given the size of the colony the old queen was probably laying few or invalid eggs. There was almost no brood in the combs every time I looked. Or I might have killed the queen while moving the hive but given I was extra careful moving the hive I don’t suspect that was the case. Most likely they’ve decided to replace the queen because of the hot weather and sudden food availability. I’m hoping this weather will persist until they get their numbers up with the new queen but she does have to get fertilized by a drone before that happens. I’m curious what will happen in the colony the next month now that winter will start knocking on the door anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

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In reply to: Mycelium

helper
15/10/2018 at 05:52
0

I agree, patents are quite tricky to traverse for startup companies. I did notice that some of the dates on them are going years back. Ecovative has done a lot of research on the matter of growing materials, I suppose they share their results whenever a business comes into agreement on their terms of intellectual property. I haven’t seen other businesses starting with mycelium materials but I have noticed that lots of design students are interested in the subject!

Personally I find that the most impact mycelium can have is by providing people with food. The material aspect of mycelium is cool to explore and I cant wait untill there is someone publishing statistical results of the material properties. But personally i find that myceliums gratest talent is to grow dinner. Even growing just 50% of your own food consumption year round is a crazy amount of work requiring a lot of energy and resources. Most impact one has on the environment is due to food consumption. Utilizing mycelium to produce part of that food from agricultural waste is a pretty effective way to reduce the footprint.

I have found another crazy mushroom material which has really cool properties to it. Its the flesh of the birch polypore mushroom. (Betulinus Piptoporus/ Fomitopsis betulina) This one grows on dead birch trees and the mushroom itself can be easily picked and dried once its matured. The flesh of this mushroom has the properties of somewhat between leather and polymer. Easily carve able but pretty strong as well. It’s a popular mushroom among bushcrafters and medicinal mushroom foragers. You can derive an incredibly bitter tincture from it by making tea with the dried white flesh. Some use the material to sharpen their knives. I will harvest some of them when fall sets in pretty soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In reply to: Mycelium

helper
14/10/2018 at 13:31
0

Hey Terry!

 

Thanks for your reply! Yes indeed, Eric Klarenbeek and Jan Berbee started a company named Krown

 

Krown-design | Beautiful products with fungus and biomass

 

This is one of the companies in the Netherlands researching and developing mycelium materials for packaging, building and other purposes. Their products have some great attributes. They also have insulation panels which is a pretty good utilization of mycelium material.

 

So as far as I know is that Ecovative USA have a world-wide patent on the principle of applied mycelium materials and more. Last time I’ve checked (2017) Krown has a partnership with Ecovative. I suspect that this is the reason why there aren’t many other companies doing research and selling mycelium materials.

 

https://patents.justia.com/assignee/ecovative-design-llc

 

I have not found any studies of applied mycelium materials in actual construction (like insulation). The material has excellent properties, but one of the weak spots would be insects and rodents nesting in the material or even consuming it. Perhaps this could be prevented with using the right substrate.

 

Mediamatic has done some research on using spent beer grains for a substrate to make insulation panels.

 

https://www.mediamatic.net/en/page/229817/mycelium-insulation-panels

 

I will do an update soon on applying spent mycelium blocks after I shoot the fruiting videos  😉 Apparently king oyster mushrooms like it cold, like 10C cold. And currently its still 20C out here, so the oysters refuse to fruit XD. So they have colonized the bags and formed sclerotia, waiting to fall sets in.

 

 

 

 

 

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helper
17/09/2018 at 20:16
0

***Update #9***

 

Hello! It was time to do another inspection and I decided to catch it on film.

 

It was a pretty sunny september evening, around 22C/72F, No winds, and we had pretty nice weather this weekend so I was pretty curious to check out how the bees were doing.

The couple of things I noticed were that

– there was no new comb built in a long time,

– No significant increase or decrease in worker bees

– there was not much brood if any at all that I could see

– they did stock up on honey and have increased their winter stores.- they we’re pretty easily annoyed, so I was glad I wore the gloves and hat.

– I could not spot the queen, Which had been the case in almost every inspection since I’ve had this colony.

So by now my biggest questions are:

– Where is the queen and is she laying eggs? I can still see the worker bees bring in pollen into the hive on a regular basis so I am assuming that they are still feeding some larvae.

– Are the bees keeping their numbers low on purpose? Or is there some other issue that I am not realizing ?

 

Some beekeepers would advise joining these bees with another colony before fall really sets in. Others tell me to import some eggs and larvae from the mother colony and see if they start raising queens from those larvae. That would mean that the old queen is absent or not laying any valid eggs. I’ve asked my beekeeping mentor for his opinion and some advise.

For the rest all of the bees look pretty healthy, No signs of virusses and not many varroa mites to see either. I did need to remove heaps of wasps everytime I peeked in the feed chamber of the hive. They were at it full on the last month.

I also tried to find the queen on the photos and on the bottom of the hive. No dice though ;). Either she’s pretty well camouflaged or shes not in there at all. I’m beginning to suspect the latter.

 

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helper
17/09/2018 at 20:07
0

***Update #9***

 

Hello! It was time to do another inspection and I decided to catch it on film.

 

It was a pretty sunny september evening, around 22C/72F, No winds, and we had pretty nice weather this weekend so I was pretty curious to check out how the bees were doing.

