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SANDY WALKER WRITES
We didn't start keeping bees as a first step toward urban homesteading or down-home sustainability. We started because our oldest son, Aaron, read that eating local honey was good for people prone to springtime allergies. He was one of those people, and wanted to test the theory with his own honey. (Full disclosure: He was interested in beekeeping before then. The allergy idea was his catalyst.) He read books about beekeeping, then purchased an active hive from a retiring beekeeper.
The next spring he got a lovely batch of delicious honey and began adding hives. After having some issues with Langstroth hives (the stacked-box hives most commonly seen in this country), and losing a couple of hives during the winter, Aaron built a horizontal top-bar hive. A top-bar hive looks like a covered manger on stilts. It's a little easier to work with and easier to reach since it sits up off the ground. (The photo at the top shows a top-bar hive.)
Shortly after that, Aaron married and moved to Scotland. We inherited his hives and became beekeepers. I can't say that we've been particularly successful as beekeepers. We've harvested more beeswax that we have honey. We learned the hard way that Roundup kills honeybees. We lost two more hives during the winter, and had a couple of hives swarm and move on. That's the bad news.
There is good news. We have learned much about beekeeping and the importance of helping bees survive in an increasingly difficult environment that includes widespread use of pesticides and potentially-harmful herbicides. As growers of fruit trees, we now understand the delicate balance between keeping the blossoms safe for bees to pollinate, and keeping pests out of the fruit. We're learning the value of bee-friendly pesticides. After a time of seeing very few pollinators in our garden, we now have an abundance of them.
Beekeeping has also provided some really interesting stories. Twice my husband has successfully captured someone else's hives that had swarmed. The first one settled among the honeysuckle entwined in the chain-link fence at the back of our property. Michael donned protective gear and began to methodically and carefully extract chunks of bee-encrusted honeysuckle vines. He worked while I stood by snapping pictures and urging him to be careful. Things got intense when he said, "Oh, blast. There's a bee inside my pant leg!" He calmly continued snipping bee-laden vines. The bee apparently decided she'd taken a wrong turn, turned around, and exited the way she had come!
The biggest benefit of beekeeping has been the satisfaction of knowing that we're helping--in a very small way--to stem the tide of drastically-declining numbers of bees in this country. In the process, we have a well-pollinated garden and the joy of watching, and learning about, these fascinating creatures. Occasionally, we also get to taste some of their honey. Beekeeping has been the important first step for us along the road to down-home sustainability.
Pricing is tricky, whether you're marketing hair dryers, deep fryers, robes for choirs, strings for lyres . . .or vacation properties for rent. A critical factor to remember when you're pricing your vacation rental units is that the "right" price for you is the price that lines up with your other goals.
You'll be able to determine the best price for your units when you can also answer questions like the ones below. The bullet points suggest areas to consider. They aren't meant to be exhaustive.
What's my compelling motivation for listing my property on Airbnb or another vacation rental site?
What's my occupancy goal?
If increased competition drives price down, will I:
These questions don't cover all the ramifications of price. Nor can they be entirely isolated from each other. But formulating answers for each of them will drive intentional Airbnb pricing decisions, and allow you to be proactive rather than reactive.
William Cowper was a talented poet and wordsmith who penned hymns and poems that still touch the hearts of people today. Perhaps his greatest legacy lies in the fact that he learned to trust God, even when life is hard.
Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) was born in England in 1731, the son of one of King George II’s chaplains. William’s early life overflowed with sadness. Three older siblings died while he was very young. His mother died a little later, when he was only six. Shortly thereafter, William was sent to a boarding school. He was bullied badly there, and ostracized. Those years were a misery, and they cast a shadow on the rest of his childhood.
All of the sadness and trauma took its toll on Cowper. After studying to practice law, he succumbed to depression before he could take the exam. He spent several months in an asylum. When he recovered enough to leave the asylum, he went to live with Morley and Mary Unwin, with whom he lived for 22 years. He spent his days gardening and writing. He penned some of his most enduring hymns during this time.
One of Cowper’s most famous hymns is “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” In all six verses Cowper carefully and skillfully weaves truths from the Bible into his lyrics. The simple words convey great understanding of human nature, as well. Two verses admonish the fearful who dread the clouds of life to look beyond the darkness of circumstances to see God’s “smiling face.” It’s the first verse, though, that is best known.
“God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.
He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.”
In this verse Cowper eloquently captures one of the great truths of life—sometimes we just don’t understand why the storms--the bad things--happen. His succinct but powerful words show great perception; Cowper knew times of personal confusion and fear in his own life. He knew the struggle to overcome them.
William Cowper continued to battle depression for the rest of his life, at times falling nearly into despair for a season. Through all of those struggles, he wrote poems and hymns as an outlet for his soul. During times of some of his greatest struggles, he wrote some of his best work.. He stands today not only as one of the great English hymn writers, but also as an example of one who trusted and triumphed even when life is hard.
I'm Sandy . . .
I write crisp, accurate, engaging copy and content marketing for my B2B and B2C clients. My favorite topics are vacation rentals, urban homesteading, sustainability, and inspirational posts.