Photo by Pearl Beerhorst
We live in the city with six back yard laying hens and a pair of breeding rabbits from which we expect our first litter in about two weeks. These animals are not pets they are livestock and a source of food and manure for the kitchen garden. We are exploring ways that we can remain connected to the natural world and create our own food sources while still living within an urban environment. Our experience has been a mix of success and failures.
Our honey bees we introduced this spring are now all dead and there honey all gone. I had taken off the super that was filled with honey ready to be extracted. I set it aside with a piece of wood over the top to keep off the rain. With in a week we noticed lots of bees flying all over our hive and the back of the house, way more than usual. We had a sense something was wrong but we didn't know what. When I went to extract the honey I found it all gone and our bees all dead. The hive is now empty. Leaving the super out side and not sealed off was an invitation for a wild bee hostile take over which is exactly what happened. That was a hard won lesson.
After Brenda and I went through a organic farming course at WMEAC we became aware of the fragile state of our present day food systems. Out of this knowledge and concern we began to do what we could to get involved in developing our own food sources right on our own city lot. As we move into a future of dwindling fossil fuel supplies our ready access to cheap plentiful food will increasingly become a thing of the past. We feel that the time to prepare for that inevitable future is now. I have to say, it is also fun and life giving to be able to go into the hen house and collect fresh eggs. It feels good to be able to take brocolli stems and carrot tops out to the rabbits. It is pure joy to snip fresh herbs for a recipie right out the back door. It is as if the garden and the animals have made our life here more alive and the occasional misshaps and heart breaks have been all part of the mix.