The couple of things I noticed were that

– there was no new comb built in a long time,

– No significant increase or decrease in worker bees

– there was not much brood if any at all that I could see

– they did stock up on honey and have increased their winter stores.
– they we’re pretty easily annoyed, so I was glad I wore the gloves and hat.

– I could not spot the queen, Which had been the case in almost every inspection since I’ve had this colony.

So by now my biggest questions are:

– Where is the queen and is she laying eggs? I can still see the worker bees bring in pollen into the hive on a regular basis so I am assuming that they are still feeding some larvae.

– Are the bees keeping their numbers low on purpose? Or is there some other issue that I am not realizing ?

 

Some beekeepers would advise joining these bees with another colony before fall really sets in. Others tell me to import some eggs and larvae from the mother colony and see if they start raising queens from those larvae. That would mean that the old queen is absent or not laying any valid eggs. I’ve asked my beekeeping mentor for his opinion and some advise.

For the rest all of the bees look pretty healthy, No signs of virusses and not many varroa mites to see either. I did need to remove heaps of wasps everytime I peeked in the feed chamber of the hive. They were at it full on the last month.

I also tried to find the queen on the photos and on the bottom of the hive. No dice though ;). Either she’s pretty well camouflaged or shes not in there at all. I’m beginning to suspect the latter.

 

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In reply to: Mycelium

helper
27/08/2018 at 14:33
4

In the past few weeks the Grain spawn jars have fully colonized by hungry fungi. Consuming the outer layers of the grains each kernel has become a mycelium encapsulated vessel for rapid expansion. I’ve captured the process with a time lapse camera and the sped up footage of growing branching mycelium always fascinates me.

 

So while the mycelium was colonizing the grain spawn jars I prepared the next substrate for the fungi to feed on. First I’ve had a couple bags of straw and peanut husks laying around I was dying to get rid off. To prepare the substrate I:

– Chopped up the straw a bit

– mixed the straw and husks in a large kettle

– Submerged the substrate in water

– Added a tablespoon of gypsum (this contains supplementary nutrients the mushrooms need to grow) – Soaked it for 48 hours- Drained the excess water- Spread the substrate on a tarp to evaporate the excess moisture so that the substrate was moist but not dripping when squeezed

– Then I’ve bagged the substrate in myco bags (these have micro filters for gas exchange) – Then I’ve loaded the autoclave (pressure cooker) making sure the bags didn’t touched the sides or bottom

– Sterilized the substrate for 1,5 hours on 15 PSI

– And cooled the lot down in the laminar flow hood

 

After that I’ve inoculated the bags with one of the grain spawn jars. I shook the jars vigorously to break apart the individual kernels. In 3 bags I dropped 1/3th of the colonized grain and closed the bags up with a bag sealer. One of the bags remains un-inoculated so if this batch shows any signs of contamination I can see in this bag if I have made a mistake during the sterilization process, if not the grain spawn would have been compromised. Easy way to troubleshoot contamination.

 

The next few weeks these bags will be colonized by the mycelium, once fully colonized the king oyster mycelium will form sclerotium from which the mushrooms will fruit! Then I will put the bags into the fruiting chamber where I can film the fruiting of the mushrooms!

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helper
27/08/2018 at 10:13
1

***Update #8***

It has been 4 weeks already, I’ve continued to keep an eye on the colony and have done 2 hive inspections in the past month! I’m glad to say that the bees are still going! Apparently they’ve stopped loosing bees since the end of the heat-wave and since the weather has turned a lot more stable the bees have been able to build up a bit as well.
Currently the weather has become a bit cold and wet, so I’m hoping that we will have a nice and warm fall from September on. July and August aren’t the best months for the bees mainly because there isn’t much pollen and nectar available. Most plants tend to flower in the spring and fall seasons. On the other hand if the colony wants to survive the winter they will have to build up their numbers quite significantly or else I’m afraid that they wont be able to have sufficient mass to keep warm. I keep feeding them the sugar-dough supplements (organic powdered sugar and water) so that they can keep operating even on the rainy days, but warm, moist stable weather would be the best thing to increase their numbers and chances.
I’m able to tell a lot about what is going on inside the hive just by looking at the bees flying in and out! Whenever I see bees arriving with yellow clumps of pollen on their legs I know that they’re feeding larvae, since larvae are the only ones able to actually consume the pollen for nutrition. That also means that the queen is laying eggs and the colony is refreshing its numbers. The more pollen that is brought in the more larvae the bees have to feed.

Another good sign is bees venturing outside the hive for the first time. These new forager bees will not stray far from the hive on their first couple of flights. They just circle the surrounding area and the space directly around the hive before returning back in. These bees do this a day or 2 so that they get a good “feel” of the location relative to the sun. This way they learn how to navigate and find their way back to the hive when they start their long distance foraging flights.

