Buzz buzz buzz

This week on my REGULAR RADIO SPOT I decided to talk about bees.

Earlier this week more than 740 bee hives located in remote bushland locations were poisoned on the South Coast of New South Wales. The bee industry hey, who knew it was one of fierce competition and possible espionage. It’s always the quiet ones.

If you think that 1 hive houses 30-40,000 bees and produces around 100kg of honey a season, that’s more than 7 TONNES of honey that has been stripped of a company’s production – devastating.


It’s actually the death of the bees that is most worrying. Did you know bee populations around the world are in decline? Did you know that ONE in THREE mouthfuls of food consumed anywhere in the world is a directly attributable to bee pollination?

Declining bee populations is not just about honey becoming the saffron of spreads but a massive, MAHOOSIVE, issue for food production. We need bees to pollinate everything from our crops to the pastures livestock graze on.

In Australia bee hive numbers are half what they were 20 years ago.

So where are the bees going?

It appears bees are under the pump for a number of reasons – herbicides, pesticides, chemical pollutants, a mite called the Varroa mite and in Australia the arrival of the Asian Honey Bee.

According to Peter Mathieson from Nature’s Gold Honey,  the straw breaking the bee’s back is neonicotinoid (NEONICs) pesticides. I know, a big fancy word but what happens is companies like Mon Santo, Dow and Bayer are dipping seeds in this pesticide – the upshot of that is the chemical then becomes a part of the plant and what it produces. You’re modifying the DNA of the plant and well, that’s got to have an impact the whole way down the chain doesn’t it. That’s just common sense.

NEONICS are  made from Chlorinated Nicotine Compounds which work via the circulatory system of the plant so when ingested by insects (and bees) it  blocks nerve activity in the peripheral and central nervous systems of the insect. In bees the affect is accumulative and only takes minuscule amounts. So yeah, great at stopping insects decimating crops but taking out the beneficial as well. From an outsider’s point of view I would have thought agricultural biochemists would have worked this out years ago. Also file under “naive”.

So imagine this as a flow chart. The seeds get dipped (it can all be sprayed on), sown and grown. The bee collects the pollen, takes it back to the hive to store for a food source in winter and to feed baby bees. They all get sick and die. That’s IF they make it back to the hive. Many bees get disorientated by it and just buzz around aimlessly until they die.

In France and I understand other Eurpoean countries they have banned the use of this chemical and immediate stabilisation of declining bee numbers was noted, as was the growth in bee colonies over the following 12 months. In the US they won’t ban it because – hold on to your heads – it doesn’t kill the bee on the spot. #facepalm #headdesk

The other concerning thing about this pesticide is it has a half life of 25 years. Think about that – the residual in the soil, getting into the water table and water ways and so on. IN US. I mean, we then turn these crops into OUR food, eat the cows etc.

According to that report I linked to above in The Australian Beekeeper, apiarists in NSW’s central west (Dubbo) notice massive impact on their bee stocks (and therefore output) when they are used to pollinate fields of genetically modified canola. That article refers to a statistic that 85% of Australian agricultural crops are treated with NEONICs.

You know all those hairy armpitted hippies who tell you why GM crops are killing the world? I kind of get it now.


UPDATED: here’s an article I found on Reuters about it – France and Germany have already banned its use and yet we use it on 85% of our crops? Madness.


Now, I haven’t even talked about the mite and how Australia is the only country which doesn’t have it and the whole new industry of exporting queen bees to the US and Europe or the issues of a lack of biodiversity in plants for bees and so on OR the big issue of the arrival  of the Asian Honey Bee in Australia and what that means for bee populations. (They breed faster, is tougher and spreads quicker than European bees while their pollination is less reliable and unmanageable in terms of harvesting. It would cost the Australian government approximately $3million to eradicate it and protect the $20BILLION of food crops getting pollinated every year but they refuse to spend it, instead focusing on how to ‘contain’ it.)

But know this, bees are complex and cool.

