Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Many of us shy away from growing plants with the excuse that we do not have a backyard/front yard, we live in small flats etc. But gardening is all about having the will to grow a plant and having the patience to watch the plant grow. This is the message which came to me strongly when I noticed the Public Art installation near the Chandni Chowk Metro station by Prayas Abhinav of Bangalore.
The installation is on top of a tea stall and shows plants like ghobi, tulsi, palak etc which can be grown on top of the stall to meet the daily needs of the stall owner. The volunteer at the site explained to us proudly " Ma'm this is how we can all contribute to reduce global warming". I was touched.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I found this honeycomb buzzing with bees, snug under the creeper on my wall-the flaming glory.
I wondered where the honey came from. Then I saw the bees collecting honey
from the Madhu Malti flowers every day morning.
Social bees use waxy secretions from their bodies to build large nests and
containers in which to store food and raise young.
About a year later I found the nest abandoned. Probably the bees were bumble bees and not honey bees as I had assumed. They produce honey too, but in lesser quantities compared to honey bees.
Where did the bees go? Not far but onto the silk cotton tree branch right outside our house.
In India, beekeeping has been mainly forest based. Several natural plant species provide nectar and pollen to honey bees. Thus, the raw material for production of honey is available free from nature.
Tribal populations and forest dwellers in several parts of India have honey collection from wild honey bee nests as their traditional profession. The methods of collection of honey and beeswax from these nests have changed only slightly over the millennia.
The major regions for production of this honey are the forests and farms along the sub-Himalayan tracts and adjacent foothills, tropical forest and cultivated vegetation in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Eastern Ghats in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
Forest honey, mostly from rock bee hives, is usually collected by tribals in forests and is procured by forest or tribal corporations as a minor forest produce. Quite a large quantity is also collected by groups or individuals on their own.
Forest honey is usually thin, contains large quantity of pollen, bee juices and parts, wax and soil particles. The honey collector gets between Rs.10 and Rs.25 per kilogram of the forest honey.
Forest honeys are mostly multifloral. Wayanad district, which accounts for the bulk of wild honey in extracted from Kerala, yielded a total of 27,000 kg in 2006-07.
Wild honey is mostly purchased by ayurvedic drug makers, whose demand for natural, unadulterated honey has been on the rise.