I’ve added some photo’s of a couple of the frames! I wanted to make a nice video of an hive inspection but every time I try this it’s to windy or rainy to take my time. Also I want to disturb them as little as possible so that I don’t interfere their business to much. Eventually I’m assuming that they know what they’re doing and I should only assume a supporting role in stead of micromanaging the colony. 😉

 

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In reply to: Mycelium

helper
02/08/2018 at 16:31
3

***Update #2***

The containers inoculated with mycelium have been incubating for over two weeks now. The spores from the liquid culture syringe have germinated and started to colonize the substrates as rapidly as possible. The best results are seen on top of the agar plates that I’ve inoculated last time. These agar plates are ideal substrates to germinate spores onto and to see the mycelium running. The result is a beautiful white fluffy mycelium without any contamination. The agar (a gelatin like substance derived from seaweed) is supplemented with dextrose, yeast and potato extract which gives the mycelium quick and easy access to all the nutrients it needs. This is also the ideal substrate to grow any other kind of mold or bacteria. Mistakes in sterilization or a contaminated spore syringe are easily recognized as soon as the white mycelium grows along blotches of bacteria or wild molds.

 

Progress is harder to recognize in the grain substrate. Obviously because not all spores germinate on the surface of the glass but also because these first strands of mycelium have quite a new environment to adapt to. Quickly they learn how to digest their new habitat and the initial growth starts of slow but after a couple of days the mycelium starts to gain momentum.

 

Now that I have 3 colonized agar plates (and one control plate that hasn’t been inoculated to uncover any mistakes in the sterilization/ agar pouring process). I can use this pristine white fluffy mold to inoculate more sterilized grain jars. So I’ve prepared another batch of grain jars ready for inoculation. Because this mycelium is already up and running the initial colonization of these jars will be a lot quicker than the former batch which had to germinate from spores.

 

I also used one agar plate to start a small cardboard culture. Just to see how well this particular strain of King Oyster can adapt to consuming moist cardboard without sterilization. This way I can plan in advance if I need to sterilize my substrate (collection of trash paper and cardboard) or that the mycelium will be able to colonize the cartboard so fast that competitor organisms don’t stand a chance. That would be ideal because cardboard isn’t that nutritious to most bacteria and molds I might be able to skip the whole sterilization part of that run which saves quite some time and energy. Instead I’d just submerge the substrate in water for a week. Then all the molds and bacteria become anaerobic. After that I’ll drain the substrate and let air do the main sterilizing, killing of the anaerobic bacteria and molds. After that I will add heaps of fully colonized grain spawn and let the mycelium colonize before anything else gets the chance ;).

 

The next step will be to get the jars of grain fully colonized by the mycelium and to prepare the bulk substrate of cardboard & paper!

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helper
31/07/2018 at 15:51
1

***Update #7***

 

Two weeks have passed and they we’re quite long! Along with a lack of rain we’ve had a drought persisting for about 6 weeks. The hot summer weather had everyone and everything shift in a lower gear over here and we’ve had days with temperatures above 35C/ 95F. So I also switched into tropical mode and had to “go easy” for the last two weeks. Eventually last weekend the first raindrops this month fell from the sky and one could almost hear the sigh of relief from the vegetation and animals. I had to water my rooftop plants for almost three times a day to prevent them from withering in the sun. I also stacked some plants on top of the beehive to keep the metal roof sorta out of the blistering sunlight.

 

Finally it was time to do another hive inspection and I was eager to check out how the bees have been doing. Obviously the drought and hot weather made nectar and pollen much scarcer so when I had a look inside the hive I noticed quite a difference.

First of all they have gone through all of their supplemented food. Every bit of it was gone. Last inspection I’ve put around 300 grams of powdered sugar, water and chamomile in a feeder (basically a Tupperware box with some holes drilled into the sides) and apparently they’ve developed quite a taste for it. As soon I had put a new batch in they we’re all over it in no time. So I’ll check on food supply every week from now on.

 

When I started inspecting the comb I also noticed a major difference. About one- third of the colony has disappeared. All of the drones (male bees) were gone. Which is standard protocol for any bee colony during hard-times. But I noticed a huge fall in worker bees as well. Which is not particularly good when it comes to preparing for winter. The months July and August usually have a lack of “honey flow” (English term for the amount of nectar and pollen available in the environment). But this colony swarmed a bit late in the season and could use all the good weather it can get to prepare for winter. There were no dead bees on the bottom of the hive so I assume that most perished during foraging. Either way I was unpleasantly surprised on how much of a toll the last two weeks have taken on this little colony and sure hope they bounce back now that the weather has become more stable.

 

The photo’s below are the photo’s taken during the last inspection and reading comb is a great way to measure the health and status of a colony.

 

The first photo is the first frame, They must be using some sort of parametric design algorithm in combination with a 3D wax printing driver software to produce these kinds of structures I suppose. In my opinion freshly build comb made from wax which is still white looks quite aesthetically pleasing and makes me wish that I could’ve come up with a design like that 😉

 

The second photo is the third frame! on this one you can see some nurse bees walking around. The white wax in the upper right corner is capped honey. So that is how their honey stores look, Immediately next the capped honey you can clearly see the uncapped honey. Two weeks ago these frames were almost completely covered in bees so the loss is quite considerable.

