When we first started working to save the farm, on top of farm work, fundraising and community outreach, I contacted local news papers, radio shows, and larger organizations to try and get the word out as far as possible. It is hard to ask for help. There is a lot of shame, and fear of rejection that can come with being vulnerable. But, in order for people to help- they have to know you need help. So I put our story out into the universe every chance I could get.

One of the organizations I reached out to was Mother Earth News Magazine. We have subscribed to M. E. N. for years, and love getting each new edition to see the next DIY projects, farm tips and self-sufficient projects. I emailed an editor and asked if they would be interested in publishing a story about our work to save the family farm- at the time the were not able to publish our story.

Things got busy- busier than busy- and I forgot all about my request, and the rejection.

Last month I was contacted by the Blogging Coordinator from Mother Earth News Blog and asked if I would be interested in writing monthly articles for their on-line readers. Because of the global health and economic crises more people were turning to M.E.N for homesteading, gardening and sustainability tips- they needed more writers to fill the need. I was honored, and I accepted!

Here is a link to my first article, from April 2020, about honeybee propolis and its benefits for bees and humans:


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As always, thank you for reading- and for being part of our farm family <3

Bees are truly incredible creatures. They have complex communication and social systems. They are hardworking, intelligent and organized. They pollinate our flowers, fruits, trees and plants. Without their hard work our gardens would not grow. They make delicious honey- a natural antibiotic and delicious vaccine for pollen allergies. We literally could not live without them.

At Olsen Farm we started keeping bees last year because of the importance of supporting pollinators and our drive to practice natural farm and gardening techniques. We have a responsibility to protect native bees by planting healthy gardens- free of chemicals and pesticides, as well as a responsibility to care for our domestic bees like any other pet.

Our colony survived the winter last year but was not able to survive the unfortunate February early thaw and sudden temperature drop. Bees are powerful and delicate, with our quickly changing climate and growing use of toxic pesticides their world is in great danger- and in consequence so is ours.

This year we have added a second hive, and are continuing our hope for the bees and all they share with us.

Here are some photos of the hive-filling process:


Prepping the smoker, dried grass makes great smoke!
Chris puts on gear to protect his hands, face and arms while filling the hive
Prying the lid off to remove the queen’s cage
Removing lid to expose can of sugar water queen’s cage is attached to during travel
The queen’s cage is attached by a strap that has to be pried off for removal
Pulling out the can and queen cage
This can is covered in bees! As soon everything else will be too…
Detaching the queen’s cage from the can
Chris gently brushes bees off the outside of the queen’s cage and into the hive box, setting queen’s cage aside for placement later
Holding the bee package upside down over the brooding box, Chris gets ready to shake them out
The most exciting step- shaking, or tapping, three pounds of live bees into their new home. No stings to date!
Chris carefully places the queen’s cage between two frames so the colony can get used to her pheromones and she can be released in a day or so
Giving the colony some smoke to calm them
Chris carefully stacks the super on top of the brooder box
Stacking on the inner narrow lid
Placing on the hive lid, or outer cover
Weighing down the lid cover with a cement flat
We use a ratchet strap to secure our hive boxes together, making it more of a challenge for a bear to break them apart if ever one gets through our electric fence
Hive one is live!
Happy bees, already getting to work cleaning up a honey drip in their new home


Hello all, Chris and Kristen from Olsen Farm in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, here (along with some of our fine feathered friends).

At Olsen Farm we currently raise chickens and guinea fowl, as well as bees. We are working to reclaim old orchards and both graft and plant new apple, pear, peach and nut trees. We also grow fruits, herbs and veggies in our garden using sustainable and biodynamic gardening techniques and NO pesticides.

We are looking forward to sharing updates, farm tips and news from our farm with you in weeks and months to come!