So now go and make these moreish honey cakes

Honey Cakes
heaven in your mouth





Happy Mother’s Day

To celebrate I crashed our car into a parked car.



Envy my life at your leisure.


Onward (in Chef’s 1993 Toyota Corolla)

The allconsuming guide to a hospital stay

Those of us with children who have compromised health are well versed in how to survive yet another hospital stay and I thought it only fair to give you all a heads up should you ever be required to endure stay with your child in hospital.

  1. Wear thongs in the showers. It was after a nasty case of athlete’s foot that I learnt that lesson. Look on it this way, it’s like camping without the flies and dirt.
  2. Remember to pack your own toiletries. Washing your hair with that hospital strength skin cleanser doesn’t end well for anyone.
  3. Take your own mug. No matter the diagnosis or reason for your stay, nothing is more depressing than drinking from a polystyrene cup. I also take my own tea bags but I am weird and have been doing this for a long time.
  4. You won’t feel like it but drink lots of water. Back away from the Coke Zero. Your arch enemy of the long hospital stay is the industrial strength air-conditioning combined with stress, sleep deprivation and an appalling diet. Your skin and urinary tract will thank you later. Trust me on this one.
  5. Finally it is best to accept that this interment is solely about getting your child well. Resign yourself to the fact your diet is going to consist of fast food, hospital food leftovers, toast and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. See Point 4 about the water.
It doesn't look like the picture. First Lean Cuisine since 1988. Surprisingly not missed.


Oscar update:

The orthopaedic consult came around tonight at about 8pm. He was nowhere near as scalpel ready as the registrar and is basically advocating a longer hospital stay than last time (I am anticipating 10 days minimum), getting the infection diseases team on board with possible MRI to see if there is something going on deeper in the joint. There was mention of a PIC line and several weeks of IV antibiotics. We’re hardly home free but this is far less brain fart inducing for me than surgery.




The allconsuming guide to everything: hits to ease the lows

There’s a few things I am loving at the moment. With the onset of spring say hello to my two favourite friends:

The hair is in desperate need of a cut and I”m feeling the need for something outrageous in terms of colour. I’ve been fighting the brain turkeys (isn’t that the best name for it) for quite a few weeks now and something that has helped is just to do little things that feel a bit special or just for me or things that I like – it’s been as simple as lighting the oil burner and a few candles.

I’ve got this one from Freedom except shorter, and in a glass jar. Pretty.

My current essential oil blend.

Aussie Farmers Direct. These guys have made my life so.much.easier. They’ve also probably cut my fruit and vegetable bill by half. HALF. I know.  And then this week I got a letter from them regarding their milk – they have spent $5million recommissioning a dairy in rural Victoria that had been idle for more than 10 years. In doing so they’ve created 30 jobs which may increase to 100 over the next few years in a rural centre. More than NINETY per cent of fresh milk consumed in Australia is supplied and controlled by foreign owned companies. So not only do these guys ensure we are never out of milk (we go through roughly 12-15 litres a week) we’re drinking 100% Australian owned milk. Bring it.

I’ve also been doing some online window shopping.

Oh Trelise Cooper, how I adore you:

And Sportscraft, after some pretty dodgy years you’re back in my good books with this linen jersey number:

Now, to find some disposable income…

As good as world peace in this house

In the last two weeks I have discovered:

1. That studies have shown using half the recommended dose of washing powder results in clothes being AS CLEAN as if a full dose had been used.

2. That our fancy pants water-saving power-saving awesome dishwashing machine does just as good a job on its 30 minute power wash as it’s 156 minute normal cycle.

3. If your bathroom constantly smells like the bottom of a urinal trough thanks to the ENTIRE male species being incapable of a) aiming and b) aiming, by actively ignoring (and thereby encouraging) your children splashing madly in the bath (and thereby basically flooding the bathroom floor) you not only save yourself from having to mop you also win bonus free time as children happily cause sibling near drowning experiences for FUN!


You’re welcome.