 

And the last photo is the 4th frame. On this one you can see more capped honey. and directly underneath the capped honey you can see the eggs that the queen has laid just a day or two ago! If you look closely you can see tiny white dots in the middle of a couple of the cells. I’m hoping there are more larvae underneath the worker bees. On this picture you can also see the queen. On the left – bottom corner as it were you can see her big dark abdomen between a couple of worker bees. Hopefully working her ass of to repopulate the colony as soon as possible 😉

 

I’m hoping the weather stays stable for the next weeks and we’ll have a good fall. That will surely increase the chances of these bees building up a strong winter population. In the meantime I’ll make sure they have plenty of feed available and keep reporting progress as they go along. 😉

 

 

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In reply to: Mycelium

helper
18/07/2018 at 14:54
6

***Update #1***

This post took some preparation and I’ve had some progress to make in this discipline. I’ve collected a months worth of my paper trash, cardboard from delivered parcels, peanut husks and a couple of other waste products that otherwise I’d be throwing out in the garbage. Now I’m going to turn this collection of seemingly worthless material into a food source. Food for me and also food for insects, which in turn will become food for birds and fish and so supplying me and the biodiversity of this urban landscape with a new food resource. I’ve never tried eating insects, but I do enjoy fresh gourmet mushrooms like; oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus); Shiitake (Lentinula edodes); And Wine cap (Stropharia rugosoannulata). . (yes I had to google those names, can’t hurt to be precise).

So in the philosophy and science of circular economies I’m going to document the progress and share this with you in a relatively simple, but precise method. There are a lot of variables that come into play when growing mushrooms and it is really easy to do it wrong and discourage one from continuing to learn and invest time into this discipline. I’ve bin at it for 4 years now and I still make and discover mistakes in my method every now and then, ruining a lot of work and effort. The feedback when an error is make is quite relentless mostly coming in the form of a green mold or bacteria contaminating and conquering my carefully sterilized and inoculated substrates. Turning it into “expensive compost” and thus rendering all my work and effort put into that batch wasted. Despite that I’m getting great results by now and I have now arrived at the point where I can document my activities, methods, progress and results and share these with you. My goal here is to show what opportunities & applications applied mycology can have in project Kamp, or in any other off grid project/ community for that matter.

 

This field is quite extensive and a method can be quite dense in information. My intent is to give you a quick and complete overview of the progress of turning waste material into food. For more depth and information I will refer to the vast amount of information on this on other forums, websites and books. This way this topic stays focused on the progress of this application of mycology and doesn’t get lost in the endless amount of details in the field of mycology and mushroom farming.

From trash to food

OK. To turn my trash into food in a short time span I will have to do the following steps.

 

1. Collect trash
I’ve collected boxes full of cardboard, some straw, some peanut husks

2. Choose mushroom species
I’m going for the King oyster mushrooms, Their mycelium grows fast and colonize most plant based materials without effort. They’re also delicious

3. Get the mycelium running
To get the “mycelium running” I will have to do a grain spawn. This constitutes of dropping the mycelium culture into a substrate of sterilized grains. The mycelium will start to colonize this substrate within a couple of weeks. After that the grain kernels can be transferred to the next substrate (cartboard etc.). In this way the mycelium will have far more inoculation points in the second substrate than just a tiny amount of liquid culture and thus leaving less room for contaminations. (2 to 4 weeks)

4. Transfer the grain spawn to the second substrate

This can be any plant based material like cardboard, peanut husks, coffee grounds etc. Each individual grain kernel will be an inoculation point an will start colonizing bigger amounts of substrate in a short amount of time (2 to 4 weeks)

5. Initiate fruit-body development
When the second substrate is completely colonized the mycelium has nothing left to consume. It will now start to consolidate. If given the right (fall like) conditions like colder temperature, light and high humidity, the mycelium will start developing it’s mushrooms

6. Fruiting
Within days the mushrooms appear and spread their caps. This makes for stunning time-lapses (coming up) and for good eating. Mind to pick the mushrooms before they mature and drop their spores. This is when they start to rot and harbor bacteria that consume the mushrooms. This attracts insects that will lay their eggs in the mushrooms flesh. Which in turn will attract birds or can be food for fish!

 

I’ve collected the trash.
I’ve chosen the species of mycelium.
I’ve prepared and inoculated the grain spawn.
I’ve labeled the containers (very important ;))
The next step is to see the mycelium colonize the grain
I will post more about agar plates and petri-dishes later.

 

In the video’s/ photo’s below you can get a quick view of the progress. The first one is me preparing the grain spawn jars. The second one is me inoculating the grain spawn jars. The photo shows the labeled grain spawn jars inside of the cabinet where they’ll colonize for the next couple of weeks.

 

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helper
15/07/2018 at 10:29
2

***Update #6***

I’ve made my first “big” hive inspection and I am delighted to tell that the bees are doing great! They have build quite some comb on 4 of the frames. The queen has started laying her eggs and the worker bees are gathering pollen and nectar as fast as they can. The comb is nicely aligned to the frames and overall everything looks healthy and happy. The weather was good, hot and sunny, almost no wind, the temperature around 25C/ 77F and the time was 15:30.

 

As a novice I did manage to make a couple of errors though. The bees were quite calm but halfway during the inspection their mood turned and they started to let me know they weren’t to happy with me nosing around in the brood nest. This was the first time these bees were starting to turn on me because now they actually have a nest to defend. While I was looking at the third frame one of the bees headbutted me in the face so I decided to call it quits since I wasn’t wearing any protection. I also checked off what I wanted to inspect. which was:

1. Comb build and aligned to the frames (no intervention needed)
2. Cells with eggs and larvae in them (Queen is laying and workers are nursing)
3. Amount of dead bees on the bottom (Almost none so they’re cleaning the hive
)
4. Amount of supplemented food consumed (Quite a lot so there is some scarcity in the amount of food available which isn’t that odd considering the drought of the last two weeks)

The mistakes I made we’re these:
1. I did not used enough smoke. 

