The ancient art of constructing bee-hives from clay
We’ve been on the Meadow five days in succession, so far. Five beautiful, peaceful days of shared delight in our co-operative work, SAVING THE BEES! Creating Earth Hives to shield bees from our greed and the harmful effects of pollution in the environment.
Ralph Posner from Embercombe has inspired Noel, our gentle guide in this EARTH HIVE build, and he has much knowledge to help our bees, to help us back to health on our planet.
Building up the Earth Hives is taking longer than we supposed. We dig clay from a dry heap, used for our larger cob-build, sieve it to take out larger debris and mix it with horse-manure and sand.
This bee hive build is joyful work, making us all stronger. We sing as we break up the clay, grind it through seives, and leave it to dry, in the sun.
Bees love groups working together…
15 people, including three children who got well stuck-in along with several elders who found themselves drawn in! Each day, some of this family and some new folk came in, each time the perfect number. We now have one hive built up to two-thirds height, with 2″ thick cob walls around a willow frame.
Next, we await Noel showing us how to place in the lip or small slot, through which the bees enter the hive. So we are going on, seiving the clay, ironing out the earth and stones, and letting it dry out a little, to crumble it with all hands into a big tub. Also the horse manure is a little thick, needs seiving too. So then, manure and sand (one handful each to two of clay crumbled) are mixed with a little water.
Strong hands needed next for the kneading into firm ‘balls’ of cob. These are placed firmly and thickly around the simple willow frame. Squared off on top, each time, and smoothed down very firmly. We can have several people working in a chain – the next hand pushes the cob into place up against the previous ‘wall’ end. This is the faster stage of the build.