I have been thinking a lot about the coming year, as I am feeling – as most of us are I’m sure – that the last couple have been quite tumultuous and turbulent. Having said that, matters regarding climate change and biodiversity loss have been continuing apace and since moving to a new house, I need to find a purposeful direction. Shawpits was a farm cottage, with lots of rural life content to be mined, and keeping chickens and bees was entirely appropriate. Running courses, pre-covid, was a worthwhile and viable way to keep myself and my children fed and housed. Now they have moved on, I’ve downsized dramatically and relocated the poultry and beekeeping enterprises to more suitable surroundings, freeing me up to pursue more intellectual and inspirational goals. Leaving my rural cottage also removes the sense of the idyllic pastoral existence which in reality is fraught with issues, for all the Instagrammable bonuses of such a lifestyle.
My son, who now lives in Bristol, has been quizzing me on my lacklustre response to climate justice protesters, and my seemingly laissez-faire approach to climate and social justice criminals in the form of multinational corporations and capitalist systems. It’s not that I disagree per se but I have always been more biddable to the carrot rather than the stick; I find it easier to follow and champion a good example rather than pick a least-worst way through a bad one; I have to limit the amount of exposure to negativity and hopelessness otherwise I quickly become anxious and fearful. So, with this in mind, I really want to channel my albeit tiny sphere of influence to highlight some of the ways I will be doing what I can to encourage, highlight, and invigorate in the face of some very right-here-right-now implications.
I have a small garden, and I am hoping to grow some veg and herbs as well as pollinator flowers. I will be using the maxim of endeavouring to get as much as I can from a small piece of land, so utilising vertical space as well as plants that provide benefits at different stages. The house faces south so I will be looking at ways to shade the walls but also utilise all that solar energy for growing some plants that wouldn’t thrive at my previous property, including pumpkins and maybe a peach tree. I brought my hop plant with me so need to get that in the ground as there are buds forming.
I had a Lockdown-flashback a few days ago, when I spent the whole day with my best friend and no interruptions, it being the 28th December, and we watched a Harvard webinar on climate change data visualisation, and it was fascinating to hear and reminded me of the days when we spent ages tapping in to Zoomland and picking up all sorts of nuggets of information. I would like to do more of that.
I have also been listening to lots of podcasts, which again, are a great way to hear about people making fundamental decisions that will help the future of our time on the planet. Progressive, innovative, informative discussions have the power to give me real hope, contrasting with the way that sensationalist or doom-laden media reports cause me to switch off and bury myself in the duvet.
I will be working with the beehives, vegetable garden and poultry over at Starnash Farmhouse so there will be regular updates as we see what the growing season has in store for us. There are also the Thermosolar bees, the wild-living Selmeston bees, the Marsh bees and no doubt I will be introducing more characters as the year unfolds.
I hope that the Wayward Bee blogs, website and Patreon will continue to introduce a palatable way to tackle some of the tasks we have ahead of us as a species. Please let me know your thoughts.