The bees were way to active and got annoyed pretty fast. When a good puff of smoke is blown through the hive the bees fill up with nectar and honey ready which slows them down and make them more docile. Also the smoke will mask all other scents given off by me and block the bees “intruder” pheromones. I only blew smoke on the top of the hive. In hindsight I would have more time if I had blown smoke through the entrance as well.

2. I did not supplement with sugar water yet.
The last few weeks we had some drought over here. Which means that the bees aren’t getting all the nectar and water they want. This can be overcome by placing a liquid feeder in the hive filled with sugar water. The bees are a lot more docile when they have everything they need and after the hive inspection I immediately made them a sugar water feeder to make sure they had plenty of liquids available.

3. Change in the season.
Usually we have this dry, humid weather in August and September. So the fall season is starting a bit earlier for the bees. This is when they start laying and feeding winter bees and get more protective of their nest. Wearing protection isn’t necessary but could be a good precaution when opening the hive in the fall season.

 

4. I didn’t take a shower before the inspection.
They could smell me a lot better having a day’s worth of sweat on me ;). In the heat and humidity the news of me intruding in their nest spread quite fast and only allowed me to get half way through the inspection.

All in all I’m quite pleased with the first inspection! I’m really pleased my hive design works and the bees are taking advantage of the frames for their comb!

During the next hive inspection I will be wearing some protection so that I’ll have the time to take some closeup photo’s and video’s. Then I’ll be able to check in detail how much pollen, nectar and brood is in the hive.

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helper
08/07/2018 at 15:46
1

***Update #5***

The art of not getting stung

Whenever one is doing their hive inspections there is always a chance that the bees want you gone and they’ll take steps to discourage you from continuing. They might recognize your smell after a while, but to the bees you are just an occasional intruder wreaking havoc in their home. Imagine something lifting up the roof of your house, tearing out one room at a time, shaking and damaging the lot and squashing a couple of your siblings while putting things sorta back in place. I know it sounds a bit grim but whenever a big clumsy human interacts with thousands of tiny fragile bees they’ll most likely be the first ones to get pissed off by this act of interaction 😉
Here’s a list of rules and tricks that will make life a bit easier for both party’s whenever opening up the hive.

 

#1 – Only open the hive in proper weather conditions

Don’t open the hive when its cold or rainy unless you absolutely have to. 18C / 64F is the lowest you want to go. Bees control their hive temperature to a T. They evaporate moisture, fan their wings, control their body temperature by movement to keep the colony as a whole at a constant 35C/ 95F. The micro climate created inside the beehive is the colonies “body temperature” as it were. So when the beekeeper takes the roof off the lot immediately the hot air rises out of the colony, air currents take out the remaining heat and it takes the bees a lot of effort to bring conditions back to perfect. Especially on colder days.

#2 – Move gently 

Bees are sensitive to vibrations, disturbances, noise, rapid movements etc. If you approach the hive, don’t knock on it. Don’t put your stuff on it with loud bang. When handling frames with comb, don’t knock it around, slide it gently in and out of the beehive. Be like a Zen Buddhist monk or something. Avoid damaging or squashing the bees. Once a bee is squashed or stings you her body expels a pheromone that puts the other bees on high alert. After a certain threshold of this scent in the air the bees will launch a full scale attack on you.

#3 – Don’t eat banana’s, Don’t eat anything
This pheromone is very similar to the smell of banana’s. Especially the bright yellow sugary candy banana’s from the store. Don’t eat those before or during the hive inspection. The bees will mistake it for the alarm pheromone and will act on it. Please avoid putting things in your mouth among bees at all time. It’s very tantalizing to get a taste of the honey straight from the comb but it only takes one bee landing on that honey at the last moment before entering your mouth. You definitely don’t want to get stung in the mouth or throat at all cost, the reaction and swelling could potentially be fatal. So please, keep it shut and certainly don’t put any stuff in it.

 

#4 – Position 

Another great trick is to not stand in front of the entrance. This alerts the bees instantly that something is at the gates. The incoming bees spread the news like wildfire that something is going on in front of the hive and the defender bees are instantly mobilized to check out whats going on. It also helps to avoid standing between the sun and the hive. If you point your hive entrance towards the south, you can position yourself on the north side and avoid casting a dark shadow on the hive itself.

 

#5 – Right clothing
Angry bees are attracted to dark spots, Forager bees are attracted to reflected UV light. Over millions of years the bees have learned to attack mammals looking for a snack in the most efficient way. The dark spots of their eyes, ears, nose and mouth are the best places to sting. This is the most efficient way to deter an hungry animal or annoying beekeeper. Sunglasses, headphones, earbuds are even easier to recognize.
Dark clothing as well, T-shirts, wristbands, socks you name it. Make sure your clothing is a white or just slightly colored. Bees can’t see Red and Green and their visual cortex turns it into shades of black. All of a sudden you look like a skunk or a raccoon to them and the sooner they’ll recognize you as an intruder.

Try to avoid animal fabrics like wool as well, these have scent signatures similar to other mammals and the bees recognize these. I usually ware grey loose clothes whenever working with bees. All cotton. They can sting through fabric so you don’t want to wear skinny jeans.

