I spent most of this weekend between assembling an agricultural trailer and cleaning the shop and making bee feeders for the cold weather and making more bee feeders to be able to swap them each day after work.

It’s not really safe to open the hives to refill the internal frame feeders in cold weather so the quart jar front feeders make more sense. You can see when they are being emptied, with a spare set you can simply pull out the empty or partially empty one and swap a full one in. It also lets you record how much is being taken from the feeder which also gives you some measure of the population and activity in the hive without having to open it. Add to that a dozen already filled jars of sugar water ready to swap in as needed and it makes life much more convenient.

Having the shop cleaned up means I’ll have room to make more hive supers, bases and top covers this winter to get ready for doing some splits in the spring to increase the apiary size.

While NOT doing all of that I spent some time pulling more of the missing Scientific Americans (page by page) and compiling them into single PDFs. Still a fair ways to go but that it is so tedious I have not been as diligent as I should be in getting it finished.

But while working on those I ran across a small collection I had gathered together and then forgotten about so I thought I’d put it our for folks to enjoy while I continue working on the Scientific Americans.

So Hemp and Flax has been posted as a new Category.

It’s really a combination Category. Obviously in today’s culture with the Marijuana laws being liberalized there is more attention on Hemp for it cultivation as a drug/medicine. Not even going to get into a discussion about the good/bad regarding it’s use. That’s been debated for decades with no change in most people’s attitudes. I will point out that it was around and used for thousands of years before it was made illegal in the 30s and civilizations rose and fell for reasons other than smoking weed but think what you like either way. Prior to the mid 1900s widespread drug use was not really a major problem in most cultures though there are a couple of notable exceptions. That seems to be a feature of the modern industrialized world and expanding government.

For most of history the use of Hemp as a drug was a minor side benefit of growing the plant. It’s primary use was to produce fibre just like Flax.

Most importantly, from the perspective of people trying to rebuild and industrial society, is that Hemp is the source of fibres that have been used to make twine and rope for a long, long time. Interestingly during most of WWII my Grandfather and many other farmers in North Carolina were paid by the federal government to grow Hemp in place of his normal tobacco crops. Since the Philippines fell to the Japanese at the start of the war and the Philippines was the U.S. Navy’s primary source of rope the growing of Hemp in the U.S. provided the material needed to make rope locally as a replacement.

Flax, of course, was one of the earliest domesticated crops and has been used to make thread, twine, rope and cloth as long as people have been around. It goes without saying that in a world trying to rebuild after any kind of collapse that Flax will be an important crop.

Between Hemp and Flax fibres for rope twine, and cloth, Hemp seed as a nutritional supplement and the drug/medicinal uses both types of plants will likely be high on the list of ancillary crops once food crops have reached the point of providing food security. As food security becomes more ensured the ancillary crops to produce other products will become more common. Once food surpluses and trade grow it will become possible for some folks to specialize and concentrate on those ancillary crops to supply materials for production of string, twine, rope and linen.

So submitted for your approval… Hemp and Flax. How to grow it, cultivate it, harvest it and make stuff from it.

The Librarian

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