<b>#6 – Hygiene
</b>Wear clean, freshly washed clothes, make sure you’ve showered and don’t smell like sweat. Your musky scent palette smells like:(you’ve guessed it) mammal sweat. And the bees recognize this and will act upon it. Perfumes, deodorant and other pungent odors will also annoy them and help them locate you as an intruder. Even sunscreen is a bad idea, not only is this stuff laden with hormones and perfumes it also has microscopic particles that reflect UV rays from the sunlight. In the UV spectrum sunscreen turns your skin into a deep red color only absorbing the Infrared rays. Flower petals do this as well to advertise their luscious store of nectar. Bees can see these UV reflections, and it attracts them. So imagine what you must look like to them whenever you’re coated in an UV reflective varnish of sunscreen oil.

#7 – Warning signs
The bees are usually reluctant to sting. Once they’ve stung their attacker they’ll die. It is a big altruistic sacrifice for them developed to spread an alarm pheromone as a way of instant communication among the hive. Before sacrificing their life they will try alternatives. First the defender bee will start to make noise and fly annoyingly in front of you. When she runs out of patience she will give you a headbutt! If you notice this you can interpret this as a sign to piss off for a moment and avoid the bees stinging you as their last measure of defense.

#8 – Preparation
You want to do your hive inspection as smoothly as possible. Know what you want to look for and what you want to inspect so you can make your move stealthy and swiftly. Like a fox, a beekeeping fox. Check on the queen. I will make my first “real” comb inspection next week so I’ll have to figure out before what I want to inspect. I’ll make a checklist for things to look for and have everything prepared before I’ll open up the hive. This way I’ll be in and out before they know what’s up and leave as little disturbance as possible.

#9 – Protection
A beekeepers suit, gloves, smoke, a body of water to hide in when the bees start chasing me ;), are all proper protection, but like its position in this list, it is a last resort. If you are a commercial beekeeper dealing with hundreds of colonies 8 hours a day, weather or no weather, you have to do your stuff. But as an hobbyist beekeeper you don’t necessarily have to use full body protection all the time when you deal with your bees. If you avoid using brute force, with the tips listed above you can really come a long way without getting stung or even piss off your bees. Whenever you do feel things get a bit dicey, you can always put on your protective gear or just stop your action and try it another day.
Sometimes it depends on the weather, sometimes your bees have a bad day, sometimes you have a bad day. There is no need to declare all out war on your colony because of that and it might be wise to return another moment when you or your bees settle down.

 

Conclusion
With these tips that I’ve found on the internet and from the two veteran beekeepers who teach me how to do organic beekeeping, makes it a lot easier standing in a whirlwind of bees when inspecting the hive. It is always quite mesmerizing and sometimes intimidating to stand next to an open hive and I find it immensely intriguing to experience what kind of “super-organism” a bee colony is as a whole. It’s nice to learn how  to “read” its mood and work with the bees instead of against them. Of course there are many other variables that come into play like genetics, diseases, seasonal change and such. But these are the things that I can adjust to to make my life easier as a beekeeper.

Next week I’ll do a first full on hive inspection of (hopefully) a couple of frames filled with comb and brood by now!

 

 

 

 

helper
01/07/2018 at 11:29
2

*** Update #4 ***

Couple of weeks in, there is a lot of comb being build in the hive! The first 2 weeks I’ve done hive inspections (opening the hive, separating and lifting the frames a bit & overall inspection) every 2 or 3 days. Just to make sure they would align their comb to my frames and the overall health of the colony is okay in their new abode. From now on I’m going to do hive inspections only once in every two weeks. After an inspection the bees need some time to settle down again which usually takes around 3 days. Also when a bee is hit with smoke he is not productive for the rest of the day. So to prevent further bee traumatization on a regular basis it’s wise to just let them do their thing and check in on them every other week.

 

Meanwhile I started to log my activities and observations in an excel data sheet. Just to keep track of the whole thing and log data accordingly in a proper journal. (yes I’m a data freak, can’t get enough of it). Gives a proper overview and reveals patterns and mistakes in a different way than real time experience. Why should my brain remember the last time I’ve did an hive inspection with time, date, notes and observations while a simple excel spreadsheet can do that for me? 😉

 

Couple of things I’d would like to keep track of are: 

– Behavioral observations and activities
(amount of brood, pollen storage, honey storage, signs of disease, mite counts, etc.)
– My activities and actions
(hive inspections, supplemented feed, mite treatments)
– Amount of time invested
– Amount of money invested
– Amount of honey produced,
(not particularly for yields yet, but primarily for the bees themselves).

 

With one hive it is particularly easy to keep track of things but as soon when I will get multiple swarms and hives it will be a lot harder to keep a clear overview. This fall or winter I will start building my next beehive which I want to equip with some data logging as well.

 

Arduino data: 

– Hive temperature and humidity
– Hive CO2 content
– Total weight of the colony and each individual frame
– Outside temperature and humidity

Also I would like to include features like an inside IR-camera and microphone

This way I’ll be able to monitor a lot of data without disturbing the colony. That will give me a lot of insight what improvements I can make in my next hive design, and the way beekeeping could be done in the 21st century. For example: When one of my colonies swarms I can be notified instantly because of the rapid shift in weight.


Primary equipment

There are quite a lot of products on the market for beekeeping. You can spend 40 bucks or up to a thousand for your first colony. I like minimalism and efficiency when it comes to equipment so I have spent around 100,- euro’s to get my basic equipment together. If you want to start out doing beekeeping there is no need to save up and spend a ridiculous amount of money. You can actually start out with little costs and expand your equipment as time moves on.

 

List of necessities

– Beehive
(I’ve build my own “einraumbeute” from materials I had laying around, you can purchase a new “golden hive” for around 400,- euro’s. There are many different hives some are cheaper some are more expensive, I’ll do a post about that later on in this topic)
– Bees
(You can order your bees by mail or get a swarm from an other beekeeper, I would suggest getting a swarm. These bees are local and probably have better genetics than commercially mass bred bees, I’ll do a post on bee genetics later on in this topic)
– Smoker
(A puff of cool white smoke makes the bees think there is a fire coming and their initial reaction is to suck up as much food as they can, ready to abandon ship when it gets hot. This slows them down an makes them more docile. A smoker can be purchased for around 10 to 30 euro’s)
Hive Tool
(This is a tool to easily lift up the frames from the hive, also to cut away any propolis or comb that has been build in the wrong place)
Gloves
(Some leather white gloves to protect your hands when the bees get annoyed with you, I usually don’t ware these unless the bees start headbutting me, Ive purchased these for 12 euro’s)
Beekeepers suit
(This white suit protects your face and neck from angry bees, These girls know what to aim for when they want to give you some feedback and they’ll go for your eyes and mouth. Dark spots are bulls-eyes to bees and that’s where they’ll be most likely to sting you when you’re making mistakes.)
– Pincers
(For removing bee stings)
Lighter and fuel
(To light up the smoker, I use Amadou tinder fungus [fomes fomentarius] as a fuel which produces pretty cool smoke for quite a while)
– Antihistamine tablets and an epipipen
(The tablets help to suppress your immune reaction to the bee-sting, these tablets do not interfere with becoming immune to the bees tings so it’s quite nice to have around just in case! The epipen is an adrenaline shot, there is always a possibility that you or someone around you gets stung and have a severe reaction which can result into cardiac arrest! If you do not have an first aid post or a doctor nearby it would be very wise to have a couple of these laying around.)

Conclusion
On each of these items and topics there is a lot of information out there, I just wanted to give you a quick overview of the items necessary to start off with your own colony. If you do your hive inspections right, do not agitate the bees, get genetically friendly, docile bees,  are calm and gentle, and keep to a couple of simple rules. The chances of getting stung is very very low. I have used the gloves and suit once, only to realize that the bees weren’t even interested in me. It kinda felt like wearing a bulletproof vest for opening a bag of crisps. They weren’t annoyed with me at all because I acted according to a couple of simple rules. (I’ll list those in a later post) Once bees started to headbutt me (one of the first signs that they tell you to “jog along”)  I simply stopped inspecting and closed the hive. All in all I’ve invested around 100 euro’s in equipment and a week into building the hive.

 

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helper
23/06/2018 at 18:04
3

***Update #3***

 

Last couple of days the bees ran into some chop. The weather took a turn for the worse, cold temperature (16C/ 60F), quite some heavy winds and rain.  But today the winds laid down and the sun was out again. (dispite the wind and living on a rooftop quite some bees were still flying out to collect) This enabled me to take off the roof and have another peek inside. I had to check if the bees were building their comb properly aligned to my frames. Otherwise I’d would have to intervene and somehow coerce them into adjusting their building plans.

 

When I arrived at the hive I saw the queen sitting outside next to the entrance! Which means she is first of all; alive! and second ;still in the colony. After sitting for a while she walked back in which also means she got inseminated by some local drones (drone = male bee) without getting eaten by anything else! In the first week when a colony settles in a new hive the queen has to fly off and do the old “in & out” with the local population of drones. This way she gets enough bee semen to lay eggs for the rest of her days. If the queen dies during this day out the bee colony starts rearing new queens but their population starts to thin quite rapidly when there’s no queen around to lay new brood.

 

 

In the bottom of the hive there were already quite some dead bees (around 30). The average lifespan of a bee is 6 weeks and it takes 21 days from larvae to bee. So having a queen that produces brood in the first week is a big plus. Now to regularly check in on the bees to see their comb being build and them stocking it up with brood, pollen and nectar.

 

I’ve also started to have a bit of a rooftop garden going on next to the hive. This way there will be some flowers and myceliated wood around for the bees to feed on in about a month. I’ll also start collecting tree saplings of flower rich trees like Tilia trees. This will also make a good spot to stash my mycelium inoculated logs so whenever it starts to get cold and wet I’ll be able to pick shi-take mushrooms here as well.

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helper
20/06/2018 at 10:28
1

Hill cultures are one of the easiest ways to do permaculture, composting and organic waste conversion. Automation by nature I suppose. No need for plowing, digging, machinery, fuel , watering, irrigation, fertilizers, composting piles, stinky manure, soil PH adjustments, Weeding (most boring job ever), etc.  

One can also introduce mushroom mycelium to the logs in the hill culture and harvest fresh shi-take, oyster mushrooms, etc. whenever the temperature drops. Increasing the amount of protein rich foods without having to invest in livestock/ fish tanks etc. (which would be nice to get but quite a lot of effort and maintenance in the beginning stages of self sufficient agriculture). This method is also one of the simplest ways to massively increase soil microbe- and insect biodiversity in the shortest amount of time. Which makes great food for chickens and ducks also increasing protein availability without investment or maintenance whatsoever.

 

Hill cultures are as easy as making a lasagna.

 

 

(subtitles are in only in dutch and french, ) But there are plenty of videos and tutorials on this method when you search for “hill culture gardening”

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%BCgelkultur

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helper
19/06/2018 at 10:18
3

***Update!***

 

Yes, I’ve presented my beehive design to the beekeepers who give the course and they we’re pretty pleased with the end result! They’ve given me a couple of great design adjustment tips that would make my job as a beekeeper easier. So I’ve made a couple of small changes!

* Small groove in the top for lifting the frames with an hive tool! 

* Adjusted the frame to frame space from 38mm to 35mm which appears to better suit the bees when building comb. 

* Big elastic string to keep the copper roof on there when the wind picks up. 

* A wooden base to mount the beehive on to prevent it from falling over when the wind picks up 

If anyone is interested in the design and wants to build their own I can send you the 3D file. Just PM me.

 

So I’ve decided to put the beehive on top of an old office building where I live in the middle of the city. It’s about 5 stories high. According to the beekeepers the bees have wings so the height isn’t going to bother them but bees in nature actually prefer to be high of the ground away from soil moisture, mice and rats, other bugs and such. A natural swarm would choose a hollow high in a tree or a cavity in a cliff surface etc. So that kinda makes sense. The only thing that could be an issue would be high winds. But the beehive itself is surrounded by walls, an elevator shaft, an old emergency generator and an air conditioning shed. I’d reckon they’ll manage. Also this prevents nosy neighbors, animals and contract gardeners that manage the property from interfering. So the bee colony is pretty much out of harms way.

 

***second update***

 

After approval on my design the beekeeper mentor wanted me to take over the swarm he captured just days ago in his garden! One of his colonies swarmed on a warm Friday and he was running out of beehives ;). My and a buddy went over and he handed me a basket with in it a dangling cluster of bees! It was just a 30 minute drive to my house but it was kinda like having 10 pounds of TNT in my lap XD.

 

We introduced the bees to their new abode by simply shacking and pouring them in from the top. After shacking the tight cluster became a basket full of 2000 upset bees! :o. I had to take the mesh of and pour them in but the first thing that happened after taking off the mesh a couple of 100 bees took of and whirled around me and the basket XD.  The queen dropped in the hive in one go so the remaining bees in the basket could walk in through the entrance following the scent of the queen. (No stings so far, no bad feelings as far as they’re concerned I suppose) as long the bees didn’t become to cold they’d keep moving. It was still a bit windy so we had to improvise a quick wind break next to the hive XD

 

 

After an hour or two they were all in and it was getting dark so hopefully they would still be in there in the morning! Now they have to start building comb the right way and we’re all good to go! It is pretty nice to have quite docile bees as a beginner! This is determined by genetics. If you get a swarm from someone make sure his bees aren’t stinging the crap out of everyone who comes near their hive. It’s quite intimidating to have this whirlwind of bees around you when introducing (read: shacking and pouring) them into their new home ;). My beekeeping protection suit and smoker had not been delivered yet so I did not have all that much protection! (gloves, protective goggles, a scarf and a hoodie. All not in red or black colors because bees and other insects see those colors as intruding mammals). It was a pretty chilly evening (17 C/ 62 F) also a bit windy and cloudy which made the bees move slow. They also didn’t have any motivation to become assertive and protective because they did not have any brood or storage to protect.

 

All went well and now I’m pretty curious if they start building comb in the right place on the frames instead of across it or any other way. That would make hive inspections quite hard and I would have to intervene to make them build the right way. So I hope my smoker and suit arrive today 😉

 

 

 

 

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helper
18/06/2018 at 10:26
3

Yes! Spain is great, good climate, no long cold winters, easy language, lot’s of nature land. They did forget to ban hydraulic fracturing and shale gas exploratory drilling though. So if a community makes an investment in a piece of land you might want to make sure that your next door neighbors will not be a gas drilling operation, oil refinery, nuclear power station, coal mine, oil well etc. These might be factors one might want to keep in mind.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing_by_country

 

France for instance has banned all fossil fuel exploration and wants to end all fossil fuel extraction by the year 2040.

 

Germany and the Netherlands have a long history of hydraulic fracturing and currently have a temporary moratorium on shale gas extraction operations. So these “de facto bans” are still subject to political change and public opinion.

 

It might be a big plus to take root in a country which has a more progressive attitude towards these issues so one does not have to waste time and energy on political debate, protests and environmental issues like these.

helper
14/06/2018 at 09:31
3

Nasty stuff, but it is pretty rot and moisture proof. Most flexible insulation materials are itchy and dusty. Sheeps wool is the most natural way to go! (a bit expensive though)

https://www.groenebouwmaterialen.nl/c-569108/schapenwolisolatie/

It can hold a lot of moisture/condensation but I would not recommend it installing it directly onto the outer metal shell which will produce a lot of condensation buildup when it is warm inside and cold outside!

 

 

In reply to: Mycelium

helper
09/06/2018 at 08:12
1

Here’s another good summary of the applications of mushroom mycelium in the field from the founder of mushroom mountain: Trad Cotter

 

 

 

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